A goose feather is a goose feather that was used as a written instrument throughout the 7th — 19th centuries, before the invention of the metal feather. In modern culture is the unspoken symbol of literary creativity and poetry.
Reason for use
A goose feather, unlike the feathers of other common birds (most often domestic birds), is a thick hollow rod with a voluminous porous base, therefore the feather is “uvvatisto”, that is, it is convenient to hold it in your hand while writing . With an inclined cut of the tip of the pen with a knife, the porous inside exposes, which absorbs ink well, which makes it less likely to dip the tip of the pen into the inkwell . The moderately soft tip of the pen retains its shape well when writing, thereby eliminating the need for frequent sharpening. However, in addition to goose feathers, the letter could use the feathers of other birds with hard feathers, namely crow, peacock, turkey, wood grouse or swan.
The appearance of the goose feather was first recorded around 600 AD in Seville  . The reasons for the emergence of such a widely accessible writing instrument were the cheapening and distribution of parchment first, and subsequently paper . When using the pen, the writing style gradually changed, it became uppercase and oblique, lowercase letters appeared (before that, only uppercase letters were used in writing ), and later various italics and handwritten fonts , which appeared thanks to the goose feather       . After the metal pen for the pen was patented in 1803 , the goose feather began to gradually lose its position and, by the end of the 19th century, the pens with a metal pen completely supplanted the short-lived and requiring frequent replacement of goose feathers  . Thus, mankind has been using this writing tool for 1200 years.
Sharpening the tip of a pen with a special knife is called a small eyelet (or a very fine point, a nib )  . Knife for eyeglasses feathers called penknife , but now this name has spread to all pocket knives.
Before opening the pen, it was necessary to undergo preliminary preparatory operations:
- the part of the beard was cut off from the pen in order to make it easier for the writer to take up the rod;
- feather digested in alkali for degreasing. Cooking time was at least 10-15 minutes;
- the boiled and dried feathers were burned and quenched in hot sand with a temperature of no more than 60-65 ° C, after which the tip of the feather was ready to shine.
French calligraphy connoisseur Charles Palyasson (aka Palasson, fr. Charles Paillasson , 1718-1789) in the book The Art of Penmanship. The encyclopedia of the pen-writing methods of C. Pallasson ”  , published in 1783 , gives advice on the correct writing of the pen. According to him, the outer wing feather from the left wing of the goose should be taken, preferably the second, third and fourth edges  , since the feather from the left wing is better placed in the writer's right hand ( left-handers used feathers from the right wing or sharpened right-handed feathers with back side)  . When the pen is penned, a certain sequence of operations should be observed; it is especially important to make a regular pen slot on the tip for ink flow, the so-called crust or splitting . Oschep must be cut at the very beginning and all further operations on the small part should be done in such a way that the chips would be exactly in the middle of the tip. Pallasson especially emphasized that the character of a pen wrist adds a certain uniqueness to the letter (influences the handwriting), therefore it is better to do it yourself  .
At the opening of the feather, the end was cut obliquely from the outside, then half to the opposite, so that a semicircular groove was obtained. The middle of the groove was incised with a sharp penknife for the formation of splitting. The split of the pen could be different - depending on the individual manner of writing the letter and on what letter it was intended for  .
The quill pen was quickly written off - you had to repair it again or turn it upside down. In 1809, the machine was invented to wipe goose feathers, but this invention did not take root in Russia   .
When writing with a goose quill, the blots in the text that appeared appeared corrected with a special scraper  .
People who were good at writing with a quill pen were called scribes (scribes) , they were extremely valued and never left without work (which is also explained by a large percentage of illiterate)  .
The nib was a very important operation, since the quality of handwriting depended on its correct conduct. Many poets and writers did not trust anyone the depth of their feathers. It was even customary to give good feathers. In Pushkin's office, Goethe’s own feather, which he sent as a gift to the great Russian poet, was kept in a rich case . 
For painting, the correct hole and pusher were especially important. For this, there were special, split- blades specially adapted for this purpose. The pen prepared for drawing must have a particularly thin cleavage to enable the creation of fine lines. The choice of the goose feather for the drawing is due to the fact that a sequence of strong and weak pressures made it possible to draw lines of different thickness. The quality of the drawing with a goose quill can be assessed by looking at old book miniatures  .
Since the goose feather was, in its origin, a natural material, it had a number of certain disadvantages.
One of the most basic is the need for frequent sharpening, since the tip of the pen from rubbing against the paper was constantly ground off, emitting a characteristic squeak. Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol in Dead Souls writes:
“The noise from the feathers was great and looked like a few carts with brushwood passing through the forest, littered with a quarter arshin with withered leaves ...  ”
In addition, it was necessary to constantly monitor the correctness of sharpening. If the tip of the pen was too sharp, then a very thin, slightly visible stroke was obtained. When too rounded tip - thick and uneven. Goose feathers also had different softness  .
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin used his feathers at work almost to the very foundation. To date, his two goose feathers, nibbled on top and so short that they can barely be held in the fingers, have survived. One of these feathers is on the desk of A. S. Pushkin in his apartment on the Moika , the second is currently on display at the A. Pushkin State Museum in Moscow  . Ivan Ivanovich Pushchin in his "Notes on Pushkin" recalled:
"... scattered sheets of paper are scattered everywhere, everywhere were bitten, burned pieces of feathers lying around (he always from Lyceum wrote in clumps that you could barely hold in your fingers)"  .
Also, to acquire the writing skills required from students and to properly hold the pen in hand, special techniques were recommended, including bandaging individual fingers and pulling them up to the hands.
When writing with a quill pen, all the lines that were drawn from right to left, from bottom to top, ovals, etc., were difficult, often even in the capable hands of a clerk, often causing ink splashes.
Goose pen could only write on good thick paper. Also from the goose wing only three or four feathers were suitable for writing, as a result of which they had to be saved, cutting them into several parts and sharpening them individually  .
Sale of feathers
Goose feathers were sold in bundles tied with 25 pieces of twine in a bundle. Usually, feathers were not bought in estates, but they used their own feathers, domestic geese  .
- The quill pen is a symbol of writing and poetry.
- Simon Lvovich Lungin together with Ilya Isaakovich Nusinov in 1965 wrote the play “Goose feather”.
- “Old Goose Feathers” is a miniature by Valentin Savvich Pikul , telling about the history of the prevention of war between the Russian Empire and Great Britain. The great merit of this is Russia's ambassador to the UK, Semyon Romanovich Vorontsov. He won the information war against the cabinet headed by William Pitt. And it cost only 250 pounds - the cost of goose feathers.
- The three-ruble coin “The 200th anniversary of the founding of the first Russian National Library, St. Petersburg” from the “Monuments of Russian Architecture” series, released in 1995, also contains a goose feather.
As a symbol
Goose feather is present on the flags:
- flag of Roskomnadzor
- flag of Zainsky district of Tatarstan.
- the flag of the Pushkin rural settlement of the Gulkevichi municipal district of the Krasnodar region.
- flag of Arbat
- flag of the urban settlement of Kurovskoye, Orekhovo-Zuevsky municipal district of the Moscow region.
- the previous flag of the Chudovsky municipal district (1997 - September 30, 2008) of the Novgorod region of the Russian Federation.
- In Czech, Slovak, Slovenian and Serbian, the modern pen for writing (eg ballpoint or gel) is still called pen / pero .
- In many European languages, the word denoting a pen for writing (in English and Dutch pen , in Swedish penna , in Norwegian penn , in Icelandic penni ) comes from the Latin word penna (from Latin - “bird feather”)  .
- In the grave of Leonty Magnitsky , discovered on May 27, 1932, when one of the Moscow metro lines was built, a half-decayed goose feather was found along with the remains of Magnitsky  .
- In Germany of the 1880s , artificial Christmas trees were made from goose feathers painted in green  . The emergence of "feather trees" was one of the Germans' answers to the progressive deforestation of Germany  and, perhaps, due to the fact that it was at this time that the metal feather became popular and completely replaced the goose feathers from writing, while the peasants were able to maintain demand for goose feathers, finding new uses for them.
- Small folding knives are called penknives .
- A shuttlecock for playing badminton is made of 16 goose feathers and a cork head, covered with a thin husky skin.
- Early artillery firing tubes were made using a goose feather rod, which itself was inserted into the seed hole of the breech of the gun.
- In the amateur fishing goose feather is a traditional material for floats, is in demand even in the XXI century, still being found on sale along with modern floats made of synthetic materials.
- Feather (writing accessory)
- A fountain pen
- History of a ballpoint pen
- Ekaterina Koch The History of Writing Instruments // Science and Technology Electronic Library
- Parchment and quill pen Archival copy from October 15, 2013 on the Wayback Machine // Site masteroid.ru
... it turned out that the quill pen and ink are great for writing on parchment. Moreover, if the tip of the pen is specially sharpened, then you can write with inclination and pressure, thickening the stroke or making it thinner. That is, the goose feather allowed to diversify the letter, to give it elegance and greater functionality. The latter is very important, because with the goose feather, capital letters appeared in the alphabets of European languages. In the past, only capital letters were used in writing.
- N. I. Smirnova, T. M. Obraztsova From the history of writing and writing tools (inaccessible link) // Association of Banks of the North-West
- Ball Pen // Mirta Reading Room
- O. Bulanova History of writing materials // Azeris in Russia
- Clarify // Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language : in 4 t. / Ed.-comp. V.I. Dahl . - 2nd ed. - SPb. : M.O. Wolf Typography, 1880–1882.
- art of calligraphy. Encyclopedia of penmanship methods of S. Pallasson. (inaccessible link) . The date of circulation is January 8, 2013. Archived October 15, 2013.
- Feather // Website dedicated to the work of artist Valentin Serov
- I am writing to you, what is more ... // Letter and mail in the Pushkin era
- History of tools for writing // Site “Class! Naya Physics.ru”
- Descendants of the goose feather // Koryazhma Online site, Koryazhma official website (Arkhangelsk region)
- N.V. Gogol. "Dead Souls"
- Writing Pen // Museum of Industrial Culture
- Why do we need letters? // Site "One hundred thousand why.info"
- Feather and inkwell in Russia of the XVII century // OfficeMart.Ru website
- Biography of Magnitsky Leonty Filippovich
- Forbes, Bruce David. Christmas: A Candid History , ( Google Books ), University of California Press, 2007, pp. 121-22, ( ISBN 0-520-25104-0 )
- John, J. A Christmas Compendium , ( Google Books ), Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005, p. 129, ( ISBN 0-8264-8749-1 )
- Cutting Quill Pens from Feathers (English)