Writing Implements, manual devices used to make alphanumeric marks on or in a surface.

Peculiar to inscription is the removal of part of a surface to record such marks. The writing tool is usually controlled by movement of the fingers, hand, wrist, and arm of the writer. The development of writing implements in the West has been determined by the interplay of the demand and skills of the writer and the writing materials available.

The earliest form of Western writing was cuneiform, made by pressing an angular stick of three or four sides into soft clay that was then baked, making these wedge-shaped marks permanent. The next major developments in writing tools were the use of the brush and of the mallet and chisel by the Greeks. Writing found on ancient Greek pottery was done with a small round brush, and early Greek letters were incised on stone with a metal chisel driven by a mallet. Neither form of Greek writing shows any variation in the thickness of the lines of individual letters; the Romans, using broad-edged tools, introduced variations in the width of alphabetic marks.

The rise and spread of Christianity increased the demand for permanent written religious documents. As the size of writing became smaller, both writing tools and surfaces changed. Vellum or parchment books replaced the papyrus roll, and the quill replaced the reed pen. Although quill pens can be made from the outer wing feathers of any bird, those of goose, swan, crow, and (later) turkey, were preferred. The earliest reference (6th century ad) to quill pens was made by the Spanish theologian St. Isidore of Seville, and this tool was the principal writing implement for nearly 1300 years.

As early as the 19th century, attempts had been made to manufacture a pen with a rolling ball tip, but not until 1938 did the Hungarian brothers George and Ladislao Biro invent a practical ballpoint pen. Its success was based upon a viscous, oil-based ink. Early ballpoint pens did not write well; they tended to skip, and the slow-drying oil-based ink smudged easily. But the ballpoint pen had several advantages over the fountain pen: The ink was waterproof and almost unerasable; the pen could write on many kinds of surfaces and could be held in almost any position for writing, and the pressure required to feed the ink was ideal for making carbon copies. Ink formulas were improved for smoother flow and faster drying, and soon the ballpoint replaced the fountain pen as the universal writing tool.

In 1963 fiber-tip markers were introduced into the U.S. market and have since challenged the ballpoint as the principal writing implement. The first practical fiber-tip pen was invented by Yukio Horie of Japan in 1962. It was ideally suited to the strokes of Japanese writing, which is traditionally done with a pointed ink brush. Unlike its predecessors, the fiber-tip pen uses dye as a writing fluid. As a result, the fiber-tip pen can produce a wide range of colors unavailable in ballpoint and fountain pen inks. The tip is made of fine nylon or other synthetic fibers drawn to a point and fastened to the barrel of the pen. Dye is fed to the point by an elaborate capillary mechanism.

As early as the 19th century, attempts had been made to manufacture a pen with a rolling ball tip, but not until 1938 did the Hungarian brothers George and Ladislao Biro invent a practical ballpoint pen. Its success was based upon a viscous, oil-based ink. Early ballpoint pens did not write well; they tended to skip, and the slow-drying oil-based ink smudged easily. But the ballpoint pen had several advantages over the fountain pen: The ink was waterproof and almost unerasable; the pen could write on many kinds of surfaces and could be held in almost any position for writing, and the pressure required to feed the ink was ideal for making carbon copies. Ink formulas were improved for smoother flow and faster drying, and soon the ballpoint replaced the fountain pen as the universal writing tool.

• Ink, any liquid or viscous pigmented substance used for writing, printing, or drawing. The composition and consistency of an ink vary according to the purpose for which it is used. All inks, however, contain two rudimentary components: a pigment, or dye, called a colorant; and a vehicle, a liquid into which the colorant is dispersed. The more common types of ink include writing inks, drawing inks, printing inks, and invisible, or sympathetic, inks. Many inks differ from paints only in the purposes for which they are used.

The earliest writing inks were compounded of lampblack and a gum or glue and were mixed with water before use. Such inks are called India inks and are virtually permanent because the carbon in the lampblack is chemically inert and is not bleached or otherwise affected by sunlight. Colored India inks contain synthetic dyes rather than lampblack. India inks are primarily used for drawing. The most permanent black ink is iron-gall ink, made by mixing an iron salt, usually ferrous sulfate, with a mixture of gallic acid and tannin in water.

The first printing inks used in Europe were made of lampblack mixed with varnish or boiled linseed oil. Colored inks were developed late in the 18th century. In the next century a great variety of pigments were developed for use in the manufacture of these inks, primarily through the application of driers. Varnishes, having different degrees of stiffness, were later developed to provide inks that could be used on a variety of paper and presses. When web-fed newspaper presses were introduced, varnishes were replaced as a vehicle by mineral oils. Only in the 20th century did ink manufacture become the complicated process it now is, involving the mixture of a pigment with a vehicle, the grinding of the mixture in a mill between rollers, the addition of driers, and, when using chemically produced rather than natural pigments, a filtering process.

Indelible inks, such as those used for laundry marking, contain silver nitrate. When exposed to the action of heat or light, or to chemical action, these inks leave black metallic silver deposits in the marked fabric. Other marking inks act on the principle of developed dyes. Many substances have been used as inks for secret writing. Usually these are substances that leave no visible mark when the writing is made but can be developed (made visible) by heating. Such substances, often called sympathetic inks, include milk, lemon juice, and cobalt chloride solution, which turns blue when heated and fades again when cooled. Other sympathetic inks can be permanently developed by treating them with ultraviolet light or chemicals

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