Quill Pens

The Copp family used these quill pens in their home in Stonington, Connecticut during the 18th and 19th century. Quill pens were generally made from the five outer feathers of a goose or swan’s wing. The end of the feather was shaped to a point, with the hollow shaft of the feather serving as an ink reservoir when dipped in an inkwell. Quill pens served as a primary writing instrument prior to the mass production of dip pens around 1820.
The Copp Collection contains a variety of household objects that the Copp family of Connecticut used from around 1700 until the mid-1800s. Part of the Puritan Great Migration from England to Boston, the family eventually made their home in New London County, Connecticut, where their textiles, clothes, utensils, ceramics, books, bibles, and letters provide a vivid picture of daily life. More of the collection from the Division of Home and Community Life can be viewed by searching accession number 28810.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Physical Description
feather, quill (pen material)
overall- small board: 6 in x 4 in; 15.24 cm x 10.16 cm
overall-large board: 7 1/2 in x 4 in; 19.05 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Domestic Furnishings
Copp Collection
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Copp Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of John Brenton Copp
Additional Media

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