Why Pens Make ‘The Perfect Gift’

Why Pens Make ‘The Perfect Gift’

Ever since the Ancient Egyptians first used reeds to write on papyrus, human beings have sought to find better ways of recording their thoughts. From the first crude fountain pens of the nineteenth century to disposable ballpoints, our obsession with the handwritten word has never waned. The Spanish writer, Miguel Cervantes Saavedra said ‘the pen is the tongue of the mind‘. Even in today’s technological world, a pen makes the perfect gift.

There are a plethora of products available to choose from when looking for the ideal gift. Chocolates, flowers, jewelry, clothes, bags or toiletries are all there for the taking. With any of these you risk duplicating an item the recipient already owns, buying yet another uninspired present. If you are looking to buy a unique gift, something which will resonate with the giftee for their lifetime, then a pen is a perfect choice.

Why a pen?

The pen is an extension of the person. As glasses are to vision, pens are to the spirit. The physical activity of writing is more authentic and impassioned when it is carried out with a finely crafted writing instrument. The sound of the nib caressing the paper along with the indescribable smell of the ink can never be replaced by the cold keyboard. Nietzsche believed  One must also be able to dance with the pen.In order to dance, one must first be in possession of the perfect pen.

Ballpoints and cheap disposable pens are alright for writing a shopping list but hey have no longevity and certainly no sophistication. An exquisitely crafted pen is timeless. A pen is a gift which will be treasured forever.

Pen the memories

There are key moments in life to be celebrated. We observe special occasions such as graduations, weddings, and births by showering the celebrant with gifts.

For graduation, a pen is a classic present. It speaks of success and of mastery in a particular field. A pen will be the tool that they will notate their future with. It is the gift for the learned and one which is quintessential of academia.

Although unusual, the gift of a pen for an engagement or wedding will demonstrate a truly considered present. Pens for the bride and groom can be used by both parties to sign the wedding register after the ceremony. The pens will become synonymous for the couple with their big day and forever hold a beloved place in their hearts. The pen will remind them of the gifter even after that person has long since left the mortal coil.

Just as for a wedding, pens are unique gifts for new parents. The gift of a bespoke pen, such as one from the Bethlehem Collection, will make you stand out from the crowd of people giving baby clothes and tiny booties. An exquisite pen with a card to say that it should be used to sign the birth certificate is an emotive gift. The same pen can be used to mark all the milestones of that child’s life. They can pen the memories of their new addition for a lifetime.

A retirement marks the traditional time to bestow a pen. This is the occasion for a meaningful present to a colleague who has given their all for a number of years. What you choose to present as a retirement gift must scream of respect and gratitude. A pen, especially one which signifies maturity much like the Whiskey Collection, will be appreciated for years to come. Retirement is no longer viewed as the last period of usefulness a person will have but rather as the beginning of a phase of freedom and fun. Give a pen for the retiree to write the next great chapter of their life.

Anniversaries can be marked with a beautiful fountain pen. An outstanding piece from any of the B. Smith & Co. collections will capture the essence of luxury, making it the perfect gift for a much-loved spouse.

If it is your boss that you are searching to buy a present for then a pen is a fitting gift. Pulling out a unique and elegant pen during a meeting is the height of professionalism and lends an air of authority to the owner. Your boss will appear organized whilst looking stylish – a winning combination. In a business, pens can also make excellent promotional tools. Presenting a deluxe pen to a person or company with whom you wish to collaborate with will be sure to get you recognized. The gift will be a splendid reminder of your generosity and confidence.

Other popular holidays to consider gifting a pen include Father’s Day, birthdays, and all of your celebrated religious holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid Al-Fitr, Kwanza, etc.).

What to look for when buying a pen as a gift

It is important to decide which type of nib best suits your giftee. Fountain pens invoke something romantic and reminiscent of days past whereas a rollerball may be more practical in a busy work environment. 

If you are looking for a luxurious gift then the key is to obtain something unusual, unique in design and in some cases even otherworldly. Gifting a pen which comes with a certificate authenticating it as crafted from a meteorite certainly sets it apart from anything else. This is an item that will show the recipient just how much you care.

A delicately handcrafted pen is a present for any occasion and is an item to be prized. 

Without a pen in my hand, I can’t think.  -John Le Carre.

A Brief History Of Writing Instruments

A Brief History of Writing Instruments

Sitting at a computer, it can be hard to imagine how humanity got to this point – how did a group of cavemen grunting and drawing wooly mammoths on cave walls become a group of angry relatives grunting and writing angry Facebook posts? The history of communication, and the development and evolution of writing instruments begins long before any of us were alive.

Sharpened stones, which were the writing tool of choice for cavemen, are widely considered the first writing instruments. Rather than writing letters and poems, however, the crude illustrations associated with cavemen represented everyday events – farming and hunting victories are two common examples. Eventually civilization progressed, and cave walls began to show their pitfalls.

As record keepers began developing symbols to represent words and phrases, a more portable means of communication was needed. Enter the clay tablet. Dating back to 8,500 B.C., merchants began using these tablets to represent quantities needed for trading and shipping. As symbols developed and became more complex, the first alphabet replaced pictographs between 1700 and 1500 B.C.

The Greeks are credited with creating the first example of writing with a pen and paper; using a stylus made of metal, bone, or ivory, scribes placed symbols on wax-coated tablets. Across the globe, other civilizations began using primitive writing utensils as well – early Egyptians, Romans, and Hebrews used papyrus and parchment paper. The Romans also created an early predecessor of the fountain pen by filling bamboo and marsh grass stems with writing fluid or ink.

The longevity of this early fountain pen was no match for the quill pen, however. Introduced around 700 A.D., feathers from geese, swans, crows, and even hawks were fashioned into writing utensils and dipped in ink. Quills had their disadvantages, though. A lengthy preparation time and inability to last a long time left inventors and writers alike looking for alternatives.

The invention of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press allowed for the widespread distribution of paper goods such as manuscripts and books; this coincided with the evolution of various handwriting techniques, such as the Italian “running hand” (cursive.) As paper, ink, and handwriting evolved, the need for better writing equipment rose. Early attempts at fountain pens, such as Baltimore shoemaker Peregrin Williamson and British inventor John Scheffer were unsuccessful. Although John Jacob Parker invented the first self-filling fountain pen in 1831, it was plagued with design flaws.

Enter Lewis Waterman, and his 1884 fountain pen. Widely considered the first practical, mass-produced fountain pen, it gave writers the ability to carry around a pen with its own ink supply. Although early fountain pen models were plagued with spills and other pitfalls, the design emulated the hollowed out reeds and quill pens of previous generations.

With any new invention, a sea of copycats and imitations follows the initial discovery. Fountain pens were no different – but in this case, inventors had an opportunity to improve and tweak Waterman’s design. Patented in 1905 and introduced by the Parker Pen Co. in 1913, the “button filler” allowed for easier access to the ink reservoir. The lever filler, click filler, matchstick filler, and coin filler were soon to follow, and gave pen connoisseurs the opportunity to test different ink-filling mechanisms.

Around 1950, an ink cartridge was introduced that was disposable, pre-filled, and made of glass or plastic. Although this invention was popular from the get-go, a new advancement overshadowed its success – the ballpoint pen.

Hungarian journalist Laszlo Biro invented the first ballpoint pen in 1938. Seeing how the ink on newspaper pages dried quickly, Biro decided to make a pen with a similar material; allowing for a quick drying, smudge-free writing experience.

Two companies, Reynolds and Eversharp, aimed to take the ballpoint pen market by storm. Their dreams were dashed, however, due to low quality and customer satisfaction. For most of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, the ballpoint pen trend seemed to be a fad, and fountain pens surged in popularity once more. The asking price for a ballpoint pen dropped from $12.50 to less than a dollar due to high advertising costs and low quality products.

In 1954, the Parker Pen Co. introduced the Jotter, a ballpoint pen that wrote five times longer than other pens on the market, and had a variety of point sizes. In less than a year, Parker sold 3.5 million units. In 1957, Parker also introduced a popular tungsten carbide textured ball bearing in their pens. By this point, Eversharp was in deep financial trouble due to plummeting sales and sold their pen division to Parker Pen Co. Eversharp’s shares eventually ran dry in the 1960’s.

Although the 1940’s and 1950’s were a turbulent time for ballpoint pen manufacturers, French company BIC began selling pens around 1950. By the late 1950’s, BIC held 70 percent of the European market – in 1958, BIC bought 60 percent of New York based Waterman pens; ultimately buying the company in 1960. By this time, BIC was selling ballpoint pens in the United States for anywhere from $.29 to $.69. Today, BIC dominates the market – the BIC crystal pen sells millions of units per day.

Rollerball pens were first introduced to market in the 1980s. This instrument uses a mobile ball and liquid ink which is supposed to produce a smoother line than the ball point pen and be easier to control than the traditional fountain pen.

Simply put, although we take our writing utensils for granted, there was a time when sharpened sticks were the tool of choice. Overlooking the lengthy and complex history of writing utensils is a fallacy – every time you pick up a pen, you are holding thousands of years of human ingenuity in your hand.