“Previous accounts have placed the earliest certain record of the quill pen as circa AD 630, a date which has to be revised in the light of evidence presented in this book. From not late than AD 547, its continuous use up to and into the present century is examined, together with a wealth of detail on the preparation of quills and the cutting of the pen for different styles of handwriting, and the feathers most commonly used in its making.
As a collector of writing implements related to the quill pen, the author has, to a large extent, had to discover for himself, mainly from contemporary and often unpublished and ephemeral sources, both what formed the everybody paraphernalia of the scribe, and how it was used.
The result is a fascinating assemblage of information, which will be of interest to the social historian, the collector, to the modern-day scribe and to the curious in general.
There are chapters on the scribe’s knife, mechanical quill-cutting devices, ink, parchment and paper, pounce and pounce-pots and inkhorns, inkwells and inkstands. Also covered is the early history of the fountain-pen, which finishes where most accounts start, with Waterman in 1884, and experimental metallic pens before mass-production, the lead pencil is discussed at length and, appropriately, the final chapter covers seals and sealing.
The illustrations, over 400 in all, including details, from an important reference, much of which is not available elsewhere.”