Instruments of Writing
By Karen Parr-Moody
From time immemorial, man has sought out ways of better expressing himself. And for that mode of expression, man has needed everything from a basic pencil to a writing desk. GasLamp features many vintage items that indulged man's need to pen his thoughts.
The first lead pencil was developed by the German-Swiss scientist Konrad von Gesner in 1565. It was a simple piece of graphite enclosed in a wooden holder. The first pencil-making factory came two hundred years later, in in Nuremburg, Germany, and was established by Kasper Faber. Since these utensils have gained favor with the masses, they have evolved into instruments of simple utility or classic beauty. And the vintage pencil case, right, is a perfect place to stash a few ($6; Booth B-120).
Strike a key! The Remington Standard 10 typewriter, as seen in the photo at left, was first developed in 1908 ($50; Booth B-120). Its development was in response to the market pressure for a "visible" or frontstrike machine. With the Remington 10, typists could see their work as it appeared on the paper due to the open design of the machine. This model is of extra heavy construction and contains a four-row keyboard with artistic letters printed over a shiny black finish. It is no wonder that the attractive #10 became another Remington bestseller.
This green easel chalkboard, right, is perfect for practicing one's letters ($24; Booth B-120). It charmingly features a parade of animals and friends dancing across its top. Originally sold by Sears, it was manufactured by American Toys and Furniture out of Chicago, Illinois. How cute would this be in a whimsical bakery or ice cream parlor, used to write down the daily specials? Or it could be hung in a kitchen or office as a fun message board for shopping lists, menus, phone messages and reminders.
Whether one is penning a letter or a novel, it is best to be sitting comfortably. And to make organized writing a better proposition, one needs a writing desk or bureau. Since the 18th century, such a piece of furniture has acted as a kind of compact office, with small drawers or pigeon holes. One fine example currently at GasLamp is the bright red model in the photo, left (red desk, $175; Booth B-105).
For those enamored of the shabby chic style, the white wicker desk in the photo, right, is a specimen sure to fit one's needs ($99; Booth B-114).
While reading and writing was relegated primarily to monasteries and universities before the invention of the printing press, today we have a wide assortment of materials to keep us penning our thoughts. And for those who find Twitter to be a bit déclassé, GasLamp sells the true originals for writing in style.