Saturday, 21 December 2019

PENMANSHIP


Not withstanding that we spend too much time reading from and tapping a six by ten centimetre piece of aluminosilicate glass the civilised world should still be fascinated and using writing instruments. This passion for the finer things of life can be fuelled by a visit to the most excellent Pen Museum in Birmingham! 

Making pen nibs, very civilising 


You can browse glass display cases containing all manner of writing paraphernalia; understand how the pen nib and pens came to develop. There is an opportunity to make a pen nib! I joined a small group of visitors and one of the museum’s founders talked us through the process, and each of us used every one of five different machines to make my own pen nib!   

Here’s a less breathless and more coherent viva voce from the museum’s website 

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE HISTORY OF THE 19TH CENTURY PEN TRADE. DISCOVER THE TOUGH WORKING CONDITIONS OF WOMEN WORKING IN THE PEN FACTORIES. EXPERIENCE WRITING WITH FEATHER QUILLS, REEDS AND STEEL PEN NIBS.

Worth their weight  Photo: Chris Worthington
The Pen Museum focuses on the important legacy of Birmingham’s 19th Century pen trade and its significant contribution to improving literacy throughout the world. It’s located in a former pen factory, built in 1863, where visitors experience writing with feather quills, reeds and steel nibs and can also make their own nib using traditional methods. The Museum narrates the interesting lives, stories and important expertise of manufacturers, owners and workers that resulted in Birmingham once manufacturing 75% of the world’s pens.  Explore the collection of over 5,000 objects related to the Birmingham Pen Trade. Our team is also happy to answer (where possible) general questions about pens.


Penman Country Photo: Chris Worthington

Plan your visit by going to the museum now https://penmuseum.org.uk

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