The Golden Age of Penmanship – Dream Points


To all you calligraphers out there – I know many of you are starting to have heart palpitations about now. Why? asks the rest of us. Well, that’s what this post is about – learning something new.


To set the stage:  I love to rummage.  Estate Sales, Flea Markets, Second Hand Stores and Nature’s Own Backyard.  All of these areas hold secrets and mysteries for me and I love trying to find them.  I’ve been asked “how do you know what to look for?”, I don’t.  I don’t go in with something particular on my list of “what to find today”, somehow that always jinxes it for me.  I just ride the slight buzz of anticipation that maybe, today, I find something really cool EVEN IF I DON’T KNOW THAT WHAT I JUST PICKED UP AND ADDED TO MY CART IS IT.

Explanation:  I can’t count how many times I’ve bought something that I just liked the look of, like the box above.  I liked the pretty blue willow paper and the small size of the box.  The name “Joseph Gillott” sounds old-fashioned to me and the whole thing just looked “Vintage” making it right up my alley. So I bought it (and two others just like it).  Then when I got home I did what I always do – start searching the net for info on my latest treasure and this takes me back to the start of this blog: Learning Something New.


In a world where cursive script is no longer considered worth teaching and learning I tumbled headlong into a world where penmanship is an art form.

images-1 images

The pretty box I found was full of pen nibs made by a company in England in the late 1800’s.  From there I learned that my box was from the “Golden Age of Penmanship”.  An age where we all wrote with pens that looked like tiny daggers and could create beauty to pierce the heart.

I surfed the net for hours, it was fascinating!  There was intrigue (another company made knock-offs of this nib – J. Gillott was NOT pleased).  I discovered there were 144 nibs in this box,  144?,  but that’s a “gross”.  A gross refers to a group of 144 items (a dozen dozen or a square dozen), I could feel my little gray cells filling up.  There was pride of work – each nib was hand beveled to hold and deliver the ink just right.  There was history – a peek at the world of the 1800s.


I also realized that fortune had placed an amazing find in my hands and as usual, I am humbled and in wonder – the journey these boxes made before they fell to me over one hundred years later.  Truly, I get a little short of breath, my heart speeds up, my hands are a bit unsteady because for me, these things are like time machines and I just took a little trip – so amazing.

Am I going to take up calligraphy, no.  This is not where my talent lies.  I make altered art and I love doing that but sometimes I think my real talent is finding things and without really knowing at the time I choose to add a find to my stash, before I get it home and make what discoveries I will, I somehow bond with things.  I see them, pick them up and my heart goes up a notch and suddenly I’m protective of that piece, I am fey.


If you are an acolyte of the nib then please check out my Etsy shop OldRaven for listings concerning the Joseph Gillott’s 604 E.F. nibs – aka Dream Points.  I also will list on eBay (ravenstash). Thank you.


10 thoughts on “The Golden Age of Penmanship – Dream Points

  1. Interesting post. I love the detail on so many antique items/
    When I was at school (from 1960) we learned to write with fountain pens because ball point pens were believe to ruin your handwriting. I still like a fountain pen, but they can be messy. A contemporary of mine went to a farm school at around the same time, and used a dip pen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do have interest in calligraphy and of course have a couple books I have purchased on it that I have not read yet 🙂 I did invest in nice handcarved wooden pen with a nib at the end. It has ink cartridges but whenever I use it I feel transported to a time with when ink and pen was very special!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a find! My Aunt loves rummage sales. She lives in Holland 12 weeks a year and they go to flea markets when they are in Europe. I am fascinated with her treasures! (Her house looks like a museum).

    Liked by 1 person

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