Friday, June 27, 2008

Note on 19th century Handwriting

Remember how dazzling the handwriting of French consuls from the early years of the nineteenth century was? Looking at some documents from the 1880s and 1890s today, I found that the handwriting was still elegant. There is one noticeable change though, across the board: the handwriting is more upright. The cursive from the earlier years leans to the right at about a 10-20 degree angle, which looks to have been standard. In the later decades, it is more common to write the letters going straight up and down, like most of us do now. At most, they lean at a 5 degree angle. Also the writing has become cleaner with fewer swirls and loop-de-loops. Why is this? I’m guessing that the use of typewriters had an effect on how people wrote. Note also that early typewriter fonts leaned to the right about five degrees, in imitation of script. This goes back to our earlier comment on technology: our tools work on us too!

4 comments:

hwexpert said...

A lot more people write more upright now days. If as you say technology is at work I can't say but to write in this manner is more self-protective. An indication of the person who wants to know how things will benefit him before making decisions.

Rufus said...

Obviously, I bow to your superior knowledge on this. And that's really interesting. I'm always amazed at how much the experts can tell from handwriting.

A friend said...

this post is very good, i also have a blog on handwriting, i need to post more regularly though, anyways good work

Rufus said...

Thank you. I had no idea it was such a popular topic! I will try to update this at some point with actual pictures of the handwriting that I'm talking about. There are several, very striking things about it.