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On Tue, 17 Oct 2000, Terrence Donnelly wrote:

> At 09:31 AM 10/17/2000 -0400, YHL wrote:
> >
> >BTW, has anyone ever gotten to write with a quill and ink, or figured out
> >how to make a writing-quill?  My attempts with pigeon feathers and
> >inkpads (as for rubber stamps) never made it very far, but I couldn't get
> >any other feathers and my mom wouldn't let me near the India ink....
>
> My wife used to be a calligrapher.  Her books said to use a goose
> quill (bigger than a pigeon feather).  You scrape the feathers off the
> end (or off the whole thing), and cut the tip at an angle.  Then you
> make a small slit in the tip.  You have to use liquid ink.  You can
> either let the ink pull up into the shaft of the quill, or, if you
> are very industrious, you make a tiny metal leaf spring and slide it
> up into the shaft of the quill to make an ink reservoir.

<despair>  This is going to have to wait until I can find a cooperative
goose, then.  I figured out the liquid ink part the hard way.  Dumb
question: what's a leaf spring?

(Off-topic: I once tried to read a history of engineering, and was
fascinated until I got lost by lots of terminology like, oh, leaf spring
in a book that assumed you knew what these things looked like and how
they worked.)

> >Hmm.  I haven't even touched clay in a long time, but wouldn't circles be
> >difficult to make with a stylus?  Maybe something that evolved into a circle?
>
> IIRC, cuneiform was written with a two-ended stylus.  One end had a
> wedge shape, and the other was round.  The small circles were just
> stamped in the clay with the round end.  I don't know how you'd make a
> _big_ circle that way, but you could make little half-circles by pressing
> the round end at an angle.

Er...make a stylus with a Big Circle at the other end instead of a little
circle?  What were styli made of?

YHL