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On the Quill

February 24th, 2005 | 1 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

Mark Olson at Pseudo-Polymath offers this reflection on the virtues of the quill:

A good fountain pen has finely engraved metal, is machined to fine tolerances, and writes smoothly and well. I still find it amazing for instance, that the groove cut in the nib is cut with a stone cutting wheel. Now granted some people, collectors, take the whole thing to a different arena (financially as well) which interests me little. I like the feel and the idea of using the pens, nothing more. A good well maintained bicycle has some of the same appeal. It is a simple machine, but made to work well, with fine tolerances.

Indeed. I was told by an Oxford professor from Bavaria that all Bavarian students are required to write with quills through the eighth grade (equivalent). She praised them for helping her develop the fine motor skills that allow the good handwriting Olson and I lack.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.