How the Ballpoint Pen Changed Handwriting

Ballpoint pen

Recently, Bic launched a campaign to “save handwriting.” Named “Fight for Your Write,” it includes a pledge to “encourage the act of handwriting” in the pledge-taker’s home and community, and emphasizes putting more of the company’s ballpoints into classrooms.

People, especially the younger generations, don’t write in cursive anymore (cursive handwriting isn’t even being taught in some schools). That much is known.

But what caused the decline in cursive handwriting? Is it the pervasive use of computer keyboard (and now smartphone’s texting)? Or is it something else … like the rise of the ballpoint pen:

Sassoon’s analysis of how we’re taught to hold pens makes a much stronger case for the role of the ballpoint in the decline of cursive. She explains that the type of pen grip taught in contemporary grade school is the same grip that’s been used for generations, long before everyone wrote with ballpoints. However, writing with ballpoints and other modern pens requires that they be placed at a greater, more upright angle to the paper—a position that’s generally uncomfortable with a traditional pen hold. Even before computer keyboards turned so many people into carpal-tunnel sufferers, the ballpoint pen was already straining hands and wrists.

 

Source/More: The Atlantic

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