Whenever the Write at Home team are on the road at different retail events we always meet people who know that stationery is an important part of their lives and those who have yet to be convinced. Among both groups there will be customers who pick up one of the notebooks that we sell, feel it in their hands, open it to see the quality of the paper, imagine what they might use it for and then either buy it or put it back with a thoughtful look on their face. Little do they realise that they have just held the latest edition of an instrument that helped change society.
An article in the October edition of BBC History highlights the importance of notebooks in changing scientific and medical thought. The article looked at a project that is being carried out by Cambridge University and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin to investigate how notebooks were used between the 15th and 17th centuries. It is easy to forget that at this time paper was becoming cheaper to make and used more widely and so more people could disseminate more information more quickly. The project will look at naturalist’s fieldbooks, physician’s casebooks, traveller’s memoirs and household journals to see how information was spread and used.
As we live through the current technological revolution of smart phones and tablets it may be tempting to think that the notebook has had its day. However at a recent market a teenage girl bought one of the Life Books from Organised Mum that we sell, to help her plan her schoolwork. Her grandparents then asked why she had bought it when she already had a smart phone that could be used to do the same job.
“Because we are not allowed mobile phones at school.” was the reply. It seems that the humble notebook still has a place in today’s revolution.