Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Pen, an instrument for writing with fluid, has been known from remote antiquity. The earliest pens were perhaps of the nature of brushes for painting words or word-signs, but the reed-pen seems to have been early introduced, and a natural development seems to have been the employment of feathers from the wings of birds, which were so eminently fitted for this use, and which, in spite of later inventions, have never been surpassed. Quills are known to have been used in the fifth century A.D., and from that time the quills of geese, swans, turkeys, crows, ptarmigan, and other birds have been largely employed, and have given their name to the whole class of writing implements, since pen = penna. "a feather." In 1803 a steel-barrel pen was introduced, and it sold at half-a-crown. In 1830 the names of Perry, Gillott, and Mason came into prominence, and from that time the manufacture and improvement of steel pens has been steady. The great home of the pen manufacture is Birmingham. Gold is also employed for pens, the points being tipped for hardness' sake with an alloy of iridium. To avoid the trouble of carrying about a supply of ink separate from the pen, various kinds of fountain-pens, with an automatic ink supply, have been invented. The stylograph substitutes a movable needle for the ordinary pen, pressure on the needle enabling the ink to flow through a small orifice, and mark the surface to be written upon.