Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies


Registration on the Fountain Pen Network

Dearest Visitor of the little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

Due to the enormous influx of spammers, it is no longer possible to handle valditions in the traditional way. For registrations we therefore kindly and respectfully request you to send an email with your request to our especially created email address. This email address is register at fountainpennetwork dot com. Please include your desired user name, and after validation we will send you a return email containing the validation key, normally wiithin a week.

Thank you very much in advance!
The FPN Admin Team






Photo

Vertical Writing By E.c Mills + An Early Bio. Of Him

cursive vertical writing e.c mills

  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Columba Livia

Columba Livia

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 342 posts

Posted 31 August 2013 - 00:01

From the late 19th century to the 1950s there were several penman's magazines in America. These promoted the art of calligraphy (penmanship) with news, articles, history, instruction, examples of calligraphy and so forth. There is nothing else like them in the world and if you are interested at all in modern calligraphy they are well worth a look. You can find them on archive.org (search for "the penman's art journal", and "the business educator" and/or look on iampeth.org)

 

Edward C. Mills is renowned as one of the most skilled writers of business writing (What Americans know today as "cursive")  there has ever been.

 

Here is an article written by Edward C. Mills, from The Penman's Art Journal November 1896 issue, which considers the merits of vertical writing (Vertical writing was promoted in the late 19th century in America and Europe, however it doesn't seem to have been especially successful in America: almost completely losing out in the long term to slanted business writing):

 

http://archive.org/s...ge/201/mode/1up

 

nCeAarv.jpg

 

EpEG4Hm.jpg

r4cfmNw.png

gk95NlD.png

FsjqzPj.png

 

Edward C. Mills published a series of copy slips of his vertical writing, alas I have been unable to locate a copy. If you have one please do scan it. It'd be extremely interesting to see:

 

yPNn9RO.jpg

^

http://archive.org/s...ge/78/mode/1up/

 

Note that Kelchner, Zaner and Doner were all skilled teachers and calligraphers in their own right.

 

Here is an early bio. and photograph of Edward C. Mills from the same magazine in September 1895:

 

QNiUVTx.jpg

 

http://archive.org/s...ge/199/mode/1up


Edited by Columba Livia, 31 August 2013 - 00:11.


Sponsored Content

#2 The Royal Pen

The Royal Pen

    Me Irish eyes are smiling, for I've found me perfect blue.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 685 posts
  • Location:Dominion of Newfoundland (Newfoundland & Labrador)
  • Flag:

Posted 31 August 2013 - 00:35

This is very interesting indeed.

 

IMHO, vertical handwriting seems a bit forced, as in, strained? I'm not sure how to explain it. It looks nice, but it's distracting to read to a great extent. I could see it being used for titles, on cards, or something else. To each their own though.


Posted Image

#3 gfs2222

gfs2222

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 31 August 2013 - 09:45

Good read :)


Current pens: Parker IM Med Modern nib Esterbrook 9550 XF nib Parker 21 Fine nib Chineese Fuguilong 1001 Med nib 3x Liquid Bold Fountain Pens Med nib

#4 Nanny

Nanny

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 71 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 31 August 2013 - 10:02

Thank you for this post and the fine samples by Mr. Mills. The upright sample is more legible just because the letters become more compressed when the writing is slanted.

This is especially interesting to me as I attended Calvert School in Baltimore, Maryland. Virgil Hillyer wrote the curriculum for the school in the late 19th century. Calvert was the first school to serve homeschooling, and still does. Hillyer is credited with the design of the handwriting method. It is still in use today. When I was there proper handwriting was enforced, and probably still is, as shown in the first sample.

I do not remember being taught arm movement. I have always written with finger movement, supported by the hand. However, the instruction did not stick after I left Calvert, neither did it work for those people that I kept up with after school. The method does not seem compatible with natural movement of hands. Perhaps the whole arm posture would be better for upright handwriting. For what it’s worth I retrained my hand to the slightly slanted italic. 

Calvert writing.png NJB3rdGrade.jpg



#5 kenfraser

kenfraser

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,216 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 31 August 2013 - 11:19

Much as I admire the Business Writing of E C Mills, I don't think that it works well in an upright form. The ligatures are too rounded and the lettering is a bit 'clunky' losing most of its elegance. It does look like an early childish, shoolroom hand.

 

I know that this is very subjective, but I feel that this hybrid form of Italic for example, written with a straight pen and a flexible nib looks more polished and flows better.

It could be written monoline, just as effectively.

 

 

Ken

FORALONGTIME-1.jpg


Edited by caliken, 31 August 2013 - 11:24.


#6 HDoug

HDoug

    First Class Forever

  • FPN Super Moderators

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,826 posts
  • Location:Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  • Flag:

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:34

Interesting. To me, vertical scripts are easier to read. I decided not too long ago that my italic looked better on the page when vertical so I changed it to vertical or nearly so. Now, my older more inclined handwriting doesn't look so bad. Oh well, it was an easy change so maybe I'll change it again. I'll keep it vertical for now and we'll see...

 

Doug



#7 kenfraser

kenfraser

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,216 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 01 September 2013 - 10:23

Interesting. To me, vertical scripts are easier to read. I decided not too long ago that my italic looked better on the page when vertical so I changed it to vertical or nearly so. Now, my older more inclined handwriting doesn't look so bad. Oh well, it was an easy change so maybe I'll change it again. I'll keep it vertical for now and we'll see...

 

Doug

"The Dance of the Pen" produced from the archives of "The Society for Italic Handwriting" is a compilation of many everyday handwriting examples dating back many years.

 

It's interesting to note that many examples are written upright and look none the worse for it. There's a strong school of thought that believes that Italic handwriting originated upright and only developed the slight slope as a natural result of faster writing.

 

My problem with the original post, is that the style doesn't seem to be particularly well-suited to being written vertically and that it isn't very well executed. This is particularly disappointing coming from such an eminent calligrapher.

 

 

Ken


Edited by caliken, 01 September 2013 - 10:33.


#8 Mickey

Mickey

    Contemporary Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,914 posts
  • Location:CA
  • Flag:

Posted 01 September 2013 - 15:09

Much as I admire the Business Writing of E C Mills, I don't think that it works well in an upright form. The ligatures are too rounded and the lettering is a bit 'clunky' losing most of its elegance. It does look like an early childish, shoolroom hand.

 

I know that this is very subjective, but I feel that this hybrid form of Italic for example, written with a straight pen and a flexible nib looks more polished and flows better.

It could be written monoline, just as effectively.

 

 

Ken

FORALONGTIME-1.jpg

I very much agree with your assessment. I also appreciate your example. I recently purchase a flexible fine left oblique FP, and the hand it's dictating to me is very much like your sample. Essentially, I'm writing Spencerian monoline upright with a minimal number of other modifications. (Unlike you, I omit all looped ascenders and descenders.) It makes changing gears (and pens) pretty easy: rotate the nib (to sole the edge) and write upright. It's nice to have such visual confirmation that I'm on the right track.

 

I'm still of a mixed mind regarding the 'a' counter, whether to use the a Spencerian or Copperplate ellipsoid or the italic rounded triangle. I see from your sample that you are similarly conflicted.

 

As usual, thank you for your contribution and perspective.


The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#9 Columba Livia

Columba Livia

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 342 posts

Posted 01 September 2013 - 21:24


I feel that this hybrid form of Italic for example, written with a straight pen and a flexible nib looks more polished and flows better.

 

My personal opinion is that that the writing you present partakes too much of the triangle: it is a hand of acute turns and straight lines which is not as legible to my eyes as more rounded hands based on ellipses and more curved joining strokes. I note that the weighting of the shade of the stem on on B(ut) and S(omething) is top-heavy (i.e the shade is thicker at the top than at the bottom) which I think looks a bit unbalanced. I prefer E. C Mills vertical writing as being more legible and less triangular than the writing which you have put forward.

 

I am not sure what you mean when you say of E. C Mill's piece: "it isn't very well executed" or that it "doesn't seem to be particularly well-suited to being written vertically", since it looks, to me, as well executed as one could hope rapid writing to be. I think an especially practical thing is joining into a, d and o through the middle, since it prevents an abrupt slow-down and sudden change of direction necessitated by joining into them from the outside left.

 

Is it as artistic a hand as the slanted writing, as English roundhand or as Ornamental penmanship and Spencerian? I don't think so, but I do think it is a very practical and legible style.

 

As far as I can see, vertical writing is all right and looks to be a perfectly practical hand should someone choose to practice it. It is in no way inferior to modern Italic handwriting.


Edited by Columba Livia, 01 September 2013 - 21:28.


#10 kenfraser

kenfraser

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,216 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 01 September 2013 - 21:49

 

 

 

 

My personal opinion is that that the writing you present partakes too much of the triangle: it is a hand of acute turns and straight lines which is not as legible to my eyes as more rounded hands based on ellipses and more curved joining strokes. I note that the weighting of the shade of the stem on on B(ut) and S(omething) is top-heavy (i.e the shade is thicker at the top than at the bottom) which I think looks a bit unbalanced. I prefer E. C Mills vertical writing as being more legible and less triangular than the writing which you have put forward.

 

I am not sure what you mean when you say of E. C Mill's piece: "it isn't very well executed" or that it "doesn't seem to be particularly well-suited to being written vertically", since it looks, to me, as well executed as one could hope rapid writing to be. I think an especially practical thing is joining into a, d and o through the middle, since it prevents an abrupt slow-down and sudden change of direction necessitated by joining into them from the outside left.

 

Is it as artistic a hand as the slanted writing, as English roundhand or as Ornamental penmanship and Spencerian? I don't think so, but I do think it is a very practical and legible style.

 

As far as I can see, vertical writing is all right and looks to be a perfectly practical hand should someone choose to practice it. It is in no way inferior to modern Italic handwriting.

I quite like Italic upright and sometimes write it that way by choice, but I'm not sure that Business Writing lend itself to the alteration quite as well. The example by E C Mills appears to be a bit stiff and non-flowing and does look as though he were unused to handling the pen in that way. I know that it's handwriting and, as such, isn't expected to be perfect...but to me it just doesn't look good,  especially as his normal; Business Writing is so exceptional.

 

However, this is very subjective and it's a good thing that we don't all see everything the same way!

 

Your criticisms of my attempt at a flexible-nib hybrid are perfectly valid and I gladly take them on board. It was just an experiment at mixing certain elements.

 

 

Ken


Edited by caliken, 01 September 2013 - 21:54.


#11 Mickey

Mickey

    Contemporary Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,914 posts
  • Location:CA
  • Flag:

Posted 01 September 2013 - 21:58



Is it as artistic a hand as the slanted writing, as English roundhand or as Ornamental penmanship and Spencerian? I don't think so, but I do think it is a very practical and legible style.

 

As far as I can see, vertical writing is all right and looks to be a perfectly practical hand should someone choose to practice it. It is in no way inferior to modern Italic handwriting.

 

My problems with the Mills upright cursive include the loops seeming gratuitous and the angled t-crossings appearing to be nothing more than a weak visual apology for the loops, an ineffective attempt to pull the hand together. As shades or differential stroke weights play no role in the hand, there is no reason why the long verticals (e.g., 'l') should not be retraced. Then the angled t-cross could be omitted without qualm. The hand would be less cluttered and busy.

 

The hand has another conceptual flaw. The ligature angle coupled with the slanted t-crossing draw the eye up and away from the writing (and reading) line. Rather than persuading the eye horizontally, the hand keeps trying to launch the eye up and right. Thus, the elements intended to visually integrate the hand tend toward disintegrating its readability.

 

I would describe it as a not especially successful variant rather than a break-through or innovation as Mills mildly touts it.


The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#12 HDoug

HDoug

    First Class Forever

  • FPN Super Moderators

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,826 posts
  • Location:Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  • Flag:

Posted 02 September 2013 - 00:43

I guess both esthetics and readability are subjective because for me, the vertical writing is much more readable. I note that there was controversy and argument even in its own day so I don't think we will resolve the matter now. I do predict that our discussions will remain civil, however.
 
Cheers,
 
Doug

#13 bsunde

bsunde

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 02 September 2013 - 02:15

Along with Columba Livia and HDoug, I think vertical handwriting is especially legible and practical.  And as far as I can tell, many modern systems are vertical: Sütterlein, French cursive, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and one contemporary American style.  Am I leaving out any?

 

The main problem I have with vertical cursive is an ergonomic one.  It seems to use too much finger action.  If I can get myself to tilt the paper just right so as to use wrist action then it seems harder to move from letter to letter and from word to word.  Does anyone here write regularly in a vertical cursive?  Is it "finger writing"?  Is it comfortable? 

 

Caliken, I like your hybrid style.  It looks very much like the "looped cursive" on page 27-28 in Tom Gourdie's Handwriting for Today.  That has been a model of mine for some time.  

 

bsunde







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: cursive, vertical writing, e.c mills



Sponsored Content




|