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Pen Trivia

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Question: A pen by Thomas Edison is still used today. What is its purpose?

Answer: The first safe electric motor driven office appliance produced and sold in the United States was an electric pen, part of a complete outfit for duplicating handwritten documents and drawings. Thomas Edison filed a patent for his “Stencil-Pen” in 1876. The Stencil-pen was a commercial failure in its intended use of print duplication.

The invention received a reincarnation in 1891. Edison’s Stencil-Pen became a launching point for a newly defined industry. With Samuel O’Reilly’s modification to the inventions’ original design, the art of tattoos received a new boost in availability. O’Reilly expanded on Edison’s design, to allow the Stencil-pen to serve as a tool–injecting ink under skin instead of into paper.

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