Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Write Stuff-- Pen And Pencil

PEN AND PENCIL ---Nostalgic Snippets.

The Parker Pen: The Parker Pen was founded in 1891 by George Safford Parker in Wisconsin, USA. It was almost number one in world-wide writing instruments sales before the development of the ballpoint pen. In 1931 Parker created an ink called ‘Quink’ which was a quick drying ink which eliminated the need for a blotting paper. The Parker Pen was frequently selected and was the favourite of many famous signatories when important international documents had to be signed.

When the Company established a showroom and service centre in China in December 1980, some 4,000 Chinese flocked to the opening—not to buy pens but to get their trustworthy old Parker pens repaired. It seems that the pens which were sold in China before the Chinese Revolution in 1949, are considered family heirlooms and are treated and preserved as such with great care. In the past, the Company says, some Chinese bandits demanded Parker pens as ransom for their victims. It is also said that a Chinese soldier in the Second World War who was awarded his nation’s highest award for bravery, opted for a Parker pen, instead of a gold medal.

Ratnam Pen from Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh : Great Indian freedom fighters like Gandhiji, Rajaji and Babu Rajendra Prasad, well-known journalists like Kasturi Ranga Iyengar of the Hindu and Ramanath Goenka of the Indian Express had one thing in common: They used pens popular as ‘Ratnam Pen’ supplied from the hometown of Rajahmundry in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Ratnam Pens which became popular as ‘Swadeshi Pens’ during freedom struggle brought laurels to Rajahmundry and to the pen maker K.V.Ratnam. After Gandhiji gave a call to boycott foreign goods, Ratnam, who was till then engaged in making lithographic blocks, met Gandhiji in 1921 and started the manufacture of his own pen. Nyapati Subba Rao who was one of the founders of the Hindu ordered the first Ratnam pen. It was made of silver. His grandson, the junior Subba Rao has confirmed “It is true that the first Ratnam pen was purchased my grandfather. He always used a Ratnam pen. Ratnam pens were made to order by my grandfather and gifted to VIPs visiting Rajahmundry. I was told by my gransfather that Ratnam personally went to Madras and delivered Ratnam pens to Kasturi Ranga Iyengar on several occasions”

. Once Ratnam made a special pen for Gandhiji made in ebonite material and sent it to Gandhiji. On receiving it, Gandhiji wrote from Wardha:

‘Dear Ratnam,
I must thank you for the fountain pen you sent me. I needed it and in my opinion it would be a good substitute for the foreign pen, once put in the bazaar.

Yours sincerely
M.K.Gandhi, 16th July 1935.

Even after independence Ratnam pens attained popularity and remained as status symbols. In the 1950s a Ratnam golden pen cost Rs 55 which was sold for a sum between Rs. 30,000 and Rs.40, 000 in the year 2005. K.V.Narasimhacharyulu and K.V.Ramana used to assist their father in the business. The elder son Narasimhacharyulu went to Germany in 1959, obtained necessary technology for the ballpoint pen and started a ballpoint manufacturing unit in 1959 and continue to run the industry even today.

The Pencil: The standard pencil is 7 inches long and can draw a line 35 miles long, writes at least 45,000 words and survives 17 sharpenings down to a two-inch butt. Yellow is the favourite colour for the casing. Manufacturers of pencil have tried other colours like green, black and blue but they have never sold as well as the yellow pencil.

A standard pencil is made up of 40 different materials. The best graphite comes from Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Mexico and the best clay from Germany. Rubber for the eraser tips comes from Malaysia, wax from Brazil. Virtually all wood used for pencil casings comes from the California aromatic-incensed cedar, found mainly in the High Sierra. Its wood has a straight grain, uniform texture and relative softness which make it ideal not only for precision sawing but for staining and waxing and sharpening.

Parable of a Pencil: A little boy went to a shop and brought a new pencil and came home. When he started sharpening the pencil, it spoke to him in these words: “My little friend, when I was packed in a pencil box in the factory, the pencil maker gave me some advice which I want to share with you. He said:
There are five things very important in life and if you bear in mind these points and fashion your life accordingly, you can always live in harmony:
1. You will be able to achieve great things in life if you allow yourself in the hands of the Holder.
2. You will experience a painful sharpening with a blade or a sharpener now and then. Bear it with a smile. Then only you will be useful.
3. People use you and correct if you write something wrong. Do not get upset that your footprints are erased. That is done in your own interest so that you can write better.
4. The best part of your energy is hidden inside. That comes out only when you are sharpened
5. You will write what your Master wants and not what you want

There is an interesting episode in the Srimad Bhagavatha [11th Canto] narrating how Lord Dattatreya, the foremost Guru, learnt 24 lessons from observing Nature and its phenomena. Similarly how interesting it would be, if we stretch our imagination a bit and draw the following lessons from the parable of the pencil:

1. We are all born, with our intellect covered, to be of service to society. It only requires a Guru to uncover that intellect and expose us.
2. Our achievements and results of our actions are not in our hands but at the hands of Divinity, our Lord and Master.
3. Never get discouraged or frustrated at times of sorrow and distress. These are only stepping obstacles to eventual success.
4. Learn to live in unity amongst diversity..
5. The pencil is a perfect example of globalization for the benefit of society where the whole world can live in harmony and peace, inspite of geographical diversities.

Mindbender: Name the only portable communication equipment that requires no battery or electricity for operation and comes in attractive wooden casements which even ladies find it easy to carry and sometimes even put them in their vanity bags.


Hot From the Press: according to news report published by ‘The Hindu’ in just yesterday’s issue [Bangalore Edition 22nd Sept 2009], the most expensive pen right now in India is the Mont Blanc Skeleton A380 Limited Edition. In solid white gold with diamonds and a handcrafted nib, this pen costs a whopping Rs. 10 lakhs. As the name suggests it is limited to 380 pieces across the globe.

ARTICLE No. 524 --PEN AND PENCIL [Midweek Special]
Created: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 9:17 PM


At March 13, 2015 at 1:12 AM , Blogger Pawan Kumar said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At March 13, 2015 at 1:16 AM , Blogger Pawan Kumar said...

What a great history about parker pen i am really surprise after reading it because i did not know about its history. After reading your blog i will purchased one personalized parker pen . thanks for it


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