- The Sumerians used a sharpened reed to write in Cuneiform, one of the oldest forms of writing. This reed was used to scratch into soft clay, which would later harden to preserve the writing. Cuneiform literally means "wedge shaped"; the letters came out shaped like a wedge due to the strokes of the sharpened reed on the clay.
- Ancient Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphs. They were the first people to write on a paper-like surface, which they called papyrus and made out of papyrus reeds. They also used reeds as tools of writing by crafting either brushes or pen-like implements out of them and using them to write on papyrus. The reeds measured between 6 and 10 inches long. The Egyptians wet the ends and dipped them in pigment before writing.
- Calligraphy is an ancient Chinese form of writing. The ancient Chinese people used a brush to write in calligraphy, so essentially they painted the letters. They used an ink stone or an ink stick to hold the pigment used to write the characters, and they usually wrote directly onto silk. However, before soft brushes, the ancient Chinese used hard brushes or metal tools to scratch characters into stone, shell or bone.
- The ancient Romans used two main tools for writing. One was a chisel, with which they carved letters into stone. The other was a metal stylus, which Romans used to etch letters into a wax tablet. For official or important letters, they wrote with ink and a metal pen onto a thin wooden board or a scroll of animal skins, but this method was too expensive for everyday writings.