Ink and paper are a remarkably durable way of recording text, a practice people have been using for a long time.
The Dead Sea Scrolls which date back to about 100BC were written using reed pens.
Most of those used carbon ink, which is the oldest form known. It was a blend of soot from olive oil lamps mixed with oil, honey, vinegar and water to make a fluid with the right consistency suitable for writing.
They sometimes added galls to make it more resilient.
While the inks were usually not corrosive, some were. Texts such as the Genesis Apocryphon are almost completely destroyed because they were written with corrosive inks.
Pens made from the long flight feathers of birds appeared in the 7th century. They had a hollow core able to hold a reasonable amount of ink
Metal nibs didn't come into common use until John Mitchell of Birmingham started to mass produce them in 1822.
However the idea goes back to 79AD. We know this because a copper nib was found in the ruins of Pompeii.
Then, in 1827, Lewis Waterman, a New York insurance broker, invented the capillary feed fountain pen.
The history of the pen is really much more complicated than this, with countless variations in the technology of tips, inks and reservoirs.
A notable improvement occurred in 1966 when Paul Fisher of the Fisher Space Pen Company figured out that ink could be stored in reservoirs where it remains semi-solid until the shearing action of a rolling ball liquefies it.
This is called thixotropic ink.
All this came at the right time because Fisher's pens don't rely on gravity. They work in freezing cold deserts, underwater and upside down.
They've been used on space missions since Apollo 7, landings on the moon, MIR and the ISS.
The ballpoint pen was invented in 1938 by Lszl Br, and Yukio Horie of the Tokyo Stationery Company, and the felt-tipped pen was invented in Japan in the 1960s
In one sense, the pen is a fairly simple piece of commonplace technology. In another sense, we can muse on the words written by them: foolish or profound, cheerful or angry. The wars started or the wars avoided.
One wonders whether the inventors had any idea just how far into human history it would reach.
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