Quill Pen- Made from a primary flight feather of any large bird, usually a goose or turkey, but also a swan, crow, peacock, etc. The feather is soaked in water, cured (hardened) in hot sand, a small slit is made for the middle of the nib, and the quill is cut to form a pen. Some scribes prefer to omit curing and store the cut quills in water always.
The direct ancestor of the quill was the reed pen cut to a broad edge. Reeds wrote beautifully on papyrus, but as this began to be replaced by parchment around the 6th century A.D., the sharp, crisp quality of a quill better suited the silky smooth surface of the skin. Also, feathers were more plentiful in Europe than were the reeds used by Mediterranean scribes. As paper largely replaced parchment in Europe in the late 15th century, the quill remained. It was not until the flexible steel nib was developed in the 1830s that the quill began to die out as the Western World's writing tool. Nonetheless, many scribes today favor the quill for its incomparably crisp strokes and hairlines as well as its sensitive balance of strength and flexibility in writing, especially on parchment. (Rose Folsum)