What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Style and Stylus

Posted by Dirck on 24 August, 2011

I was letting my imagination wander a little this morning, constructing in the air the pen and book shop to be opened the moment vast piles of money appear in my life, and part of the exercise was inventing a name.  I kept trying various goofy clever puns and clenches involving “Stylo(something)”, and the same objection came up for each of them: an endless parade of slightly vacant young women wondering, in a slightly confrontational manner, why a sort with style in the name doesn’t carry handbags and dark glasses.

Which led, as unfettered though so often does, in a different direction entirely.  Is there an etymological connection between “stylus” and “style”, and thus between pens and over-priced fashion accessories? 

…and as I write that, I realize that in a certain part of the pen market the connection is obvious.  That aside, I had a quick look about these Inter-Webs and found that the two words do both arise from a latin root which can mean “stake”, “writing implement” and “mode of written expression,” the last of which nicely covers another use of “style.”

Funnily enough, the “y”  in style is a late amendment, imported to make the word seem more classical, more of a recent Greek import than an evolution of Latin via mediæval French.  There is thus also a connection between pens, clothes, and turn-stiles, and someone whose son didn’t rouse him at 3:30am could probably make a very clever joke out that or possibly tying oneself the the stake of fashion.  I’m not that guy, today.  The fact that style in the sense of dress and stylus as a regular usage in English appear in the early 1800s suggested the vaguely Jane Austen-ish title for this entry, which gives a sense of how well I’m functioning today.

Today’s stylish stylus: Waterman Crusader Taperite
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Violet Pensée


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