Author Topic: Writing Small  (Read 659 times)

Offline Bianca M

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1106
  • Karma: 56
  • Tempus Fugit
    • View Profile
    • Bianca Mascorro Calligraphy & Art
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2019, 06:46:55 PM »
@AnasaziWrites Look at what just showed up!  I am so impressed and delighted!  Your writing is really wonderful to look at at this tiny size (well, at any size).  I just had to post it here.  Such fun!


Offline Katie Leavens

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 89
  • Karma: 11
    • View Profile
    • Portfolio website
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2019, 11:40:13 AM »
I am loving following this writing small saga! Thanks for sharing your adventures @AnasaziWrites and @Bianca M

Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1645
  • Karma: 118
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2019, 02:15:16 PM »
Quote
Look at what just showed up!  I am so impressed and delighted!  Your writing is really wonderful to look at at this tiny size (well, at any size).  I just had to post it here.  Such fun!
@Bianca M
So glad you got it and liked it. Interestingly, it arrived in about a week, which is typical for mail from here to CA, although not as fast as the previous postcard of standard size. It's obvious it was handled by a human--a second cancellation, which was unnecessary. In fact, if I were to hazard a guess, I would guess that that angry-looking scribble of a cancellation was done by someone who is not a fan of "art mail." Why take the time to desecrate such a beautiful stamp? A simple line or two would have sufficed. As Jean mentioned, some people in the USPS are fans of "art mail", and some are not.
A second "tiny envelope has arrived at its destination, which I will post shortly.


Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1645
  • Karma: 118
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2019, 02:28:04 PM »
Here is the second tiny envelope to have arrived safely. It's slightly smaller than the first as you can see by its size compared with the stamp. It arrived in two days--no delay in delivery because of size. My friendly clerk at the post office hand cancelled it and tossed it into the bin with the other hand cancelled items including packages--no special handling. Happy it didn't get lost in the rolling cart as big as four bales of hay.

There are two more tiny envelopes on the way to others. Hope to hear from them if/when delivered.

Offline Bianca M

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1106
  • Karma: 56
  • Tempus Fugit
    • View Profile
    • Bianca Mascorro Calligraphy & Art
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2019, 02:46:11 PM »
Interestingly, it arrived in about a week, which is typical for mail from here to CA, although not as fast as the previous postcard of standard size. It's obvious it was handled by a human--a second cancellation, which was unnecessary. In fact, if I were to hazard a guess, I would guess that that angry-looking scribble of a cancellation was done by someone who is not a fan of "art mail." Why take the time to desecrate such a beautiful stamp? A simple line or two would have sufficed. As Jean mentioned, some people in the USPS are fans of "art mail", and some are not.

Yes, I was a bit amused at the time difference, noting that the second one, which took longer, was more on par with standard delivery time.  If anything, I'd have thought it'd take longer because of the non-standard size.

I was not, however, amused by the (as you noted) unnecessary cancellation, especially because of how much I love the stamp you used.  It was already hand cancelled, but perhaps a second person thought it didn't cover the stamp enough.  Still, a bit much.  Once I received something that was similarly marked up, but the pen marks were so deep you could see through to the other side - LOTS of aggression went into that! 

Offline Bianca M

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1106
  • Karma: 56
  • Tempus Fugit
    • View Profile
    • Bianca Mascorro Calligraphy & Art
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2019, 02:50:39 PM »
My friendly clerk at the post office hand cancelled it and tossed it into the bin with the other hand cancelled items including packages--no special handling. Happy it didn't get lost in the rolling cart as big as four bales of hay.

It actually is impressive it didn't get lost in there!

Offline KristinT

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
  • Karma: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2019, 01:14:08 AM »
Just wanted to hop in and agree that this saga is very intriguing and amusing to keep abreast of!  Thanks so much @AnasaziWrites and @Bianca M for keeping us all informed!

Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1645
  • Karma: 118
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2019, 12:09:14 PM »
Smallest envelope yet went out on Wednesday and is said to be delivered. I photographed it before I sent it (attached). It's about 2 1/4 X 3 1/2 inches. X-height about 1/64. For size reference, the word "Isabella" in the stamp is 1/32nd.
The paper is now the limiting factor. The lines making up the small letters are about 1/200 to 1/300 in width and making them any closer together, the ink bleeds and closes the spaces in the e's and o'e for example. I have received a good suggestion from a friend regards paper and will report results after a little experimentation.

I'll post a photo of the delivered envelope when I get it.
 

Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1645
  • Karma: 118
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2019, 11:47:31 AM »
I've just received a photo of the delivered envelope. It arrived at its destination in the normal amount of time, without barcode (front or back) or second cancellation. Yay. The local USPS must be friendly (or at least tolerant of) towards this small size envelope. I think the extra postage may help.
Still have a couple in the mail somewhere, hopefully that will make to the recipients.

I think I'll do a couple more.

Offline Cyril Jayant

  • Freshman Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
    • https://twitter.com/jaycyril
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2019, 08:06:59 AM »
Beautiful and amazing how they were written.

I have a small collection of old vintage envelop. Among them I have several mini size ones like them.
None of them have any of Spencerian or beautiful writing. They were the one done by the normal folks in that period. But they are nice and unique.

Offline Erica McPhee

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5447
  • Karma: 305
  • Be brave. Love life!
    • View Profile
    • Dasherie Magazine
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2019, 10:06:27 AM »
What fun!!! And they are so elegant and beautiful! We *must* do a tiny exchange next year.

And I agree - someone at the post office was a bit passive aggressive with that cancellation. Kind of like, "I'll show you how much I liked having to hand cancel this envelope and ruin your beautiful mail."  >:( :(
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline AAAndrew

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 967
  • Karma: 104
    • View Profile
    • The Steel Pen Blog
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2019, 12:11:20 PM »
This is quite interesting. Now I'm going to have to try some tiny writing.

As for the original letter, by 1850 steel pens were quite common. It was the quills which were becoming rarer. Most pens at that point were British imports, with the Gillott 303 as the most popular.  Perry pens were also popular. The stiffer, wider pens (like the oval point, and stub nibs) weren't popular, or even produced, until later in the century.

The seal on the back was called a wafer. The early ones were created out of a "batter of fine wheaten flour, the gluten of which is of an adhesive nature, mixed with white of egg, isinglass, and coloring agents..." (from Western Writing Implements by Michael Finlay)  This mixture was heated and pressed into a sheet, which, when dry, was cut into circles, and other shapes. It was licked and helped hold the paper together. They were sold in boxes in various colors, and shapes.

Wafers fell out of favor around 1840 when the gummed envelop came into fashion, about the same time as postage stamps. Some less complex wafers, which were really just gummed pieces of paper and which imitated earlier wax seals were still sold. That may be what you have, but it could be an earlier form, it's hard to tell from the photo.

Being me, I would love to know what pen you're using for writing this small, @AnasaziWrites .
Check out my steel pen history blog
https://thesteelpen.com/

Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1645
  • Karma: 118
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2019, 03:56:23 PM »
This is quite interesting. Now I'm going to have to try some tiny writing.
@AAAndrew
Wonderful. Would love to see it

Quote
As for the original letter, by 1850 steel pens were quite common. It was the quills which were becoming rarer. Most pens at that point were British imports, with the Gillott 303 as the most popular.  Perry pens were also popular. The stiffer, wider pens (like the oval point, and stub nibs) weren't popular, or even produced, until later in the century.

The seal on the back was called a wafer. The early ones were created out of a "batter of fine wheaten flour, the gluten of which is of an adhesive nature, mixed with white of egg, isinglass, and coloring agents..." (from Western Writing Implements by Michael Finlay)  This mixture was heated and pressed into a sheet, which, when dry, was cut into circles, and other shapes. It was licked and helped hold the paper together. They were sold in boxes in various colors, and shapes.

Wafers fell out of favor around 1840 when the gummed envelop came into fashion, about the same time as postage stamps. Some less complex wafers, which were really just gummed pieces of paper and which imitated earlier wax seals were still sold. That may be what you have, but it could be an earlier form, it's hard to tell from the photo.

That's very interesting about wafers. The envelope itself is just a folded piece of paper, no gum, so perhaps it's the earlier form you mention. It definitely is three dimensional, as opposed to a printed design and is quite complex for such a little thing. I'll have to look into this area. Fascinating.

Quote
Being me, I would love to know what pen you're using for writing this small
For 1/32 x-ht, a vintage Gillott 170 works best overall. A G303 is not sharp enough, nor is a Gillott 604ef, both of which I use for 1/18 and larger.  I've tried an Esterbrook 355, which might be a little sharper, but it's a little too flexible. Less than 1/32, a Gillott 659 Crow quill does nicely and has the needed stiffness. It doesn't lay down much ink, though, so the lettering is somewhat faint. I may try sumi ink to get blacker letters. All the letters so far have been done with McCaffery's Penman'sBlack ink (not the gloss kind--that stuff takes forever to dry).

Offline Bianca M

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1106
  • Karma: 56
  • Tempus Fugit
    • View Profile
    • Bianca Mascorro Calligraphy & Art
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2019, 07:17:32 PM »
Wow!!!  I love that these even smaller pieces are making it through.  @Erica McPhee, I love the tiny mail exchange idea!

Offline AAAndrew

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 967
  • Karma: 104
    • View Profile
    • The Steel Pen Blog
Re: Writing Small
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2019, 02:54:09 PM »
As evidence for my claim that in 1850 steel pens were common, I present a few ads from one day's issue of the New York Evening Post in 1844.

First ad for Lambert & Lane, Stationers.
Perry, Gillott, Windle and Mosely were british Manufacturers.
Wright was an American manufacturer, made in NYC but also sold widely
Hayden was an American manufacturer based in western Massachusetts (my article on Josiah Hayden comes out this month in the latest issue of The Pennant, from the Pen Collectors of America /plug)

Second Ad
Charles Cushing Wright was a famous engraver, sculptor of medallions and die sinks to make coins, who also made steel pens for a short time. (and will be the subject of my next article coming out early next year)  His partner, J. C. Barnet, was a publisher (co-published the newspaper "The Age"), an entrepreneur and eventually became the treasurer of the Burton Theater, the first high-class theater on Broadway.

Third ad
A set of ads for Gillott pens from their American distributor, Henry Jessop. Also an ad for a new shipment of Russian quills to David Felt. Russia was one of the top producers of quills, along with Holland and Germany. And the uppermost ad is for Levi Brown's gold pens. Levi Brown was the first commercial producer of gold pens tipped with the new process ensuring the iridium tips stayed on.

For the last ad, I wanted to show that it was not just New York City where you could find steel pens. This is from 1839 in Kentucky, still considered, to some degree, the wild west. Louisville had only become an incorporated town 11 years earlier, and the wild forests came right up to the city limits. It was really only a city because of early river boat trade along the Ohio River. It had a population of less than 10,000 people, yet, you could buy steel pens from Perry, and Gillott, including Perry's India Rubber pens, as well as pens made by Charles Atwood, an early American pen pioneer from New England. You could use these pens with the famous ink from England, Stephens' Writing Fluid.

So, it's not at all far-fetched to see steel pens being used in 1850. It would have been more unusual to see quills still being used. It was mainly folks way out away from towns, as well as very old-fashioned establishments where you still found them. (But even the Bank of England was starting to transition over to steel pens by this point)

Thus, endeth the lesson.

 
Check out my steel pen history blog
https://thesteelpen.com/