000/2233 Three feather quill pens
In June 2014, an exciting discovery was made by a researcher in one of the General Letter Copy Books.
The General Letter Copy books (XI/148/0-454) are a series of volumes of the outgoing business correpsondence of the London house, recording mainly routine business. There are 455 large volumes beginning in 1814. The copies were made using a wet copy process and there are approximately 250 pages in each volume, onto which are pasted up to six pages of flimsy copies on delicate paper. They are a useful resource for an understanding of the Rothschild business.
The quill pens were found in the letter copy book with entries for 25th February 1820 and 9th June 1820. (XI/148/10). They are believed to date from 1820, and still contain traces of ink on the nibs.
A quill pen was typically made from a moulted flight feather (preferably a primary wing-feather) of a large bird. Quills were used for writing with ink before the invention of the dip pen, the metal-nibbed pen, the fountain pen, and the ballpoint pen.