Housed in an old pen factory in the heart of Birmigham’s Jewellery Quarter, the Pen Museum is one of those rare places which fill me with glee. I am a pen collector. I have been collecting fountain pens since I was 14. My first was a bog standard Inoxcrom which my sister gave me. I’m not sure where she found it.
Nowadays I use an Omas Extra, blood red with a flex nib. Gorgeous instrument.
But I digress. The Pen Museum is the place to go if you’re interested, as I am, in the history of our most useful tool. People underestimate the value of pens, monetary and otherwise. We use pens daily. Most of us use biros, but we do not realise that 3/4 of the world’s pens once came from Birmingham. How did this come to be? When did the biro take over? Why did the fountain pen trade see such a sharp fall in sales so quickly in the mid 20th century?
If these questions keep you up at night, head over to the Pen Museum.
I really do love this museum. It is economical; informative and succinct. And it is a ten minute walk from Birmigham city centre. You get the opportunity to write using a variety of calligraphy pens. Bring a tissue because you will stain your hands.
The second part of the museum, is an incredible collection of glass show cabinets filled with more nibs than you thought could exist. But more than that, there are perfectly preserved machines for cutting nibs. And even more than that, an expert nib-making volunteer talks you through the process of nib making and even helps you make your own nib.
This is a nice diversion from the bustling centre of Birmingham. I’m much more enthused by fountain pens than most of you, I suspect. Regardless of your affinity to writing, this is an important museum housed in a historic building which was once central to communication between people around the world. I loved it, and so too shall you.