Long before the computers took
over written communication, virtually all
interpersonal written communication was via pen
and ink. Before the fountain pen was the straight
pen. This long piece of wood was constructed so
that a sharp metal nib was inserted snugly at the
end. The writer would dip the nib in a container
of ink, write a few words (or until the ink ran
out), then dip the nib in the ink again. Over and
over and over again. If the writer was very adept,
she wouldn't get splashes of ink on the paper or
break the nib in a moment of fierce writing.
at the nib end of the pen absorbed
some of the ink that might squirt up
as you were writing.
about the 1950s, a new ink bottle
was designed with
built-in well at the top. These were
meant for the new-fangled fountain
pens to fill up their cartridges
– and thus write without constant
consists of an underplate, inkwell
with lid, and straight pen, all
decorated with Lady Patricia pattern.
School children in the early
until mid-1900s first learned to write using a
lead pencil then they graduated to using the
straight pen in upper elementary school. Hurrah!
That was definitely a sign of advanced education!
For those of the upper social
classes, even writing equipment was at a different
level. This bone china inkwell sits on milady's
desk where she writes thank you notes on fine
stationery. Dip the pen in the inkwell, delicately
write the message, then rest the pen in one of the
holes in the top rim of the inkwell – little
chance of an ink spot spoiling the letter.
And all this is done sitting at a
desk or a table. No chance of thoughtless words
escaping – you had to concentrate on getting the
words on paper with no blots or squiggles so
proceed carefully and cautiously!