How Ancient Secrets were Written at Nalanda University?

Nalanda University

What writing tools were used at the ancient Indian university of Nalanda?

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Nalanda University in India stands as a testament to the rich intellectual heritage of the ancient world and holds a reputation for its vast collection of manuscripts. Here, students could delve into Buddhist philosophies, intricacies of the Vedas, or explore subjects like medicine, logic, and even astronomy.  These manuscripts were preserved on palm leaves or parchment, and served as the main attraction of Nalanda’s academic foundation.

But the story doesn’t end there.  

To interact with these invaluable resources, Nalanda scholars employed a variety of writing products in the university. Stylus was the most common writing instrument, and was used to inscribe delicate markings on palm leaves. It was made from materials like metal or ivory. Whereas, bird feathers were called Quills and  it offered a more fluid writing experience for composing on parchment.  The very tools utilized at Nalanda highlight the dedication to knowledge preservation and dissemination that permeated the university.

What is the History behind the Invention of Gel-Pen Ink?

History Behind Gel Pen Ink

What made the e Sakura gel pens a game-changer in the 1980s? 

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The Sakura Color Products Corporation, a Japanese company with a rich history in art supplies, redefined writing experience with their innovative gel-ink formula. In the 1980s, Sakura envisioned a pen that combined the smooth glide of a fountain pen with the convenience and mess-free nature of a ballpoint.

Unlike the oil-based ink found in ballpoints, gel pens use a water-based pigment gel. This thicker consistency allows for superior ink flow, reducing friction between the pen and paper resulting in a pleasurable writing experience and satisfying feel. However, the first commercially available gel pen was named “Pilot Hi-Tecpoint,”  launched in Japan in 1984.  It quickly gained popularity for its smooth writing and vibrant colors.. In 1988, Sakura launched its own gel pen, the “Gelly Roll,” which brought a new dimension to the market – a vast array of dazzling, eye-catching colors. This innovation, coupled with the pen’s smooth writing, helped propel gel pens into the mainstream, especially for artists and those seeking a more expressive writing tool.

What Led to the Invention of the Ball Pen?

Ballpoint Pen Invention

From Smudges to Smooth Writing- The Birth of the Ballpoint Pen

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Laszlo Biro, a Hungarian journalist in the 1930s, was frustrated by smudging ink from fountain pens and sought a solution for smooth, quick-drying writing. He was inspired by the fast-drying ink used in newspaper printing presses, and started thinking if he could  create a pen that could use this ink without smudging.

In 1888, John J. Loud patented the first ballpoint pen, but its ink was too thin, leading to leaks and uneven flow. Meanwhile Biro’s innovation was in developing a new, thicker ink and a ball-bearing mechanism. The ball, housed in a socket, rotated against the ink reservoir, controlling flow and preventing smudging.

Biro’s 1938 patent marked a breakthrough. While Loud’s pen failed due to ink issues, Biro’s design, along with the right ink, led to the mass production of reliable ballpoint pens.

Why Do Gel Pen Inks Have Quirky Names?

Why Do Gel Pen Inks Have Quirky Names?

How Gel Pen Inks Changed the Writing Game?

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Gel pen ink names aren’t just limited to blue and black; they have a hidden secret. 

In 1980, a trend of colorful gel pen ink names was started to draw young people’s curiosity and attention. Japanese pen manufacturer Sakura introduced its iconic “Pigma Micron” line then. Despite the excellent performance of the pens themselves, young writers and painters were most attracted to the quirky names based on the gel ink, such as “Sky Blue” and “Rose Madder.” 

The fun didn’t stop there! 

Other brands like Pentel joined the trend with “Lime Green” and “Violet” pens, creating more excitement in the minds of young writers. The ink name game kept evolving, and names like “Mango Tango” and “Razzleberry” became popular. Even today, brands like Zebra keep pushing boundaries with “Shark Tank Blue” and “Outrageous Olive,” making gel pen ink a playground for color expression for every individual.

Ancient Egyptians and the First Pen

Do you Know - Pen Facts

Reed Pens: The First Writing Tool of Ancient Egypt

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The first pen was invented around 3,000 years B.C.? Before the ballpoint pen was even thought of, the Ancient Egyptians used reed pens for writing. These pens were made from marsh plants and had split nibs that helped control ink flow. They were used to write on papyrus, and the ink was created from a mixture of soot and ochre mixed with beeswax, which later evolved into a range of vibrant colors. Although the use of these pens has been surpassed by time, their legacy lives on as a testament to the enduring power of written communication. The elegant strokes of the Egyptian pen influenced civilizations and bridged epochs, showcasing the importance of the written word throughout history.

Why do Left-handed People prefer Fountain Pens?

Left-handed People prefer Fountain Pens

Nailing the Write Angle: Fountain Pens and the Left-Handed Advantage

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More left-handed people prefer fountain pens than right-handed people worldwide? There are several reasons for this trend. Firstly, fountain pens reduce the smudged struggles of regular pens in a left-handed world. Traditional ballpoints rely on friction for ink flow, often clashing with the underhand grip or hooked wrist favored by many lefties. This contact drags wet ink across the paper, leaving frustrating smears and a sense of lost control. However, the fountain pen has a self-governing ink flow independent of grip pressure, significantly reducing hand fatigue and writing discomfort among left-handed users.

Moreover, fountain pens unlock a universe of customization for left-handed writers beyond just solving the smudging problem. Standard nibs, designed for right-handed writing angles, can create scratchiness and skip ink for left-handers. But fountain pens offer a plethora of alternatives. Left-handed nibs feature specially angled tines, promoting smoother ink flow and a more comfortable writing experience. So, if you’re a left-hander longing for a smooth writing experience, consider picking up a fountain pen. It may become your perfect writing companion.

Can Fountain Pens write Upside-Down?

Can Fountain Pens write Upside-Down?

The Innovative Mechanism of a Fountain Pen

Did you Know

Fountain pens can write upside down?

The key to a fountain pen’s upside-down writing lies in its innovative reservoir system. Unlike traditional ballpoint or gel pens, fountain pens use a nib and feed system that relies on a capillary mechanism to draw ink from the reservoir to the paper. This design ensures a controlled and consistent ink flow, contributing to the pen’s smooth writing experience.

Writing upside-down with a fountain pen requires carefully considering physics and fluid dynamics. The force of gravity acting on the ink within the pen is counteracted by capillary forces, preventing ink from pooling or drying out when the pen is inverted. The precise combination of nib design, feed mechanism, and ink properties creates a delicate equilibrium, allowing for precise and consistent writing regardless of the pen’s position.

The ability of a fountain pen to write upside-down is not a mere quirk but a testament to the thoughtful engineering and design principles behind this classic writing instrument. The interplay between the nib, feed mechanism, and ink properties showcases a harmonious fusion of physics and creativity, proving that even the simplest of tools can be a feat of ingenious mechanics.

Direct-fill Pens: What makes them Unique?

Intriguing Tidbits about Direct-fill Ball Pens

Unbelievable Facts About Direct-Filled Pens

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  • The direct-fill ball pen isn’t just a writing tool; it’s a time machine. Remember the satisfying scritch-scratch of pen on paper in grade school? Hold a direct-fill ball pen, and you might be transported back to ink-stained fingers, childhood letters to grandparents, and the hushed hum of old classrooms. 
  • Forget fancy gadgets and gizmos. Direct-fill pens are all about uncluttered elegance. Their no-frills design offers a tactile pleasure unmatched by modern pens. Its form and function are in perfect harmony, letting you focus on the pure joy of putting pen to paper.
  • In our fast-paced lives, the direct-fill pen offers a welcome respite. Refilling is a mini-ritual, a chance to slow down, savor the quiet hum of the ink, and reconnect with the simple act of writing. 

How Does the Nanofountain Probe Achieve Nanoscale Writing Precision?


The Nanofountain Probe

A Technological Marvel Unveiling the World of Nanoscale Writing

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While the familiar pen remains a ubiquitous tool for recording thoughts and ideas, a revolutionary new design has emerged, operating on a far smaller scale: the Nanofountain Probe. Developed by researchers at Northwestern University, the Nanofountain Probe represents a significant advancement in nanotechnology. This groundbreaking tool can write lines as narrow as 40 nanometers – roughly 1/2000th the width of a human hair – representing a substantial leap in nanotechnology.

Unlike the everyday pen, the Nanofountain Probe isn’t designed for scribbling on paper. It is used in:

  • Electronics: Development of miniaturized circuits, leading to faster, more efficient devices.
  • Medicine: Creating targeted drug delivery systems and nanoscale biosensors for improved diagnosis and treatment.
  • Materials science: Design of materials with unique properties and applications, paving the way for innovative products and technologies.

The Nanofountain Probe operates through a sophisticated microfluidic system. Specialized “inks,” such as molecules and nanoparticles, are delivered to a volcano-like tip, where they are precisely deposited onto surfaces, creating intricate and precise patterns. This remarkable process relies on the same capillary forces that govern ink flow in traditional fountain pens, ensuring continuous and controlled material delivery at an unprecedentedly small scale.

How did KV Ratnam’s Fountain Pen Revolutionize the Writing Instrument Industry in India

KV-Ratnam and His Invention

From Colonial Dependence to Global Recognition: The Rise of the Indian Fountain Pen Industry

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Amidst the turmoil of India’s fight for independence in 1932, KV Ratnam, a resident of Rajahmundry, embarked on a journey that would revolutionize the writing instrument industry in the country. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s call for self-sufficiency and homegrown goods, Ratnam set out to create a fountain pen that was affordable and accessible to all.

Despite having no technical expertise, Ratnam was undeterred and began crafting his fountain pen armed with only a book of instructions and an unwavering spirit. He meticulously shaped and assembled the various parts from scratch, incorporating local materials and traditional motifs to reflect India’s rich cultural heritage. His creation resonated with the growing nationalist sentiment of the time, inspiring others to embrace indigenous products and break free from colonial dependence.

Ratnam’s remarkable achievement sparked a wave of passion for handmade fountain pens across India, leading to the establishment of workshops and factories that employed skilled artisans. Today, Indian fountain pens are celebrated for their exceptional craftsmanship, design, and affordability, with brands like “Gooptu’s” and “Ratnam Pens” becoming synonymous with quality and excellence. These pens continue to captivate pen enthusiasts worldwide, reflecting the legacy of KV Ratnam’s handcrafted revolution.

Recycling Waste – The Remarkable Journey of Edward Douglas Miller’s Pencil Creation


Paper Cups to Pencils, Edward Douglas Miller’s Sustainable Crafting Journey

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Edward Douglas Miller, a British entrepreneur, has successfully made pencils from recycled waste, like simple paper cups, discarded and destined for landfills.

Miller was passionate about sustainability and embarked on an extraordinary mission: to create writing tools using recycled materials. His company, Remarkable, aptly named for its dedication to turning waste into wonder, provided the perfect platform for this ambitious endeavor. In 2013, he created a pencil that was 323.51m in length. 15,000 paper cups, destined for a life of obscurity, were meticulously collected and cleaned. Under Miller’s meticulous guidance, these cups were transformed into the building blocks of an extraordinary creation. The cups were assembled carefully, forming the casing for the world’s longest pencil. The graphite core, the heart of any pencil, was sourced responsibly and painstakingly inserted into the recycled plastic casing. 

The completed pencil, measuring an astonishing 1,061 feet, was not merely a record-breaker but an embodiment of resourcefulness and innovation. It stood as a beacon of hope, demonstrating the potential to repurpose discarded materials into objects of beauty and utility.

Writing in Style- The Million-Dollar Tibaldi Marvel

Fulgor Nocturnus

Ink and Diamonds: The Extravagant Fulgor Nocturnus

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The Fulgor Nocturnus, made by the renowned Tibaldi pen makers in Florence, was sold for a whopping $8 million at a Shanghai auction in 2010. And why wouldn’t it? The pen boasts 945 black diamonds and 123 rubies, making it a true masterpiece of opulence and craftsmanship. This pen goes beyond being just a mere writing instrument. It symbolizes prestige and luxury, an authentic statement piece that exudes sophistication and class. Tibaldi’s exceptional attention to detail and dedication to producing only the finest writing instruments is evident in the creation of the Fulgor Nocturnus. It’s not just a pen; it’s a work of art that defies conventions. It’s the perfect blend of extravagance and craftsmanship, making it a head-turner, a jaw-dropper, and a conversation starter all at once. And to think that it all started with a pen!

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