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About Steel Pens

It's All About the Downstroke


If you are interested in the "penmanship" aspect of writing, and especially cursive writing, you owe it to yourself to give the humble flexible steel pen a try. Writing cursive, whether Spencerian, Palmer, or some other method, was not just a stylistic or aesthetic choice; rather, it was also the result of the mechanics of the quill, which eventually evolved into the flexible steel pen.


The steel pen's springy, shock-absorbing, one-directional quality almost forces you to write cursive; its action lies somewhere between a pencil and a paint brush. Have you ever tried to up-stroke a paint brush (i.e. "push" the brush)? It's impossible - and like a brush, the steel pen's emphasis is on the downstroke. It keeps things simple, with the downstroke responsible for forming the strongest parts of the letter, while the delicate upstroke gets the pen-tip in position for the start of the next letter. That's why the downstrokes are thick and strong while the upstrokes are thin and weak. This strong-weak balance of movement also forms the rhythm so necessary to consistent handwriting.


Still, steel pen practice can improve your cursive with pencils, ball points, fountain pens and even your finger - write with enough emphasis on the downstroke, and it will become automatic, and you will find yourself driving your strokes from the arm rather than the fingers. So, if you want to improve your cursive handwriting quickly (in months rather than years or never), first learn to write fast with a steel pen...then move on to ball points, gels and fountain pens.


History of the Steel Pen

coming soon!