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8105Re: Steel nibs

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  • Chris Wattie
    Nov 1, 2000
      Wow! Great stuff ... lots of useful things
      in those lists. Thanks for the info

      > Regarding the current discussion if Steel Nibs were generally used or not, please find below some extracts from American Newspapers. BOSTON GAZETTE December 31, 1810: "William Andrews at the Boston Book store....Portable writing desks, silver pencil cases, Aaron's warranted black lead pencils, Clark's indelible permanent ink, WISE'S STEEL PENS, ...." NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER Washington City June 23 1812: "R.C. Weightman has just received a large additon to his former stock of Stationery, which consists of 600 reams printing paper, Medium and Super royal, 700 reams Cap, No. 1,2, and 3. 150 reams Hot-pressed 4to Post....100 doz. best Lead Pencils, 50,000 Quills and PENS. Swan Quills by the single hundred 25 percent below the usual prices .." COLUMBIAN CENTINEL Boston January 6, 1813: "Henry S. Waldo has for sale a complete assortment of Sationary and Fancy Goods...superior London Drawing and Letter paper...hair pencils, large red and black lead Pencils for Sketching, chalks, pallets, Morocco Pocket Memorandum books, Quills, PENS, Slates, Pencils..." It appears that what we know as "steel Nibs" were what were called "Pens" and that Quills were simply Quills. At least as early as 1810 in Boston, one could purchase a steel pen. This does not mean that it was common, nor are prices given in the advertisements. Below is extracted from what was for Sale in the U.S. Trading house at Fort Wayne Indiana on June 30, 1811: " 2 1/4 Ream Letter paper $9.00; 3 3/4 lb. Sealing Wax $6.75 ; 19 papers Red Inkpowder 6. 33 1/3; 6 papers Black Inkpowder .75; 4 counter Inkstands $2.00; 200 Quills 4.90; 1 Dz. Black lead Pencils $2.25 ....." There were not any Pens listed in their inventory. The last item I would like to share, is an original return in my collection dated March 30th 1813 from Sacketts Harbor. It is signed by 1st Lt. Gerrard D. Smith, who became General Winfield Scotts Brigade adjutant and who was wounded at Lundy's Lane. "Return of three Quires of Paper and twenty four Quills for the use of a Genl. Ct. Martial where of Capt Humphrey is President" In researching many American Military Documents during the War of 1812, I have never seen anything but Quills ever issued. It is no wonder, they apparently were very cheap. However, Steel pens were available though I do not yet know their price. It does appear that Quills were the common writing instrument, yet, metal pens were also available. I remember way back when CD's were first being marketed, my thought was that nothing will replace Record albums. Hmmmmmmmm, thanks for the opportunity to ramble. David Bennett 1st U.States Infy & Missouri Rangers
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