A stylus, plural styli or styluses, is a writing utensil, or a small tool for some other form of marking or shaping, for example in pottery. It can also be a computer accessory that is used to assist in navigating or providing more precision when using touchscreens. It usually refers to a narrow elongated staff, similar to a modern ballpoint pen. Many styluses are heavily curved to be held more easily. Another widely used writing tool is the stylus used by blind users in conjunction with the slate for punching out the dots in Braille.
Styluses were first used by the ancient Mesopotamians in order to write in cuneiform. Egyptians (Middle Kingdom) and the Minoans of Crete (Linear A and Cretan Hieroglyphic) made styluses in various materials: reeds that grew on the sides of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and in marshes and down to Egypt where the Egyptians used styluses from sliced reeds with sharp points; bone and metal styluses were also used. Cuneiform was entirely based on the "wedge-shaped" mark that the end of a cut reed made when pushed into a clay tablet; from Latin cuneus = wedge. The linear writings of Crete in the first half of the second millennium BC which were made on clay tablets that were left to dry in the sun until they became "leather" hard before being incised by the stylus. The linear nature of the writing was also dictated by the use of the stylus.
In Western Europe styluses were widely used until the late Middle Ages. For learning purposes the stylus was gradually replaced by a writing slate. From the mid-14th century improved water-powered paper mills produced large and cheap quantities of paper and the wax tablet and stylus disappeared completely from daily life.
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What are Stylus Pen
Modern day devices, such as phones, can often be used with a stylus to accurately navigate through menus, send messages etc. Today, the term stylus often refers to an input tool usually used with touchscreen-enabled devices, such as Tablet PCs, to accurately navigate interface elements, send messages, etc. This also prevents smearing the screen with oils from one's fingers. Styluses may also be used for handwriting; or for drawing using graphics tablets.