Category Archives: Penmanship

Aspects of Writing and the Implements Necessary Thereto

Carbonated Paper During the Regency

Despite its name, this special paper did not have any tiny bubbles in or on it. Some of you may have guessed that this was actually an early name for a business office supply commodity which was in common use … Continue reading

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Of Inkstands and Standishes

Even before the Regency, these diminutive and decorative altars to the pursuit of belle lettres could be found on the desks of most educated people. Before the Regency came to a close, they could also be found in the homes … Continue reading

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Of Ciphers and Monograms

Though the terms cipher and monogram are often used interchangeably today, they are, in fact, two distinct classes of alphabetic initial design and presentation. Few today know the difference between them, but most members of the Regency aristocracy, gentry and … Continue reading

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Shorthand in the Regency

Though few people today are aware if it, shorthand has a long and rather tangled history which dates back to ancient times. That includes the early nineteenth century. However, the modern versions of shorthand systems, which are still in use … Continue reading

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Some Charming Abcedariums of the Regency

For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, abcedarium is taken from Latin, and by the last decades of the eighteenth century in England, was certainly the most highbrow of the words which denoted a book … Continue reading

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A Paper Knife Was Not a Letter Opener

Paper knives were commonly found on many desks during the Regency. Paper knives were not the same as pen knives, nor were they made for the purpose of opening letters. However, they would become the inspiration for letter openers in … Continue reading

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Of Wax-Jacks and Bougie-Boxes

Recently, I posted an article here about sealing wax. During the Regency, sealing wax was an essential part of correspondence, as this was several decades before the introduction of the adhesive paper envelopes which we take so for granted today. … Continue reading

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Sealing … Wax?

During the Regency, the substance used to seal letters and other documents was seldom made with any wax at all. However, there had been a time in Europe when wax was all that was used to seal documents. It was … Continue reading

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A Pen Knife was not always a "Pocket-Knife"

The pocket-knife which we know today has its roots in the pen knife, or scribal knife, of the Middle Ages. But not only did those early knives not fold, few of them would safely or conveniently fit in a pocket, … Continue reading

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The Regency:   "So long, Long S"

As with many other curious things which have been chronicled here, the decade of the Regency saw the last lingering use of the Long S, at least in print. Most people continued to use it in those documents which they … Continue reading

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The Precious Regency Pencil

The ubiquitous wooden stick with a mineral core, now often painted yellow, is something that we all take for granted today. But this writing implement, which did not require ink, had only just begun to be manufactured in significant numbers … Continue reading

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Ink — Regency Writing Fluid

Last week I wrote about the making of quills into pens, but quill pens are not much use without ink. Therefore, this week I will explain how ink was made, the materials that were used to make it as well … Continue reading

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The Quill — The Regency Pen

Despite the use of steel pens in some Regency novels I have read, and in some movies supposedly set in the Regency, the only type pen available to writers during that decade was the quill. A Mr. Wise did invent … Continue reading

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Parchment is NOT Paper!

Nor is vellum. Yet countless characters in countless Regency novels have selected or are offered a sheet of "parchment" or "vellum" when they have something to write. But that would never really have happened during the Regency, because though paper … Continue reading

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Oh, foolish Foolscap!

In great agitation, she took a sheet of foolscap from the desk drawer. Placing it on the blotter, she dipped her sharpened quill into the inkwell and began to write furiously  … Or, something like that. How many characters in … Continue reading

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