2 thoughts on “The Medieval Pen

  1. For a right-handed scribe a quill which fits most comfortably into the hand has a slight natural curve to the right. This, then, comes from the left wing of the bird. First of all, the thin end and most of the barbs would be trimmed or peeled away and medieval pictures of scribes show simply the curved white barrel. Feathers freshly removed from the bird, or found on the beach, are too flexible and need hardening. They can either be left to dry out for some months or can be hardened artificially by soaking them in water and then plunging them for a few minutes into a tray of heated sand. The thin greasy outer skin and pith within the barrel can be scraped or rubbed away easily now. What remains is a tough and almost transparent tube. The tip is pared away on each flank with a short and sharp knife – a penknife – usually in a double step, very much into the shape of a fountain pen nib. Then it is cushioned in the hand (rather like the action of peeling a potato) and a slit is cut up the centre of the nib. Finally the pen is laid with its nib against a firm surface and the scribe pushes down with the blade of his knife across the extreme end, removing a fraction of a millimetre to produce an absolutely clean crisp squared-off tip.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This appears to be a quite fascinating comment of yours that is describing a way or process as to how an actual medieval era nib pen is made and used. Very nice! Thanks for the input! 🙂


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