Pen and Ink.

Share your recollections of days gone by....before they fade from our collective memories and are lost forever.
Neville Briggs
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Pen and Ink.

Post by Neville Briggs » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:39 pm

Does anyone remember when we used to write with a dip pen; a wooden handle with a ferrule and a steel nib to dip in ink.

The last year that I remember using a dip pen at school was in 1958. In 1959 we were allowed to use a ballpoint " biro ". If our handwriting deteriorated , the teacher would threaten to make us go back to the dip pens until our writing conformed to the required " copperplate " long hand script.
This writing process of dip pens had hardly changed since the scribes of the Pharoahs wrote on papyrus sheets some 3.000 years BC.

Our school pen was just a plain wooden handled pen and nib. The ink was in a small ceramic cup set in a recess on the wooden desk top. Clever boys had an old chocolate box with a hole cut in the lid, and this made an unspillable container for their own private ink bottle bought from the shop. Really really cool boys had a fountain pen, but that was a very rare possession.
I had to be content with the school pen and school issue ink.

School issue ink was made from a dark blue powder mixed with water in a stone bottle and each boy's ration of ink was delivered to the desk-top ink well by a favoured student; the ink monitor. I coveted that role but was never chosen. I could only be relied upon to be an idiot.

An essential accompaniment to the writing tool was blotting paper, just unsized paper. This was used for mopping up drops of ink that fell onto your page if you weren't careful with the fully charged nib. Also the blotter was for drying the writing quickly, so you didn't get wet ink all over your hands while leaning on the paper to write.
I remember one day, I must have been out of blotting paper, I was a bit grubby from tearing around in the playground and in class I got ink on my hands, arms and face. As I was leaving the classroom at the end of the day, the teacher spotted me; glaring in disgust he said just two words " prize pig ".

Not only school children used dip pens.
I bought a dip pen from an art shop a few years ago and I saw that it had " Commonwealth Bank of Australia " engraved on the metal ferrule. Amazing ! A relic of the past still around for sale in the late 20th Century.
Dave Emo has told me how he used to draw commercial illustrations and cartoons for magazines and papers, all done with a dip pen, sable brush and India ink.

Only just before Christmas, I bought a dip pen from an art show. It has a beautifully turned handle made from Kauri and a gold plated nib which is flexible enough to do what our teachers required in the correct long hand at school; light upward strokes and firm downward strokes.

We couldn't possibly have imagined digital word processors and graphics tablets in those far off days.
Neville
" Prose is description, poetry is presence " Les Murray.

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Robyn
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Location: Binalong NSW

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by Robyn » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:59 pm

Hi Neville,
I remember red plastic handles and steel nibs in the 60s, and ink pots in the right hand corner of the wooden desks. I had long blonde hair, which the boy in the desk behind me used to dip in his inkwell, giving me navy tips long before punk rock was invented. When you could write 'properly' you could graduate to biros.
Robyn.
Robyn Sykes, the Binalong Bard.

Heather

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by Heather » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:56 pm

Nope. I'm too young! :lol: ;)

william williams

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by william williams » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:30 pm

what about me in the year 1951 I was natural left handed and boy did they try to change me I played cricket left handed and tennis left handed drew all my arts work left handed and they still tryed to change me untill one day the I rebelled and refused to use a pen and ink when the school inspector arrived just as I was about to jam the pen and ink up the teachers backside. after much discusion he discovered the drawing of male and female blue wren and an eastern Rosella in colour that hung in the headmaster office and noticed that I was the one that drew them. After that I was aloud to do all my work writting with a lead bencil and rubber and use my left hand. try writting with your left with a pen and ink and see what it looks like and don't write over arm write like you would normal.

bill the old battler

Neville Briggs
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Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:08 pm
Location: Here

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by Neville Briggs » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:51 pm

Robyn, from what I see of contemporary efforts at handwriting, the old "proper " script seems to be passé.


Yes orrright Heather, the clock is still ticking :roll:


G'day Bill, Leonardo da Vinci was left-handed, he solved the problem of managing pen and ink left-handed, by writing right to left in reverse or mirror writing.
Neville
" Prose is description, poetry is presence " Les Murray.

Heather

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by Heather » Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:17 pm

The things you know Neville! :roll: :lol:

william williams

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by william williams » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:11 pm

struth mate no wonder it took him so long to paint the sisteen chapel ceiling. Fancy painting it backwards no wonder it took him so long

bill the old battler

Neville Briggs
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Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:08 pm
Location: Here

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by Neville Briggs » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:32 am

Behave yourself Bill :D it was Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarrotti Simoni ( alias Charlton Heston ) who painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

It seems that Henry Lawson wrote all his poems and stories with a rather dilapidated dip pen, it had string wound around the lower end, for a hand grip, you can see a photo of it on the National Library of Australia web site.

Also Slim Dusty did a song called " Henry Lawson's Pen "
Neville
" Prose is description, poetry is presence " Les Murray.

william williams

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by william williams » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:32 am

Hey Neville I must be good too, 8-) cause I had a pen for many years :o

used to keep pigs in it to fatten them :roll:


bill the old battler

r.magnay
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Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 1:41 pm
Location: Port Lincoln SA

Re: Pen and Ink.

Post by r.magnay » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:38 pm

...hey Neville, how do you know Slim Dusty did a song about Lawson?....I didn't think you listened to country music! Slim Dusty actually put quite a few poems of Lawson and Paterson to music too..........or a tune if you prefer Neville.

Yes the old dip pen, by the time you got the point worn smoothn enough to write a reasonably tidy line, someone would walk past and stab your nib into the desk and break it, then you had to start all over again. One trick was to chop up a rubber....(eraser)...and drop it into some unsuspecting persons well, when they dipped the pen in the well as the level dropped they would get the rubber stuck on the nib and splotch a great blot onto their work!....not nice :roll: We couldn't use a biro until high school..........I actually had a slate in grade one... :oops:
Last edited by r.magnay on Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ross

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