Writing and pens over time

Here, we will examine the pen and its different forms through the ages ; from the beginnings of writing to today, we will explore the history of this everyday tool.

Throughout history, humans have expressed their emotions as well as their perceptions of reality and their environment. Witness to acts and changes, man has always used tools for this purpose.

So, we will see which types of writing have been dispersed throughout humanity’s history.


Definition: “Which is wedge-shaped.”

Cuneiform writing is a type of writing characterized by combinations of signs in the form of triangular symbols, spaced with precision. They were found on clay tablets.

Man then wrote this form of script using “camales”, reeds cut to a sharp point.

cuneiform clay
cuneiform clay

This writing originates in Mesopotamia.


Definition: the term hieroglyph comes to us from the Greek ἱερογλύφος / hieroglúphos, itself formed from ἱερός / hierós (“sacred”) and γλύφειν / glúphein (“engrave”).

Hieroglyphics are composed of ideograms and phonograms engraved with chisels and calames on stone or papyrus.


We find this writing in Ancient Egypt.


Definition: a graphic symbol representing a word or an idea used. It is to be distinguished from pictograms or phonograms.

ideogram on bones

Ideograms first appeared in China, and can be found on turtle shells or farm animal bones that man carved into using a sharp point or blade.

Phenitian Alphabet

Definition: non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, ancestor of the Arabic and Greek alphabet. Composed of angular and straight letters although we find cursive shapes today.

This alphabet was written on clay tablets or carved in stone with a chisel or a chalk. It was written from right to left.

Phenician Clay
Phenician Clay

It was found in the region of Phenicia around 1000 years BC.

Greek Alphabet

A descendant of the Phenitian alphabet, it is made up of twenty-four letters. It is used today in the scientific field.

Greek text on clay
Greek text on clay

We find writings of this type on wooden tablets coated with wax, papyrus, or parchment made of animal skin. A calame was used to write.

Cursive and Codex Romain

Roman Cursive Script is written in Latin with a stylus on a tablet or with a brush/pointed nib on papyrus. We saw it appear by following the Codex, which was a set of bound papyrus pages, considered as the ancestor of the modern book.

Latin text
Latin text

Uncial writing

Developed in the Medieval era (used in the Carolingian era)

Uncial text write
Uncial text

Alphabet adapted from ancient Roman cursive, adapted from Codex. It is written with a quill pen (goose feather) on animal skin parchments.

Humanistic writing

Written with a quill pen on rag paper made from vegetable fibers, it was developed during the Renaissance first in Italy and later became common across Europe.

Humanistic text write on vegetable fiber paper
Humanistic text

The fountain pen

Fountain pen
Fountain pen

Petrache Poenaru was a Romanian engineer mathematician. Inventor of the fountain pen, it was later patented in Paris in 1827. The fountain pen is based on the principle of using a capillary to pass ink from a reservoir onto paper. This invention made it possible to choose between natural or synethic feathers.

The ballpoint pen

An invention of American origin which was later perfected and patented by the György brothers, Hungarian journalist and chemist respectively who enabled the development of this invention. They helped reduce manufacturing costs and increased tool reliability.

Writing tools have continued to evolve and improve over time. They have contributed to the democratization of writing throughout the world, making themselves a vector of human evolution, research and the evolution of technologies all while constantly evolving. The pen will remain the most significant tool in the history of thought.

Ballpoint pen
Ballpoint pen