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Penmanship - A lost art

  1. Jan 14, 2009 #1
    I was looking at Kelly Johnsons flight log photos online:


    I've also noticed professor Anderson (of the Anderson Aeroynamic Book series), also has amazing Penmanship.

    So does my grandmother.

    Pretty much all the old timmers do.

    Meanwhile, I scribble mess unless I'm turning in homework or an exam, in which case I write cleanly.

    My bank statements are a joke...:rolleyes:

    I think I need to stop being lazy and write nicer.

    My log is not nearly as nice...:rolleyes:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2009 #2


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    I never wrote in a nice or aesthetically pleasing way. I just write or scribble as fast as possible in order to catch my thoughts.

    I find writing to be frustratingly slow.
  4. Jan 14, 2009 #3
    My problem with typing is that I usually type two words at once. So as I'm typing one word I'm thinking about the next word and the two become convoluted. For example I might do somethilke like this.
  5. Jan 14, 2009 #4
    Well, I don't think that age is the entire factor here.

    You will tend to notice that doctors (any age) have particularly illegible handwriting.
  6. Jan 14, 2009 #5


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    Cyrus, that older log looks like it was written in the same block style that draftsmen and engineers used to be taught (are they still, now that everyone uses CAD?). My dad, a retired civil engineer, writes that exact same way. Was Kelly Johnson a draftsman, or an engineer?
  7. Jan 14, 2009 #6
    Penmanship was much better when people actually wrote letters to each other.
  8. Jan 14, 2009 #7
    Old school engineer from the 30s-80s.

    No one's taught how to draft anymore in engineering.
  9. Jan 14, 2009 #8
    My writing is something of a cross between print and my own bastardized form of cursive. Serves me well, but not my readers.
  10. Jan 14, 2009 #9
    Also, my dad took a lot of engineering and drafting courses and so uses some form of block letters, but they aren't near as nice as those in the OP. Then again hes only 51.
  11. Jan 15, 2009 #10
    I tend to agree... they don't teach penmanship well. My stepson (now in fourth grade) writes all his letters and numbers incorrectly. He say he is writing a simple 1. He tends to push up on the page, rather than pull down. This carries over to all his letters and numbers. For an "o" he starts at the bottom of the letter and makes the loop... not the top.

    Perhaps it was his prior school district (he was in a school that serve a low-income zone)... but I tend to be a bit skeptical of many academic standards lately. Now that he's with us, he's actually in one of the highest income schools in our area (a public school that is massively subsidized by private donations due to the neighborhood it serves). But in this district, there's still "standards" that disturb me. For instance, on his spelling tests he isn't forced to actually do any written-out spelling himself... the test are multiple choice!

    Maybe you could argue that in the age of computers, typing and recognition are all that matters (because of spelling and grammar checking programs)... but I don't agree. It carries over to things like the multiplication table and long division (why learn it if you can have a calculator do it? For that matter, why even know any calculus if you can have Maple or Mathematica do it?). There's something about performing a number of more tedious calculations that can eventually lead to some recognition of the meaning of the process (especially if you return to the topic later with some other topics under your belt).

    The basic skills are essential. Let's take homework... for homework (and in-class tasks), my stepson doesn't use a computer (except in the rare case of projects). Often his writing is completely illegible, which leads to him losing points because the teacher can't read his answer. Or, because of carelessness, he loses points because copying the word from the reading assignment takes too long (or isn't emphasized)... so when the correct answer is "habitat." he'll lose some credit because he feels ok writing "habetat"). Consistency is lacking.

    There's a balance to be stuck between the basic "readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmatik" of my grandparents (some of whom only had a 5th & 8th grade educations) and some of the higher level subjects and tacks. I think that for some students (perhaps because of their schools) this balance is hard to achieve.

    That's my rant.:biggrin:

    Note however: my grandpa's handwriting was atrocious EXCEPT when he was keeping logs that related to the production and expenses of the farm.... might also be the case here.
  12. Jan 15, 2009 #11


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    My printing is good because I am anal. If I try to write in cursive it goes horribly worng. I have been printing for as long as I can remember.
  13. Jan 15, 2009 #12


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    I tend to print as well. I don't like messy handwriting.
  14. Jan 15, 2009 #13


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    No one in the US perhaps. I learned to draft by hand, just a little over a decade ago.
  15. Jan 15, 2009 #14

    Chi Meson

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    that is teh main facto pple get good at wat they do alot now its txting with thums lol

    edit: yes, that was pathetic ironic humor.
  16. Jan 15, 2009 #15
    I was stubborn when I was taught to write, and so, write from the bottom up.
  17. Jan 15, 2009 #16


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    I think with biros its a lot harder to write neatly since the ink that comes out is a lot thinner and more inconsistent than that of a fountain pen and the biro does not move as smoothly over the paper. They should be banned.
  18. Jan 15, 2009 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    My cursive writing has been bad since grammer school but the internet has killed what little skill I had. If I do have to write something now it feels strange.
  19. Jan 15, 2009 #18


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    My cursive fell apart during engineering school - note-taking did that. During that same time, though, my printing got WAY better thanks to drafting classes. I still print very neatly.
  20. Jan 15, 2009 #19


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    My writing had degraded over the years, mostly because I type very fast, and was impatient at how slow handwriting was.

    But when I got my EMT certification recently, and started working shifts (I have a regular day job), I had to clean up my writing so that others could read my PCRs (patient care reports). They end up at the hospital, or worse yet in court, where you darn well better be clear about what you are writing.

    My handwriting is quite a bit better now....
  21. Jan 16, 2009 #20
    If more than a year has passed since I wrote something I can not tell you what it says. I have notes that I can't even tell you what class I took them in. I have notes that I can not tell you what subject the class was that I took them in. I have notes that if you were given a multiple choice test consisting of A. These are notes from a Calculus class. B. These notes are from a biology class C. These notes are from a Spanish class or D. These notes are from leaving a magic marker and notebook in a dryer. The results would be 33% A, 33% B 33% C and 33%D. In other words 50-50. I have really bad handwriting. I think the last good grade I got in penmanship was in 1st Grade. Miss Bennett. I had such a crush on Miss Bennett, but I ramble. Go cardinals.
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