Welcome to Calligraphic Arts

A Brief History of Calligraphy Art Pens

The rich history of beautiful lettering or calligraphy would be incomplete without a brief discussion of the tools of the trade. This page is dedicated to providing you with helpful information on the various instruments used throughout history. Ancient civilizations using cuneiform employed a stylus to create inscriptions on clay tablets. These instruments were commonly used by the Babylonians and Sumerians. Similarly, the ancient Romans used a stylus with wax tablets. Chinese characters were traditionally formed with a brush, reinforcing the perception of graceful, flowing strokes. Reed pens and quills were effectively used by monks in the Middle Ages, and quills are still used by some calligraphers in these modern times.

Western calligraphers popularized the use of the dip pen. The dip pen or nib has capillaries or channels transporting the ink to the paper. By the mid 1800s Birmingham, England became the manufacturing hub for the steel pen industry. Birmingham became the center for famous pen makers with names such as Mitchell, Gillott, and Leonardt . Thousands of skilled craftsmen were employed in the industry.

Mass producing the steel dip pen provided more opportunity for the populace to learn the art of lettering and practice the skill of writing. We have included an excellent instructive image from Spencerian showing every step of the manufacturing process. Take a close look at how these fine writing instruments were made. 

Please enjoy yourself as you browse our display of nibs from near and far. Visit us often to view updates and new products.

 Spencerian Process Illustration