What looks at first glance like a bespoke Zippo lighter is Charles Dickens’s portable ink pot. It was given to the young author in 1833 by his friend, and later biographer, John Forster. Though Dickens lived and wrote well into the age of commercially produced metal pens, he chose to write with goose quills. Equipped with prepared quills and this pocket-sized ink pot, he could, and did, write almost anywhere.
Ink pot owned by Charles Dickens (1812–1870), ca. 1833. Metal in wooden frame, 5.5 x 4.5 cm. MA 6061. Gift of Chauncey D. Stillman, 1971.