Thursday, July 5, 2012


The other day I was thinking about the history and the subsequent demise of the inkwell and it sort of bummed me out.  My deep depression lasted just a few short minutes until I realized how nice it is that I am not forced to use one on a daily basis but the history fascinates me.
An inkwell to me has always been an option.  I have about 18 other ways to put information on paper and if I use a dip pen and an inkwell it's because I am horribly bored or simply just testing a new ink. It didn't used to be that way.

Just for clarification...I love dip pens...and I have quite a few in my collection but I haven't seen a dip pen show up lately in any one's daily arsenal and I can't imagine needing to travel with one.   When the ballpoint was patented in 1939, it started a serious downward spiral for all other types of ink pens. The inkwell suffered the loss and fans of the inkwell (if there were any) were also left behind. 
The inkwell was sort of a by-product of the dip (or steel) pen. It was a necessity.  Inkwells served a long and illustrious life as a tool, a vessel and a means to an end.  Sure, there are fancy ones and expensive and basic ones but at the end of a day any small bowl without a hole in it would work. Doing a search on Amazon produces some interesting results. most of the "inkwells"  are now pre-filled with ink or bad reproductions.  

Everyone remembers Grammy right?  It turns out that she collected inkwells also...of every shape and size. I like to think she was carrying on or prolonging the tradition  but in reality I am sure she just appreciated the function and style of what once was.

 If anyone is curious,  you can join the SOIC. The Society of Inkwell Collectors,  its $45 a year and there is an opening for a Director at Large (I might have submitted an application.)
I never expect to hear about the resurgence of inkwells,  or that suddenly they are cool again...I get it,  they are dinosaurs...but I imagine there was something cathartic about spending time with a dip pen and an inkwell and ink and knowing it was always going to work. I hope you enjoyed your 4th.Seth


Greg said...

What a fun post! And comforting to know that there are others out there with 'unusual' (my family says 'weird') interests... A pen enthusiast, I collected these for many years, but they've been put away - this makes me wanna dust them off and display them again! And - I never knew there was a 'Society..." for us collectors!

Thanks for a fun read - and what a great collection!


Seth Goodling said...

Thanks Greg!