Visual Dictionary Online


Powered by

writing instruments [1]click to hear

The first true writing instruments were made by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia nearly 5,000 years ago.
writing instruments [1] lead pencil steel pen stylus quill cane pen Egyptian reed pen writing brush Roman metal pen

lead pencil click to hear

Pencil made of lead with a decorative end; it was first used in the Middle Ages and was later replaced by the graphite lead pencil.

steel pen click to hear

Curved point mounted on a handle; it is dipped in an inkwell to write.

stylus click to hear

Pointed instrument used by the ancient Greeks to etch wax tablets; the flattened end was used to erase etching.

quill click to hear

Large feather with a hollow stalk (calamus) that is sharpened to a point and dipped in ink to write; it was used in the Middle Ages.

cane pen click to hear

Instrument that was used from antiquity through the Middle Ages to write on papyrus and parchment; it remains the traditional instrument of Arabic calligraphy.

Egyptian reed pen click to hear

Small reed that is sharpened to a point and used to draw hieroglyphics on clay tablets or to write in ink on papyrus.

writing brush click to hear

Natural or synthetic bristles set into a handle and dipped in ink to write; it has been used for Chinese calligraphy for 4,000 years.

Roman metal pen click to hear

Metal writing instrument devised by the Romans in ancient times; it is the ancestor of the modern metal pen, which appeared in the 19th century.