Did You Know?


  • Not only did Leonardo da Vinci write from right to left (mirror writing) with his left hand, but he also started from the last page in the Oriental manner. Some scholars believe that he even positioned his manuscripts upside-down. His manuscripts were filled with his sketches, usually drawn in red crayon. Da Vinci’s correspondence was written with his right hand and moved from left to right like handwriting typical of his day.
  • Because people are not machines, no one is capable of duplicating exactly his or her signature from one sitting to the next. There are always natural variations within one’s writing which help to prove authenticity. When two signtures are identical, only one of them is original and the other must be a copy.
  • Writer’s cramp is a symptom attributed to fatigue of one’s nervous system. Although the muscle contracts and causes pain, there is no actual abnormality in the muscle.
  • The exclamation mark was once known as the “note of admiration.” Originally, this mark was Io, the Latin exclamation of joy, written as I with a small circle beneath. Since then, the form of the I has become obscured and the circle simplified to a dot.
  • The first bound books were produced, and quill pens were introduced, sometime around 600 AD.
  • When Thoth, the Egyptian god of learning, gave writing to the ancient Egyptians, he deliberately made the system difficult and obscure in order to confine literacy to a small caste of priests who had to prove their dedication by devoting long hours of study to their craft.
  • Gothic lettering first appeared about 1100. Gothic lettering is characterized by flourishes, hairlines and hooks.
  • The earliest known watermark is dated 1282.
  • The modern steel nibbed pen was invented in 1820.
  • In 1939 Biro obtained a French patent on the ball-point pen. Biro began manufacture of ball-points in Argentina about 1943. The first large-scale commercial sale of ball-points in the U.S. occurred about 1945.
  • Pentell introduced a fiber or porous tip pen in Japan about 1962.