Today’s Friday photo is of a display at the Pen Museum in the Jewellery Quarter.
During the 19th Century, Birmingham was at the forefront of the world steel pen trade. The invention of the steel pen enabled the spread of literacy throughout the world and pen nibs produced in Birmingham were distributed worldwide.
The museum is housed in the Argent Centre; a grade II listed, former Victorian pen factory. Trade declined in the 1950s when the use of steel pen nibs was surpassed by fountain pens and the ballpoint pen – causing many factories to be shut.
It is an interesting place with interactive elements; I was able to make my own pen nib using original factory presses and even attempted some calligraphy – (under instruction!)
There is ongoing research into the pen industry and their website states they are keen to hear from anybody who has had connections with the trade.