Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Anyone for Tennis?

Nibs and pens were and still are made to commemorate or honour events, buildings, regimes, royals. There are nibs inscribed “Penna Gloria”, “Augusta” and “Vittoria”(from Italy's Fascist era), and nibs with royal or famous persons’ portraits carved on them, such as “Olga”, “Carl I”, “Schiller”, “Regina Margerita” and Princess Sofia (in Greek lettering). A delectable collection of exquisite nibs is exhibited in the Birmingham Pen Museum and at the 2009 London Writing Equipment show.

Among them an interesting novelty: a nib made to commemorate the invention of lawn tennis. Lawn tennis was invented by T.H. Gemm and J.B.A. Perera in Birmingham in 1865. Players used air filled rubber balls, which were imported from Germany and which bounced much better than cloth balls. The first lawn tennis club was formed in Leamington Spa, England in 1872 and the first tennis championships took place in Wimbledon in 1877.

The Lawn Tennis pen was made around 1868 probably by G.W. Hughes and features a tennis racket which fits beautifully in the nib’s shape.

Source: London Writing Equipment Show, 4 Oct. 2009; Roberto Morassi, “Her Nibs”, Journal of the Writing Equipment Society, no. 74, Winter 2005.


  1. Very interesting! Have you seen that Wimbledon how has an offcial poet?


  2. Just checked out your link. Poet of Wimbledon, that's a first!