Writing instruments are various tools used to inscribe words onto paper products, banners, electronic devices and other media. In the earliest forms of writing, men used bone tools, reeds and feathers to produce the words and symbols that conveyed their thoughts. Modern implements used to express the written word include pencils, pens, markers, chalk and stylus tools.
The pencil was first mass produced in Nuremburg, Germany, in 1662. The graphite substance inside of the pencil that is responsible for leaving the marks is rated on a hardness scale (HB). The HB rating refers to hardness and darkness of the writing that will be produced. Higher numbers have softer graphite cores and will make lighter marks while lower numbers will make darker marks. The HB rating is not standardized. Pencils from different pencil manufacturers with the same rating will not always mark with the same level of darkness. These HB ratings apply to traditional stick pencils as well as mechanical pencils.
In 1884 Lewis Edson Waterman, an insurance broker, invented the first fountain pen with a reservoir. Though pens were popular in his time, most required an inkwell. They did not always write when you needed them to and often made messy blots. Waterman expressly developed his pen as a remedy to both situations. Modern pens are available in fountain, ballpoint, calligraphy, roller ball, felt-tipped and quill varieties. In addition to variety, pens come with a variety of ink colors, including white, red, pink and the traditional black or blue.
In 1952, Sidney N. Rosenthal created a felt-tipped writing device with an ink-filled glass jar attached, currently known as the Magic Marker. It was marketed as a way of writing on all types of surfaces. Markers come in every color imaginable and in permanent, waterproof and washable varieties. Markers write in points as fine as a pen to points about 1/2 inch wide. Special markers are made for writing on dry erase boards, to highlight written text without completely covering it and with ink that only writes on special paper.
Though the full details of the invention of the crayon were not properly recorded, reconstruction of the tidbits of information that were recorded tells us of the invention of the crayon. As such, Europe is touted with developing the modern crayon wthat consisted of a mixture of coal and oil. As the crayon developed, the charcoal was replaced with pigments and the oil was replaced with wax. In America, Binney & Smith introduced Crayola crayons in response to teachers' need for more affordable, nontoxic pigments for children to write with in classrooms. The first box of Crayola crayons was marketed in 1903 with eight colors in each box. Crayola has a total of 120 different colors for its crayons, as of 2011.
The stylus was the earliest form of writing tool known. Originally a stylus was a piece of bone or lead that was used to make marks on wax paper or stone. The stylus has developed over time. A modern stylus refers to a tool used to write on tablet PCs and other electronic devices. A stylus does not use ink but rather presses on the screen of the device in an even manner to allow the device to pick up each pixel of the word being written.
There are also Braille stylus tools. Braille, a form of reading and writing for the blind, was invented by Louis Braille This stylus is used to punch holes or bumps in paper for the purpose of writing Braille. The stylus is used in conjunction with a slate and the writer must punch the Braille from right to left so that the intended reader will be able to read it from left to right.
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