The noblest acquisition of mankind is speech, and the most useful art
is writing. The first distinguishes man from the brute creation; the second from uncivilised savages.
T Astle, the origin and progress of writing, 1784
The modern pencil was invented at the end of the 18th century, followed some 50 years later by the nibbed pen. Until then those who were both literate and dextrous-and that was not many-wielded a quill. With pens and pencils handwriting became a push-over, even for the ham-fisted. So that in the past century, in the western world, the ability to write has…
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