Continued from product description
on Early Education's Page
Background: The word "pen" comes from the Latin
word "penna," which means feather. The Spanish theologian
St. Isidore of Seville is referenced as using a quill pen during
the 7th century.
Quill pens were used to write and sign the Declaration of
Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and many other historical
documents. The quill pen flourished for over a thousand years
as an essential writing utensil. By 1850, quill pens were less
often used because of the quality of steel nibs had improved
and were replacing quill pens.
Writing with a quill pen meant cutting the tip of the goose
quill with a sharp knife, hence the name "penknife."
After the quill was shaped, the tip was dipped into ink. One
could only write a few words with the amount of ink from each
dip. After much dipping and writing, the quill would need to
be cut again until a new quill had to be used. If a long letter
or document were written, it likely took more than one quill,
thus the consistency of the handwriting would be lost.
Because of the vast numbers of quills required, farms were
established to raise geese for their quills. The left wing feathers
were preferred by right-handed writers because of the curvature
of the feather. The preferred goose quills are the five left
outer wing "flight feathers." Other birds used for
their quills include owls, hawks, eagles, swans, turkeys, ducks,
Writing with a quill pen required a supply of other materials
such as ink, an inkwell, a pen wipe, a penknife, a steel ink
eraser, a portable writing case for travel, and a sander or pounce
to assist in drying the ink. We take writing with a pen taken
for granted these days because ball-point pens, fountain pens,
and other types are so readily available. Writing with a goose
quill and homemade berry ink is a good way to experience what
it was like for our forefathers and foremothers. It is also just
plain fun to create your own pen and write with ink that you
can make yourself from common household items.
Fact: Thomas Jefferson kept a flock of geese solely for
the purpose of supplying writing quills.
Fact: Abraham Lincoln preferred an eagle feather for writing.