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Pens - General
The first pens were reeds or rushes that ancient people cut, sharpening one end to use as a writing tip and
dipping the end in ink or soot to write. These simple writing tools were replaced with bone and metal by the time of
the ancient Greeks. The first quill pens, made from feathers, were used beginning around 500 B.C. and into the 18th
The oldest fountain pen was designed by M. Bion, a Frenchman, in 1702. Numerous fountain pen designs and
styles followed, but pens leaked and smeared until 1884 when Lewis Edson Waterman invented the first practical
fountain pen. This style of pen was the most common writing instrument until 1938 when the ballpoint pen was
invented by Laszlo Biro.
Collectors acquire vintage pens for various reasons. The design of the pen, the pen brand name, the materials
used, or decoration and advertising are all areas of interest to collectors. Many pen collectors focus on one brand
name or one particular style of pen. Vintage pens are easy to locate and many can be purchased for reasonable
Pen collectors in the United States refer to four specific pen manufacturers as the Big 4. These
companies are Sheaffer, Parker, Conklin, and Waterman
The stylographic pen, which uses a hollow, tubular nib and a wire as a valve, was invented in the 1870s.
Today, stylographic pens are used for drafting and technical drawing
The Pen Museum, a museum of pens in Birmingham, England, was owned and operated by Arthur Twydle. He
displayed his collection of more than 3,000 pens and pencils that he acquired over a period of 60