We know that pens and pencils were the only reasonable way to write and create records in 1850, but did you know that at least one manufacturer, Bard, Brothers & Co., advertised that they sold over 500,000 Gold pens every year?
I tend to think that they were stretching the truth just a bit. Their pens were probably popular, but the fact that they were gold plated probably priced them out of 90+ percent of the market. Couple that with the number of people who actually purchased pens in that year and it is easy to spot the enhancement in their advertised claim.
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