Gillott, Joseph

Gillott, Joseph
SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
b. 1799 Sheffield, Yorkshire d. 1877
English maker of steel pens.
The name Joseph Gillott became synonymous with pen making at a time when the basic equipment for writing was undergoing a change. The quill pen had served writers for centuries, but attempts had been made since the seventeenth century to improve on it. The first major technical development was the steel nib, which began to be made c.1829. The steel nib was still little known in Birmingham in 1839, but ten years later it was in common use. Its stiffness was at first a drawback, but Gillott was among the first to improve its flexibility by introducing three slots, which later became standard practice. Mechanical methods of manufacture made the pen cheaper and improved its quality. In 1840 Gillott issued a "precept" informing the public that he was pen maker to the Queen and that he had been manufacturing pens for twenty years at his Victoria Works in Birmingham. He announced the successful reception by the public of his new patent pen. There were also special "warranted school" pens designed for the various grades of writing taught in schools. Finally, he warned against inferior imitations and recommended the public to buy only those pens stamped with his name.
Further Reading
J.T.Bunce and S.Timmins, c.1880 Joseph Gillott 1799–1877: A Sketch of His Life.
H.Bore, 1890, The Story of the Invention of the Steel Pen, London.
J.Whalley, 1975, Writing Implements and Accessories, Newton Abbot: David \& Charles.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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