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History of the pen

The pen is an invention that has revolutionized the world, allowing everyone to be able to leave a trace of their thoughts, no matter what their objective is. The pen is an indespensable tool for the person wishing to create something.

Let’s discover the pen history.

The history of the pen is vast ; its origins date back to writing with a stylus, bird feather and brush, around -4000 BC.

picture of cuneiform clay text
Clay Sumerian Cuneiform

Every civilization began writing by engraving on stones and tablets of clay and wood before using parchments and papers.

Styluses and engraving tools were replaced by bird feathers as soon as the first papyri and paper saw the light of day.

Until the 19th century, the constraints inherent in the use of the quill and the inkwell made writing slow and tedious.

  • Transport issues (having to transport large cases of fragile material)
  • Autonomy issues (regularly having to dip the nib in the inkwell)
  • Durability issues (feather cutting, regular change needed)
Quill pen picture
Quill pen

We then saw the first attempts to improve the writing tool:

  • Material improvements: replacing the tip of the feather with a horn or tortoiseshell tip
  • Addition of a reservoir for the ink.

The main difficulty encountered when adding the reservoir was the flow of ink, which was the subject of numerous failures and misfortunes.

picture of mister petrache poenaru
Mr Petrache Poenaru

It was not until the end of the 19th century when Petrache Poenaru filed a patent for further development that the fountain pen took off.

picture of mister biro
Mr. Biro

The first idea of ​​the ballpoint pen was put forward in 1865, yet it was not until 1938 that we would see the birth of the ballpoint pen as we know it today. ​Journalist José Ladislav Biro came up with the idea of combine the fountain pen with the principle of rapid drying used in newspaper printing, and replacing the nib with a ball to enable more comfortable writing.

Picture of mister Bich
Mr. Bich

It was in 1945 that Biro sold his patent to the French Marcel Bich, who further improved the ballpoint pen to allow for easier writing. It was then decided that production should be done in large quantities in order to reduce costs and make the product accessible to everyone. It was, in fact, so accessible that it has sold more than 100 billion copies worldwide today.