Long before Parker rollerball pens, calligraphy was practiced by ancient people who used quills instead of a mechanical device that held ink in a reservoir.
In the West, calligraphy became recognizable with the use of Rome’s Latin script. Appearing around 600 BCE, the Latin alphabet became the most well-known writing system in the land. When the Roman Empire fell and the Dark Ages began, religious institutions and monasteries were the few places calligraphy would be preserved for the future in the form of copying the Bible and similar texts. After centuries of evolution in writing styles and the rise of many cultures, the Roman alphabet would become the standard script in Europe, the last major innovation being English script.
In the East, China–where paper was invented–was the first country to practice calligraphy as we know it today. When practicing calligraphy, practitioners had to take into consideration the color and water density of the ink, the intricacies of the ink brush being used, and the paper’s texture and water absorption rate to gauge what the final product will look like. Both Japan and Korea would follow suit when they eventually developed their own writing styles, many of which were based off of the Chinese.
A nib is part of a quill or pen that comes into contact with paper, causing ink to deposit on the surface. Quills were the first pens to use nibs and remained the norm for a thousand years. All it took to create a quill was to cut a nib into a feather of a large bird. Due to the ease one was able to obtain a feather, quills were the standard writing implement until the advent of metal nibs in the early 19th century.
The first metal nibs were invented in ancient Egypt, but they were not nearly as good as reed pens that were used at the time. It was not until 1822 when John Mitchell began manufacturing steel nibs in Birmingham, England that reed pens were replaced. The steel nib was more durable than any quill, and could remain sharp much longer. Also, metal nibs can be customized to create different kinds of strokes, making them more versatile than their feathered counterparts.
There are two types of nibs: broad and pointed. The former is the older of the two and is characterized by a flat, rigid edge. This nib had to be held at a constant angle. The pointed nib relied on pressure to create either thin or thick strokes. Light pressure created thin lines while harder pressure created thicker lines. Both Aurora pens and Sailor pens use metal nibs to great use.
It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and many times in history pens have done more to change the course of events than any weapon has. It is hard to imagine a writing implement having that kind of impact but it is nonetheless true. Here are a few instances where pens have been instrumental.
- Signing of the Magna Carta: Commonly known as the “Great Charter,” the document was issued in 1215 and stipulated exactly what the King of England could and could not do with his power.
- The Writing of The Ninety-Five Theses: Penned by Martin Luther, which he later nailed to the wall of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, it sparked the Protestant Reformation. Its effects are still felt to this very day. Luther wrote his theses to protest abuses by the Catholic clergy: the sale of indulgences was targeted specifically.
- Creation & Signing of the Declaration of Independence: A nation was born when a band of men came together to draft a declaration to remove themselves and their countrymen from the tyranny of an English King who did not see them as equals.
- Japan Surrenders to America in WWII: On September 2, 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur on the USS Missouri, signalling the end of World War II. Many of the pens used to sign the document were said to have been Parker roller ball pens.
Most people who use Parker rollerball pens or Aurora pens do not think about the type of ink locked inside the device, even after the ink is on the page. All most people care about is that the ink does not clog up in the tip of the pen, and they can write smoothly. But the types of inks available are numerous: ballpoint ink, drawing ink, fountain ink, rollerball ink, and gel ink. Let’s go over each a bit more in detail:
- Ballpoint Ink: Found in–you guessed it!–ballpoint pens, the solvent is oil-based, and available pigments include blue, black, red, and green. This type of ink dries almost instantly upon contact with paper but can also smear easily.
- Drawing Ink: This ink is water-based and uses a dye instead of pigment. Drawing ink is quite thin and takes a certain amount of skill to use properly. And since it uses dye, the ink can fade over time.
- Fountain Ink: Water-based and using dye for coloring, it also uses a substance called a surfactant that helps control the flow of the ink when writing.
- Rollerball Ink: This ink is either water or gel-based ink and needs little pressure to write. Being less viscous than oil-based inks, it can saturate the paper more intensely and provide a darker color.
- Gel Ink: Gel ink uses a water-based gel which has pigments contained within it. The high viscosity of the gel allows more pigment in the liquid, giving it a richer color than many of its counterparts.
Nowadays, we do not give much thought to the kind of ink our Waterman or Parker rollerball pens use. As long as the pen functions, the ink is evenly distributed and stays on the page, everything is fine and dandy as far as we’re concerned. But where did ink come from? How is it made?
No one ancient civilization is responsible for the invention of pen ink since cultures all over the world were able to create their own independently from one another. The Chinese’s history with ink can be traced back over 2,000 years with the use of dyes extracted from plants, animals, and minerals like graphite. Minerals were crushed with water to make ink. In ancient India, they made ink by combining tar, pitch, and burnt bones. The Romans used a substance called atramentum–a black liquid–to write. This ink combined tannin extracted from nuts and iron salts which gave it a bluish-black color.
An ink recipe from medieval Europe required hawthorn branches to be cut and left to dry. The bark was removed from the branch and soaked for eight days. Then, the water was boiled until it turned black. As it was boiling, wine was added. Once all was done, the liquid was poured into a bag which was then left out to dry in the sun. Lastly, the liquid was mixed with wine and iron salt and heated over a fire to make the ink.
When most of us think about sketches done by pen, we normally imagine doodles and chicken scratch in notebooks. However, pens have suddenly become a popular tool in the art world due to various levels of shading, ink blotting, and flexibility. Since pens vary so greatly in terms of shape, size, and amount of ink, they are invaluable tools when it comes to sketching.
The pen is a much harsher tool than the pencil. You also cannot erase mistakes, which makes using a pen that much more difficult. However, a pen can help create a depth of shadows and shading that you cannot get out of using a pencil or brush. A pen is also more versatile than a pencil, in that you can create ink blots and splatter effects onto artwork. Most pens work well when sketching. Many artists will work with rollerball, ball point, and felt tip pens. Sharpies may work the best, creating thin, dark lines.
Although sketching by pen is becoming popular today, it actually dates back as far as the 14th century. Calligraphy was an art form in its own sense, and developed even more with the invention of the pen. If you’re looking to get started in your art career, we offer a wide assortment of pens at PENWA.com.
Back on March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in an effort to change health care. But he did not just use one pen; he used 22. This means he signed the bill into law 22 times. Was it to show how much he wanted this bill to pass? Maybe. But in actuality, he was following an old White House tradition of using multiple pens to sign a single bill.
Whenever U.S. Presidents sign a bill, they choose to use multiple pens so that they may give away the used pens as gifts to those who had a hand in the creation and passing of the bill. Sometimes they choose to give the pens to people who inspired the bill. For example, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with 75 pens, one of which he gave to Martin Luther King Jr.
Once given away, their recipients usually display them or give them to a museum, depending on their historical significance. Considering these facts, it is easy to imagine why these pens would be valued by the owners.
While we may not own any pens used by a President, you can still order luxury pens, such as Sailor pens or Parker rollerball pens, at Penwa.com.
Even in the days of emails, Facebook, and Twitter, where our fingers do not come anywhere close to a Parker fountain pen, penmanship is still important for many reasons. While email blasts for season’s greetings might be the rage for the modern crowd, nothing truly beats buying greeting cards and crafting your own personalized messages to your friends and loved ones. For them to actually understand what you wrote, your penmanship needs to be legible. Also, you will get a lot of positive feedback regarding your writing style if you have been practicing your penmanship.
A way to improve your penmanship is to practice with a fountain or rollerball pen. Typical ballpoint pens force you to press hard and do not flow so freely as you write, thereby ruining good handwriting. Fountain pens have nibs that do not require you to press so hard, which enables the high quality ink inside it to meet the page easier, thus making the writing process much smoother.
Another important, but not so oft spoken about, reason to have good penmanship is for official reasons when you need to sign a check or important document. In creating a unique and elaborate signature, you will help prevent someone from copying your signature and misusing it.
For a selection of rollerball pens, visit Penwa today.
Itoya was originally established in Japan in 1904 and has produced revolutionary and distinct office supplies, including roller ball pens. Among their most famous pens include the Doubleheader two-sided pen and the Gripper rubber cushion ballpoint pen. But besides those, we have a few other Itoya pens we can recommend.
CG830 Gel Pen: This roller ball pen writes very smoothly due to the combination of its writing mechanism and Advanced Gel Ink. It is a roller ball pen that writes like a fountain pen. For convenience, the CG830 features a super smooth twist-action mechanism that exposes and retracts the writing tip; this ensures the ink in the tip does not dry out and makes carrying it your pocket simpler, without the risk of ruining your shirt or pants pocket.
CL-10 Calligraphy Marker: For artists and calligraphy aficionados, this pen is perfect. The Doubleheader marker has two chisel point nibs: thin (1.5mm) and thick (3mm). The wide point allows for bold and larger lines, while the thinner nib allows you to touch up finer edges and create smaller designs. These pens come in a number of colors, including black, blue, red, and green.
For these and other Itoya roller ball pens, contact Penwa today.