Written Communication: History and Evolution

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Approximately 5,000 years ago people were communicating via marks inscribed on clay tablets in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), and more than 2,000 years ago, on paper in China. The next great leap was when the printing press was invented in Germany. This paved the way for printed books, newspapers and magazines. Postal services date back to ancient times. The first postage stamp is known as the Penny Black. It was issued in 1840 in the United Kingdom, as a part of postage reforms. It was introduced to make sending letters affordable to all. Early pens had to be dipped in ink or filled with ink. They eventually leaked or dried up. American John J. Loud, in the 1880s, developed an early version of the ballpoint pen which has ink inside it. Frenchman Louis Braille, when he was a student and was blind, he encountered a way of writing messages with raised dots. It was used by soldiers to communicate at night. He later improved the system and published it in 1829. It is known as Braille and is still used today.

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