I am fascinated with old journals, old writing instruments, and the stories of old writers.
There is something so tactile about the way they worked.
I expect in reality it’s about as romantic as having an outdoor biffy but that’s okay. It’s nice to think of someone working so diligently on a journal.
It took some effort to mix up ink, carry it with you and keep the quill sharpened.
This informative, educational site tells about writing with quill and ink. http://lewisandclarktrail.com/quillandink.htm I quote from it.
Lewis and Clark started off with their own supply of ink. It was packed in a powder form, and they turned it to liquid by adding water. They only mixed as much as they needed at one time.
Several easy substitutes were used for making ink on the frontier. One simple method is by mixing egg whites, ashes or charcoal and honey with a small amount of water. You can also make ink by soaking walnut hulls in water and straining out the stained liquid. Vinegar was added to help the ink set. Other plant juices, such as indigo, have been used as ink for centuries.
Writing with a Quill
The most important tip to remember when using a quill is to write lightly. It’s tempting to press hard, but the proper way is to barely scratch the paper. Handwriting in the 1800s was very flowing and fancy. Moving the quill so much helped keep the ink flowing and made writing easier. In that way, it’s more like painting than writing with a pen or pencil. Practice making some loops and turns to get the feel of it.
When visiting the local museum I was shown a large bottle of powder that was mixed and sold to customers. Likely they refilled little bottles. School desks for older students had a hole in the top so the ink bottle could sit safely and not be knocked to the floor.
(picture from wikipedia.)
Don’t you think this makes the historic journals even more interesting? Even romantic?