Monday, September 27, 2010

Pen or Pencil?

I've often been surprised to see messages written on vintage postcards in pencil. If I received a contemporary postcard written in anything but pen, I'd be surprised, and I'd certainly never think of writing in anything but pen or permanent marker. I take my ink for granted! 

Recently, I saw a postcard in an antique store that explained why so many vintage postcard messages are written in pencil. The sender noted he was writing in pencil because he didn't have the money for ink. (I do not know why I decided not to purchase this postcard; it's not like me at all, so it must have had a fatal flaw, like missing postage or a torn corner.) 

Of course! Pens have not always been so readily available. Modern ball point pens were introduced in the 1940s. Before that time, postcard senders would have likely used fountain pens, and the ink was more expensive than the less fancy pencil writing instrument. It was such a good reminder to be mindful of assumptions!

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