The quill pen was traditionally made from the flight feathers of large birds like geese and swans; Before metal dip pens appeared, quill pens were the best writing instruments available. Even in modern time, quill pen instruments are preferred in calligraphy due to their sharp and flexible stroke that isn't matched even by modern steel pens. Feather shaft works like a small ink reservoir, releasing ink gradually. Hand writing instruments did exist from ancient times, the Egyptians and later on the Romans improved the writing technique after they introduced the quill pen. The quill pen was also used in Judea and Qumran, scientists say that the Dead Sea Scrolls were all written by quill pens.
The strongest quill pen was created if the feather was taken from a living bird, in spring time; and it had to be one of the five large feathers from the left wing. A quill pen made from a left wing feather was best used by a right handed because of the feather's natural curve. Goose feathers were the cheapest and offered good quality but for premium quality, swan, crow, eagle, owl, and hawk feathers were used. In our days people think that the feather was used intact, while in fact, just a small portion remained. Quill pen instruments were the best solution for more than 2000 years, their end came with the apparition of modern pens in the 19th century.
Fine quill pen instruments were used all through the Middle Ages for writing important manuscripts and treaties, in fact the Declaration of Independence was signed using a quill pen. In modern times the quill pen is the symbol of something noble and special, it has the meaning of an artifact more than a writing tool. Today entire collections of quill pens can be found all around Europe and the United States, old institutions with traditions like colleges and state museums usually have them on display to illustrate the evolution of writing tools.
The motto “The pen is mightier than the sword ” is one of the sayings that implies best the role and importance of pen. The quill pen isn't just a museum object, it has become a symbol for all writing activities. If you take a look at editorial festivals, you'll notice that they include the classical quill pen on their commercial banners, this is the ultimate symbol of all writers. The previous motto is not a mere saying, it is the truth that a good writer can make much more that the powerful soldier on the battlefield as writing is more than a weapon, it is something that remains long after the author is gone.