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Wrighting and Lighting - Writing and lighting have changed a lot since the 18th century. In addition to paper, which was not as readily available in the 1740s as it is today, writing required a quill pen, a pen knife to keep the point of the quill sharp, ink, and powder or sand, which was used to help soak up excess ink and prevent smudges. Furthermore, much writing took place at night, especially for those who needed to use all available daylight to take care of outdoor chores, so candles were also essential equipment. English officers and their clerks had a lot of writing to do to convey orders, keep ledgers of expenses, maintain log books of activities, and correspond with other army units, so they had to make sure that all of this equipment was available in their kits or quarters, even when they were on the march., Photo image of a ceramic travelling inkwell:Travelling Inkwell, Date: ca. 1700-1799, Site Name: Levering Coffee, Site Number:18BC51/LC206 - Travelling kits known as “penner sets” were popular in the 18th century for anyone who needed to be able to write while on the go. Penner sets could be made of different materials like leather, turned horn, and metal, and they were typically long skinny cases that held an inkwell, quills, a pen knife, and sometimes sand for blotting.  The traveling inkwell shown here is from such a penner set. It would have been enclosed in a case, probably made of leather, which is part of the reason for its somewhat rough appearance and sloppy glazing. Only the interior needed to be fully glazed so that the ceramic body would not absorb the ink, and only the very top of the inkwell would be visible when the penner set was in use.  This inkwell is from the Levering Coffee site, which represents one of  Baltimore’s late 18th- and 19th-century wharves. It was the location of assorted docks, warehouses, and residences, and it is easy to envision someone using a penner set in this area where businesses required a lot of record keeping, and shipping offered an opportunity to send letters., Photo images of a candlestick base and candlestick stem:Candlestick Base, Date: ca. 1750-1770, Site Name: Willow Grove, Site Number:18PR510/20361; Candlestick Stem, Date: ca. 1700-1790, Site Name: Saunders Point, Site Number:18AN39/68 - Candles were essential for lighting in the 18th century, but they also helped people write letters even when the sun was up by serving as a heat source to melt sealing wax. Wax seals were made by heating a piece of wax and pouring it onto a folded letter to close it. Then the sender could add their mark to the wax if they had a seal matrix, such as a ring, watch fob, or stand-alone letter seal with some kind of distinguishing mark on it. In the Outlander series, Jamie Fraser uses his father’s ruby ring for this purpose.  Brass candlesticks are rare finds on colonial sites in Maryland. That’s not because colonists lived crude lives and lacked items that were made for their looks as well as their usefulness. Candlesticks are rare because most of them were probably recycled instead of thrown in the trash heap. Candlesticks are bigger and more durable than  the brass objects that are frequently found by archaeologists, such as buckles, tacks, bridle decorations, and furniture hardware. They are less likely to be lost and more likely to be saved for scrap. Shipping records indicate that Maryland and Virginia regularly sent shipments of old pewter, silver plate, and scrap brass known as “shruff” to Great Britain in the first half of the 18th century. By the second half of the 18th-century, however, such shipments dwindled as silversmiths, brass founders, and jewelers established businesses in the colonies, making it possible to recycle the metal locally., Illustrated examples of  a Penner set broken down and labled, shows the following: 1. Hard leather case, closed for portability, 2. Leather case, open to show inkwell in base., 3. Pen knife to sharpen quills., 4. Quill pen, 5. Shaker for sand, 6. Inkwell., Illustrated example of heated candle wax and a signet ring being used to seal an envelope, caption reads:Sealing wax was heated (top left), smeared onto the folded paper (top right) and then impressed with a seal or signet ring (bottom).