John Jackson.

The theory and practice of handwriting; a practical manual for the guidance of school boards, teachers, and students of the art, with diagrams and illustrations online

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with severe reproof, that he does this incessantly every day from
year's end to year's end, and is forced to do it' because the children,
not by his fault, but through the fault of the oblique writing, after a
few minutes always wrinkle up again like moistened pasteboard.
What the photographs ought to teach is, that the teachers in
obliquely writing classes perform a labour like that of Sisyphus when :
they try to train the children to sit erect,' : that the little ones only pull
themselves up by fits and starts in consequence of the command, and'
almost only during the time it lasts, and that in the home-lessons a'
picture such as that represented presents itself without any resistance.'
We must really also confess to ourselves, quite in confidence, that'
even in the school, when the teacher does not constantly preach " sit'
straight," when, following his principal task, he buries himself in the
subject he is teaching, often enough the photographic pictures present'
themselves. In the taking of them neither the children who wrote
vertically nor those who wrote-obliquely were commanded to sit up-
right, in order that the conditions might resemble as much as possible
those that exist in the daily horne-lessons. That the posture of the
former, therefore, is incomparably better, is obvious from the photo-

It is a matter for congratulation that the theoretical treatises on
Vertical Writing issuing from Middle Franconia have been tested also
in other parts of Germany and caused practical experiments in many

According to informatioryeceived by letter from Principal ScharrF
at Flensburg, in May 1889 the Prussian Government of Schleswig-
Holstein issued through the district School- inspectorate a circular in
which it was required that in writing the -angle of elevation of the
characters should amount to not less than 70. By this enactment the
authorities in Schleswig seem desirous of finally doing away with the'
excessive obliquity of 45 which has hitherto been generally demanded.
At ScharfPs suggestion the teachers of Flensburg went a step further'
still, and after the above-named teacher had first had one class '
writing vertically since December 1 888, in June 1889 introduced
Perpendicular Writing into most of the public schools. At the close'-
of the school year ScharfT declared in a lecture that the bodily posture }
in Perpendicular Writing is an unconstrained one, does not hinder ^
the writing-activity, and is employed by the scholars in their borne- J
lessons also. Perpendicular Writing, he said, by its superior clearness
most perfectly accomplishes the object of writing, and is easiest to-


learn, since the child brings the idea of the perpendicular direction
with him into the school, and since this idea can here at any time
be easily rectified by reference to perpend cular walls, doors, etc.,
which is not the case with any other angle of elevation.

In a writing competition which Scharff instituted between his
scholars and those of an equally high class in another school, it was
found that at least as great rapidity was attained with Perdendicular
Writing as with sloping. His best scholar required twenty-four
minutes to copy a poem, the best among the rivals thirty minutes.

In December 1889 the " Schleswig-Holstein School News" con-
tained the following intelligence from Flensburg : " The enactment of
" the Imperial Government, concerning the less oblique position of
" the letters in writing, has led to an experiment being made here with
" Perpendicular Writing, the results of which up to the present may
" be described as favourable almost beyond expectation."

Vertical Writing has attained prominent importance in Vienna,
where Principal Emmanuel Bayr has adopted it with great success.
His first experiments began in April 1889, with from three to four
children in each of the five lower classes, while the others wrote in
oblique middle-position, in which the prescribed angle of inclination
of the head was marked on the writing-desk.

Afterwards, in the District Teachers' Coherence of the sixth
Vienna Communal District, Bayr delivered a lecture on the result of
his experiments, in which he very decidedly advocated Vertical
Writing, relying on a critique by Herr Toldt, Prof, of Anatomy, which
appeared in print in Bayr's pamphlet entitled " The Vertical Roman
Style of Writing," and contains a critical sifting of the reasons
adduced by authors for and against Perpendicular Writing, with the
result that Vertical Writing is given the preference on account of its
favourable influence on an erect posture of body. Bayr as well as
Toldt, and with them the whole subsequent reform-movement in
Vienna, put forward at the same time the demand that the so-called
German Current Hand should be abandoned and be replaced by the
Roman character. The Middle Franconia Medical Council, as is
well-known, has thought it more desirable not to connect the question
of the Roman character with that of Vertical Writing.

In the autumn of 1889 Bayr began to employ Vertical Writing to
a greater extent in the public school of five classes which is under his
control. Both parallel courses of the first school-year, and also one
parallel course of the second class, wrote vertically, while the other
course wrote obliquely in oblique middle-position (according to
Berlin) as hitherto ; similarly in the third class. In the fourth and
fifth class individual scholars wrote perpendicularly, the others


obliquely in oblique middle-position. Principal Mock, too, began
with Vertical Writing in the first class of his public school, as also
some first classes in the ninth district. At Bayr's request these
experimental classes were repeatedly visited during the past school
year by the most prominent educationalists of Vienna, as well as by
medical authorities, who, according to intelligence received by letter
from Bayr, all without exception were convinced of the hygienic
superiority of Vertical Writing and have since then for the most part
themselves actively led the way in favour of Vertical Writing. For
example, on the 9th of April a commission, consisting of the District
School Inspector Herr Fellner, Principal George Ernst, and several
teachers, inspected Bayr's schools ; in the fifth class the vertically
writing children were required to place their copy-book obliquely and
to write obliquely : " The children now wrote obliquely, and their
" fine posture vanished ; they sat badly ; nothing more was to be
" seen of a straight bodily posture. But when ordered to place their
" copy-book straight again and to write vertically, they sat as straight
"as a rush." On the iQth of April Prof. Fuchs, the Vienna
ophthalmologist, spent two hours in Bayr's school. In the first verti-
cally writing class he found a model posture and clear writing. In
the case of one child the eyes were found to be 32 c.m. distant
from the writing. In the other cases no measurement was made,
because it was seen that the distance was approximately the same.
In the obliquely-writing course of the second school-year Prof. Fuchs
found, in spite of the fact that oblique middle-position was enjoined,
some children writing with straight right-position. The governess, on
being questioned, explained that the children always abandoned the
oblique position in spite of admonitions.

"Prof. Fuchs now observed the chi'dien who had their copy-
" book placed in the way required by Berlin and Remboldt. These
" children sat badly, like the rest." In the fifth class some wrote
vertically, others obliquely. ..." Of those who wrote vertically only
" one out of about twenty sat badly, of the obliquely- writing children
" the majority. . . . At his request the children were colectively asked
" before the writing to sit straight, but only the vertically writing suc-
" ceeded in this." . . . "The following direction was now given to the
" children : ' All write as quickly as you possibly can.' . . . The
" vertically-writing were ready simultaneously with the obliquely-
" writing children, and no difference as regards rapidity was apparent."
Prof. Fuchs found that the perpendicular writing was clearer than
tne oblique. One vertically-writing female pupil attracted his atten-
tion by her bad way of sitting ; it turned out that the child had only
been writing vertically for three days. The results in the other classes


were similar. Prof. Fuchs has meanwhile published in the " New
Free Press" (morning edition, 2oth May, 5th year) an article in favour
of Vertical Writing, in which among other things he says that the
expectation that Sloping Writing in oblique middle position must
allow an equally good bodily posture as Vertical Writing in straight
middle-position has not been fulfilled. " Theoretically the two ways
" of writing should be almost equivalent, and both ought to be capable
"of being produced with equal ease in the correct posture of body.

" But all theory is vague ; of this our recent school-visit ought to
"'have convinced us."

The Middle Franconia Medical Council is well acquainted with the
fact that the author as early as 1880 had declared the oblique middle-
position incompatible in the long run with an erect posture in sitting,
on theoretical grounds, and on account of the necessity of pursuing
the obliquely rising line with the eye. On the loth of May Bayr re-
ceived a visit from Max Gruber, Professor of Hygiene, who delivered
a ccture at the next sitting of the Supreme Council of Health on the
very favourable impression which the posture in Vertical Writing
made upon him, and moved that a commission be entrusted with the
testing of Vertical Writing.

Accordingly Herr Albert, Court Councillor, Professor Gruber, and
Dr. von Wiedersperg from the Supreme Council of Health, and also
Pr.f. E. Fuchs, Prof, von Reuss and Prof. Lorenz were named extra-
oidinary members of this commission, which then on the 4th of June,
vi h the accession of Dr. Immanuel Kusy, Ministerial Councillor and
Sn-iitary Adviser in the Ministry of the Interior, inspected the verti-
cal'y-writing children in Bayr's school and expressed themselves in
terms of praise. Meanwhile, however, as the "Journal of Education
and Instruction" (No. 8, 2nd year) informs us, Herr Albert, Court
Councillor, has already in his lectures declared for Vertical Writing.

In July, Vertical Writing with the Roman character stood on
the order of the day of the tenth Vienna District Teachers' Confer-

The speakers had all taken an opportunity either of testing Vertical
Writing themselves in their own classes or of studying it with Bayr.
Theses were heard at all the conferences in favour of Vertical Writing }
and were accepted, with exception of the tenth district, where the
thesis on Vertical Writing was defeated by 66 votes against 62.

Finally a few more reports received by letter on Bayr's vertically-
writing classes may be mentioned. Principal Bayr says with regard
to the experiments in the fifth class, part of which writes perpendicularly}
part obliquely (with oblique middle-position) : " The governess lays
" great stress on the erect nosture of the children."


At the beginning the children all sit straight. To the specialist,
however, even at the outset, the straight posture of the vertically-
writing children is remarkable ; th'e others lose this fine erect posture
at the first stroke which they make obliquely. After the lapse of three
minutes the sloping writers will fall together (collapse). After ten
minutes they assume the most peculiar posture, after a quarter of an
hour their head is scarcely 12 to I4c.m. distant. The vertically-
writing children remain sitting straight during the whole writing lesson,
and in as good a posture as at the beginning. Usually after four to
five minutes the stranger can distinguish all those who wrote vertically
from behind without having seen the writing. Dr. Aloys Karpf,
Custodian of the Imperial and Royal Trust Commission Library,
writes : "To-day I had an opportunity, along with Principal Francis
" Zdarsky and Teacher H. Saik, of observing the progress in this way
" of writing among the children in several classes of Principal Immanuel
" Bayr's school. It was observed that the posture of the children, on
" each of the many times they set themselves to write, was, with
" astonishingly few exceptions, a model one. The advantage of the
" endeavour to attain such a posture cannot, from the standpoint oi
" school hygiene, be sufficiently often emphasised. Attempts to make
" the children write rapidly in this way succeeded to the particular
" satisfaction of Principal Zdarsky, who attached special importance
" to this point. To judge by the experiments, especially in the first
* class, I am disposed to adopt the psychologically explicable assump-
" tion that more pleasing forms are more quickly attained with those
" children who begin at once with Vertical Writing than with those
" who are urged to Vertical Writing only when already practised in
" the sloping writing."

Caroline Seidl, city governess, who teaches under Bayr in the fifth
writing class (mixed) reports : " The female pupils of the fifth class
" were introduced to Vertical Writing only at the beginning of the
"school year 1889-1890. The transition from the Sloping Writing
" practised during four years to Vertical Writing involved not the least
" difficulty for the children in respect to the posture of body, hold-
" ing of pen, or technical execution. It was also an easy thing for
" them on command to pass from Vertical Writing at once back again
" to Sloping Writing. . . .

"... All the children who were introduced to Vertical Writing
"afforded, in respect to faultless sitting and caligraphy, thoroughly
" satisfactory and frequently even surprising results. ... On com-
" paring the writing of a copy-book in which the writing was first
" sloping and later vertical, one could perceive with satisfaction how
" much prettier and more regular an impression was made* on the be-


"holder by the Vertical Writing as contrasted with the Sloping
" Writing. What a salutary tranquil look a vertically writing class
" keeps, what a restless spirit prevails among a number of obliquely
"writing scholars with the constant change of the posture of the body
" and position of the copy-book which can never be completely kept
" in check even with the most attentive supervision. This year I have
" made repeated experiments in regard to the point just mentioned,
" with the female scholars of the fifth class. In respect to rapidity of
" execution, too, I have not been able to find any kind of hindrance
" in the use of Vertical Writing ; there were, indeed, many sloping
" writers who could not follow the vertical writers. When compared
" these rapid writings show a great difference in respect to their clcar-
" ness and legibility, which decided in favour of Vertical Writing."

From the remaining parts of Austria also come reports as to the
growing interest in the question of Vertical Writing, which am ng
Others has been discussed at the District Teachers' Conferences of
Schwanenstadt in Austria, of Egydi-Tunnel in Styria, and of Salzburg.

The educational literature of Austria is much occupied with Vertical
Writing ; see for example Rieger's " Journal for the Austrian Public
School System," 1890, Nos. 8 and n. "The Public School," 3cth
year, Nos. 24 and 26. " The Lower Austria School News," 3rd year,
No. 22. "The Journal of Education and Instruction," 4th year, No. 8.
In Buda-Pesth, Prof. Joseph Fador advocates the introduction of
Vertical Writing. In Hamburg also on the initiative of Dr. Kotel-
mann Vertical Writing was experimentally introduced into a higher
girls'-school. In Antwerp Vertical Writing is recommended by Dr.
Mayer, school doctor (" The Female Teachers' Guardian," ist year
No. 6, p. 13). For a series of years Dierckx' writing has been prac-
tised in Brussels ; though not quite perpendicu'ar, it is at any rate
steep and only inclined about 15 towards the right. With it the
children maintain a hygienic posture, as has been recently boasted
again by Dr. von Sallwurck, Member of the Council of Education
("Journal of School Hyiene," 1890, No. I, p. 56). In France, as was
evident at the International Congress of Hygiene in Vienna 1887 and
in Paris 1889, there prevails the most gratifying unanimity on the part
of all the authorities of public hygiene in favour of Vertical Writing.

With gratifying unanimity the experiments made in the most
diverse parts of Germany show that Vertical W 7 riting quite materially
improves the posture of the children, that it allows the degree of
rapidity required in the school and quite sufficient for the preponde-
rating majority of callings, is in case of need easy to convert into
Sloping Writing, surpasses the latter in clearness and offers besides
many kin^s of educational advantages.


It is my firm conviction that Vertical Writing when generally in*
troduced does not burden the teachers, as many believe, with a new
and difficult work, but on the contrary quite materially lightens for
them the very heavy and rather thankless labour of constant exhorta*
tions to a better bodily posture, and gains them time and strength for
working at their principal task, education and instruction. I trust that
a not too distant future will confirm this prophecy.


MR. ADAMS FROST examined a Board School in London and found
therein among 267 scholars, 73, or 27-3 per cent, with sub-normal

The (Philadelphia) Report explains that while some of .the classes
in the primary and secondary schools had had hygienic surroundings
and in the grammar schools the arrangements were not of the best,
in the normal schools the greatest possible care had been given to the
lighting and seating of the classrooms with the result of making them
as nearly perfect as possible in the present state of our knowledge of
the requirements. Yet in spite of this and of the fact that the pupils
were much older and therefore less susceptible to unfavourable circum-
stances " The showing for myopic eyes was almost as bad as in
" the lower schools."

(R. Brudenell Carter F.R.C.S., Ophthalmic Surgeon to St. George's
Hospital Medical Times and Gazette, April 25 and May 2, 1885.)

Shortsightedness is developed almost exclusively during School-
life ; rarely afterwards and very rarely before that time. Is this coin-
cidence of time accidental ? i.e. does the shortsightedness arise at the
period about which children go to school ? or has school-life caused
the shortsightedness ? Statistical enquiries prove the latter to be the

The well-known orthopaedic surgeon Eulenburg also states that
90 per cent of curvatures of the spine which do not arise from a special
disease are developed during school-life.

These statements have particularly struck me as coinciding exactly
with the period of the development of shortsightedness and I have
paid the more attention to this relation between spinal curvature and
shortsightedness as they seem to form a circulus vitiosus in so far as
shortsightedness produces spinal curvature, and curvature favours


The frequency of the so-called scoliosis or lateral curvature of the
spine has its principal origin in the position in which the children sit
during their school time especially while writing.

But what now is the normal posture ? The upper part of the body
is to be kept straight, the vertebral column neither twisted to the right
nor to the left ; the shoulder-blades both of the same height, are,
together with the upper arm, freely suspended on the ribs, and in no
way supporting the body ; both elbows on a level with each other and
almost perpendicular under the shoulder-joint without any support ;
only the hands and part of the forearms resting on the table ; the
weight of the head freely balanced on the vertebral column and not
on any account bent forward, but only turned so much round its hori-
zontal axis, that the face is inclined sufficiently to prevent the angle at
which the eye is fixed on the book from being too pointed.

(Dr. R. Leibrich, Consulting Ophthalmic Surgeon to St. Thomas 1

The twisted and curved position of the spine caused by writing is
doubtless a very potent factor in the production of Lateral Curvature.
The more slanting the writing the worse the position, and I would
strongly advise that upright writing be universally substituted for the
slanting (p. 73).

The posture necessitated by ordinary writing is probably that which
causes more harm to the spine than any other, but the system of up-
right writing so ably advocated by Mr. Jackson is calculated to reduce
this harm to a minimum. I have referred to this subject in another
part of this volume but I take this opportunity of advising the reader
to obtain Mr. Jackson's publications upon this system of upright writing
with which I have become acquainted only since urging the advan-
tages of substituting upright for slanting writing in the Second Edition
of this book.

(Curvatures of the Spine by Noble Smith, F.R.C.S. Ed., L.R.C.P.
Lond., &c. Third Edition, pp. 73 and 108.)



ACTIOLOGY of scoliose, 86
Alphabet, written, small letters, 95

capital letters, 96

Ancient and mediaeval writing, 112
Angles of slope in copy books, 26
Argument against use of slates, 76

BAGINSKY, Dr. , on Spinal Curvature,


Belgian cabinet edict, 27
Blackboard, criticism of, 107-8
writing, 57, 61, 107, 108
Blank copy books, minor objections
to, 66

and class teaching, 71

Blotting paper, necessity of, 80
Body, hygienic position of, 82
Bohemian School Board's Instruc-
tions, 92

CALIGRAPHIC merits of vertical

writing, 39

Caligraphy, qualities of good, 27
Capitals (model alphabet of), 96
Catalogue of recent works, 127
" City Press " on writing, 8
Class teaching, general instructions

for, 109

Classes of letters, details of, 97-100
Classification of capitals, 103

- - small letters, 96-7
Compactness, 52
of vertical writing, 35
Comparison of lengths of outlines, 33
Congresses and Councils, 124
Continent, decrees of Boards, etc.,


Continuity in writing, 51
Copy books, kinds of, 56

shapes of, 77

writing specimens, 4, 40

DEFECTS of blank books summarised,

Delusion of slope, 28
Desks, kinds of, 74

widths of, 75

'' Detroit Free Press," 9
Diigram of eyes, 18, 87
Diagrams of contrasts, 131

legibility, 28-30

lengths, 33

- positions, 16, 17
Directions to writers, HO
Diversity of positions, 127
Drawing and writing, 68

E, different forms of, 54

Early Saxon handwriting, 1 12

Ease in teaching, 36

Economical merits of vertical writing,


Economy in space, 34
Educational merits of vertical writing,


Elizabeth, Queen, writing of, 131
Elizabethan period specimens, 132
Enthusiasm in teaching, 106
Example of non-continuity, 51
Experiments in Vienna schools, 22
Engraver's hair line models, 55

FASHION in writing, 12

First English sloping alphabet, 116

Focus, perfect in vertical writing,,


GERMAN alphabets, two, 22

cabinet, edict of, 27

handwriting, in
Government instructions, 31

HANDWRITING and hygiene, 26
Headline copy books, 56
Heights of long letters, 54



History of vertical writing, ill

How to write, no

Hygienic defects of sloping writing,

14, 158

merits of vertical writing, 38

IMPERFECT models, 58
Ink, quality of, 79
Inspectors, etc., 125
Irregular models, 62
Italian style, introduced, ill

JAVAL, Dr., 14, 19, 120
Jolly, Inspector, 77
Junction of letters, 51

KING, G. B., on continuity, 51

LEGIBILITY of writing, 27
Leibrich, Dr., statements by, 157
**Locke's system, 105
Long letters, lengths of. 54
Lorenz, Professor A., opinion, 22

MINIMUM of imitation, 68
Models or copies, 60
Movement on Continent, 1 1 8, 119
Mulhauser's method, 104
Multum in parvo, IIO
Myopia and sloping writing, 19, 87
blackboard copies 67

NELSON, Lord, writing of, in two

styles, 133

Norman handwriting, in
Nuremburg, lecture at, 142

OPHTHALMOLOGY and vertical writ-
ing, 19

Ornamental penmanship, 94
Orthopaedics and vertical writing, 22
Other merits of vertical writing, 37

PENS and penholders, 80
Perpendicular writing in schools,

Position in vertical writing, 16, 17

of copy books, 84
the pen, 90

QUALITIES of good writing, 27
REPRODUCTION of pupils' copies, 59

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11

Online LibraryJohn JacksonThe theory and practice of handwriting; a practical manual for the guidance of school boards, teachers, and students of the art, with diagrams and illustrations → online text (page 11 of 12)