Quill Books before print mediamediamediamediamediamedia
choosing a writing support
making quires and sheets
preparing the page
copying the text
correcting the text
decorating the book
binding the book
using the book
> Choosing a Writing Support > Wax tablet


This clever device from Antiquity provided the user with a layer of wax on a wooden frame to capture his thoughts. "With a little pressure from the stylus, words were etched into the wax. They could easily be wiped away again, so the device could be reused." A little pressure from the stylus would create ideas, which could subsequently be wiped again.
The item seen here is special. Not only is it a rare example of a surviving tablet, one from the third century no less, but it still holds the last notes taken on the device. The tablet has become a time capsule that shows us what the last user was working on, over 1500 years ago. The texts are someone’s schoolwork: the classroom was a place where wax tablets were used on a daily basis, at least up until the fourteenth century.