Market Lavington Museum

Writing by hand

We have recently seen part of our display on Writing before computers and looked, in particular, at one of our old typewriters. Of course, a lot of writing was done by hand, in pen and ink. Nowadays, when not using a smartphone for sending messages, we think of handwriting involving a ballpoint pen or, maybe, a fountain pen for special work.

Going back to the first half of the twentieth century and before, more primitive pens were used. Indeed, most children in the 1950s would have graduated from writing in pencil to ink, using a dip in pen. With no reservoir of ink, you could only write a few words before needing to dip the nib into ink. The class ink monitor would go round with an ink bottle and fill the inkwells in each desk so that every child had their own supply of ink to hand.

See A school desk for more information about this item.

Adults, too, would have needed inkwells and we have a collection of these in the museum. These include stoneware pots, which were dug up minus their stoppers, and a pewter inkwell with a hinged lid, to prevent evaporation and minimise the risk of spillage, when not in use.

We have several nibs, but do not have a wooden pen holder to go with them. If any reader has one with a Market Lavington or Easterton connection to spare, we would welcome it as an addition our collection.