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(Headline Missing)
February 6, 1986


pix # 1 - The quill type pen, used by our ancestors.

pix # 2 - The pen with a steel point, at writing end which was removable and replaceable.

pix # 3 - The early type of fountain pen which had to be partially disassembled to fill with ink.

pix # 4 - The first successful fountain pen, invented by L.E. Waterman.

pix # 5 - The front of a typical blotter, used to blot, or absorb excess ink on a letter or document, when early type pens were in use.

Ask a student in school - elementary, high school or even college - to name the various instruments for writing and they would probably name only the pencil or ballpoint pen. The ballpoint pen in the most commonly used pen, along with the pencil today, but not in earlier eras.

My recollections of the subject, as well as others my age, or older, go back to school days when we used either lead pencils or pens of a different sort...and of course chalk for blackboards.

In the era I am recalling, when the use of lead pencils was most common, the manufacturers of pencils must have been very lucrative. Quite likely there are readers who still have collections of pencils they have saved from that era, since many were distributed as advertising mediums.


During the same era, school desks always had an inkwell in the upper right hand corner to hold ink for use with pens. A sample of the ink pens of that era is shown above. The penpoint was a replacement item, stamped from metal, which came in various types to suit the individuals, for light, medium or heavy specimen of writing.

During that same period, fountain pens became popular, being an instrument of writing which could be filled with ink, stored in a reservoir inside the pen. If the user forgot to keep the pen filled he was out of luck.


Going back one step earlier, our ancestors in America, and probably in Europe too, used quill pens to write letters and for business matters.

What were quill pens? They were feathers plucked from fouls such as turkeys, geese and other wild birds.

There must have been a skill in shaping the feather (the end coming from the flesh of the bird) to make it suitable for writing, when dipped in the fluid which was the juice from various wild plants, to which was often added sulfate of iron to provide permanence.

The Declaration of Independence and other important documents in the early days of this country were made legal by the signers who used quill pens.

Then came the day when someone saw the inconvenience and fallacy of earlier methods of writing and invented the commonly used ballpoint pen of today...really a far superior method of recording information on paper.

Ballpoint pens come in a variety of points to meet the user's choice...light, medium or heavy imprint of characters on paper.

Going back earlier into methods of recording information for succeeding generations, messages were inscribed on stone by stone or metal instruments. Artifacts of that period are still available in museums and provide valuable data of those ages.

Later, the Egyptians made sheets of material for recording writing from papyrus, and from that material came the word paper. At another period in history, man inscribed messages on skins of animals.


One other convenient necessity for the period in history when writing pens (not ballpoints) were used was the "blotter."

The pens required the writer to dip them into a container of ink, but the pens did not always distribute the ink as evenly as necessary. Consequently, the blotter was invented. One side of the blotter was an absorbent sheet of paper, which when pressed against the written message, absorbed the excess ink.

The other side of the blotter was a surface acceptable for a printed message and illustrations for the advertiser who distributed the blotters. Blotters were a very popular advertising medium back then and many millions of the blotters were distributed. A sample appears with this article.


What about the blackboards, or chalk boards as they are sometimes termed? They have been around for a long time and are still in use.

Remember how the teacher would choose some students to stay after school to erase the boards with clean erasers? I don't recall why, but that always seemed to be a great honor to do that for the teacher.

So there, my valuable readers, is an article which you can pass on to your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., who know nothing about writing methods of the past.

But, wait a minute...perhaps in the period of time ahead, writing may become a lost art. Information and messages may be recorded on computers and sent near and far.


In last week's column about Fostoria High School Class of 1920, Edward Mall was listed as missionary to Mexico. Mary Fish telephoned to correct the information. She told me that Mall worked for the State Department of the U.S. in the Embassy at Guadalajara, Mexico.

My original statement was recalled from memory of a conversation several years ago and obviously was in error. Fish grew up near the Mall family and without a doubt is correct in the matter. Sorry!



An item printed first in Weekly World News, and then printed in Parade Magazine Jan. 5, was finally picked up and carried in Intercessors. For America in February 1986 issue just received by me.

"Six Soviet cosmonauts said they witnessed the most awe-inspired spectacle ever encountered in space - a band of glowing angels with wings as big as jumbo jets.

"Vladimir Solevev, Oleg Atkov and Leonid Kizim said they first saw the celestial beings last July, during their 155th day aboard the orbiting Salyut 7 Space Station.

"What we saw were seven giant figures in form of humans, but with wings and mistlike halos, as in classic depiction of angels. Their faces were round with cherubic smiles.

"Twelve days later, the figures returned and were seen by three other Soviet scientists, including woman cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskay. They were smiling as though they shared a glorious secret."

Some readers, with a doubting mind, may laugh, but Bible believers will not, since God's word mentions angels. Furthermore, on many occasions in modern times, angels taking the shape of humans, have appeared in times of disaster to rescue earthbound humans from trying circumstances.

A few Bible references on the subject: John 2:51; Genesis 28:12; Matthew 4:11; Luke 2:9,13, may help to dispel doubt.

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