Drafting Pens and Pencils -- Resources



The items in this object group represent only a tiny fraction of the writing implements held by the National Museum of American History. Particularly extensive collections are found in the Divisions of Home and Community Life, Culture and the Arts, Work and Industry, Political History, Medicine and Science, and Armed Forces History. Catalogs from manufacturers and distributors are part of the trade literature collections of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

Additionally, these museum databases include pens, pencils, and related objects among their collections of drawing instruments:

Collectors of pens and pencils also have a strong web presence. Notable sites include:

Further Reading

Booker, Peter Jeffrey. A History of Engineering Drawing. London: Chatto & Windus, 1963. Discusses the techniques utilized with pens and pencils.

Hambly, Maya. Drawing Instruments, 1580–1980. London: Sotheby's Publications, 1988. Thorough and richly illustrated treatment of a full range of instruments.

———.Drawing Instruments: Their History, Purpose and Use for Architectural Drawings. Applied Research of Cambridge Limited, 1982. Catalogue for an exhibit at the British Architectural Library that was inspired by W. F. Stanley's treatise.

Marzio, Peter C. The Art Crusade: An Analysis of American Drawing Manuals, 1820–1860. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1976. Explains how Americans were trained to use their pens, pencils, and crayons to make technical and artistic drawings.

Petroski, Henry. The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. New York: Knopf, 1992. Classic study of this writing implement.

Scott-Scott, Michael. Drawing Instruments. Shire Publications Ltd., 1986. Slender but informative discussion of a variety of drawing instruments.

Simms, Frederick Walter. A Treatise on the Principal Mathematical and Drawing Instruments Employed by the Engineer, Architect, and Surveyor. 3rd ed. London: John Weale, 1847. Discusses drawing instruments, including pens, and how they were used.

Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Doodles, Drafts, and Designs: Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian. http://www.sil.si.edu/exhibitions/doodles/introduction.htm. Online exhibition showing the variety of creations prepared with pens, pencils, and other drawing instruments.

Stanley, William Ford. Mathematical Drawing and Measuring Instruments. 6th ed. London: E. & F. N. Spon, 1888. Treatise on the manufacture and operation of various instruments and drawing tools.