Lovers of fine writing implements always know the Caran d'Ache name. The company is over a hundred years old and has been creating gorgeous artistic pens and pencils for the world since its inception. Owning one of their exceptional and elite instruments is the goal of many writers and wealthy elite alike. Something about having the right tool for the job makes any written work more enjoyable. One look at their designs and you'll understand why they have been so popular for the last century plus.
History of Writing 101: Overview
The art of writing has been around for thousands of years and was once the exclusive purview of the clergy and royalty. The ability to record and repeat exact thoughts, counts, laws, and more was considered a necessarily limited skill. The opportunity to collect memories and pass them down has always been a high priority for human survival and cultural evolution. The people who controlled the writing could control and create history by what they wrote. Merchants became part of the elite writers as a way to keep track of their stock and profits. This advance in writing meant that losses could be more easily accounted for, and taxes collected correctly. As we grew into our modern permutations, humans saw the value of the written word increase ever more rapidly. Still, it was considered similar to a private club; not just anyone was allowed to obtain the secrets of reading and making permanent words to pass along.
Women's literacy was particularly hard won. In the middle ages, male scholars sometimes even believed women weren't capable of learning letters. Even those rare women who were taught to read were still not typically shown how to write letters. Almost all women went their entire lives without holding a book or quill pen, according to this article. In many places, it was considered blasphemous to show a woman how to write. Doing so created unheard of equality of education, and that was frowned on in early patriarchal society. Refusing a person the ability to understand things like history and the written word has always been a powerful tool for oppression. Controlling people is easier if they know little beyond what they are told and permitted to do. Without writing, thoughts and ideas can travel no further than a voice can carry them. If you've ever played the 'telephone' game as a child, you understand how quickly a simple concept becomes a muddled mess when it's repeated many times over.
Though there were not many prohibitions before the 1830s, it became illegal to teach slaves in America how to read and write, according to this. There were even high fines (for that era) if you were caught showing slaves this form of education. The slaves themselves could be savagely beaten or even killed for learning beyond what was legal for them to know. It kept communications to the spoken word and denied them access to a broader world beyond their servitude. The importance of writing cannot be overstated. Holding a fine pen in your hand isn't just a status symbol, it is a history of incredible learning, a powerful tool of cultural direction and a chance to use a freedom your ancestors fought, and sometimes died horribly to give you. This is especially true for women and American ethnic peoples, but even most men would not know more than how to count and add a small amount of money if it weren't for the suffering of thousands who came before.
Why You Need a Fine Pen
Owning an outrageously beautiful and finely wrought pen like the Gotica shows a deeper understanding of the power inherent in recorded words. Signing documents with an exceptional instrument adds weight and gravity to the action. It shows your class and the value you place in your own words and education. Choosing a world-class pen isn't a simple act of vanity. Sure, it shows style and class, but there's so much more to luxury pens and their owners beneath the surface.
Caran d'Ache History
In 1915 Arnold Schweitzer purchased the Ecridor Pencil Factory. By 1924, he'd renamed his company Caran d'Ache. The name was a careful choice borrowed from French satiric political cartoonist Emmanuel Poiré. He took the name from the Russian word for a pencil карандаш (karandash). As Shakespeare points out so poignantly, "What's in a name?" The irony of Juliette's dismissal is that the name is, in fact, vital. The inventor Carl Schmid created one of the first mechanical pencils in 1929 for Caran d'Ache. The trademark they filed for it is a part of writing history. It wasn't until relatively recently, 1969, that they released the 849, a metal ballpoint pen. The company has been a part of writing history since its beginning, and that gives their exquisite creations weight.
The Caran d'Ache Gotica was first released in China back in 2006. Limited to only 1140 pieces, the number represents the era that inspired the look of this incredible pen. The fleur de lis and rosettes are a representation of the gothic architecture that inspired this opulent creation. Subtle design elements show the cathedral window's influence on gothic architecture and art. Caran d'Ache chose rhodium-coated silver for the six-sided body of this unique implement. Like gold, diamonds, salt, and pepper, silver was once considered the most expensive and desirable substance on earth. The cool gleam of shining silver draws the eye and reminds us of the value we place in beauty. Everything about this pen speaks of an earlier elegance, but the hidden internal mechanisms are utterly modern in make. This aesthetically and technologically incredible pen is tipped with an 18ct rhodium-coated hallmarked gold nib for the best writing experience a writer could ask for.
In some ways, choosing a pen is an act of revolutionary thought. A great writing instrument should let you feel the weight and vitality of the history behind it. In an era when children are being taught to give up their pencils and type in emojis, the art and saga of creating words with your own hand is more important than ever. Holding the Caran d'Ache Gotica in your fingers gives an unequaled sense of the beauty and import of words.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker