The long and the short of it
I never set out to learn shorthand. I only did it because it was part of the commercial course at school. It is a bit like learning to ride a bicycle, once learnt you never forget it and it is the same with touch typing. Being a lazy individual I still use it for notes and things. It is far quicker and easier than writing it in longhand and besides my handwriting is not what it was. I may at one time have had very good handwriting but it as gone downhill quite a bit over the years. I have never given it much thought but recently I was trying to do a transcription for a bit of fun from a 1960’s Pitman’s Office training magazine and found it quite difficult at first. Surprising how much I had forgotten and how slow I now was. There was no way I could still do 110 words per minute. My old shorthand mistress as school would have had a fit. I decided to spend a little time brushing up on it using the Long Live Pitman’s Shorthand org.uk website. The sticker above is from the website too. Pitman’s shorthand along with typing has given me a pretty good and interesting living over the years as well. Far better than risking brain death by doing accounts although I have done a lot of that as well.
Being eccentric I use a fountain pen and have decided to try to make an attempt at getting back to somewhere close to the copperplate handwriting that they taught at school. I will settle for anything that looks half reasonable. It is also a good excuse to use the fountain pens that I have collected over the years.
It really does not take long to learn shorthand and there are now more modern versions of Pitman’s like Pitman’s 2000 which came out in the 1970’s and the latest T Line. Both are quick and easy to learn but you will never be as quick as the New Era which I learnt and still most favoured by shorthand writers. Why not give it a try, it does save an awful lot of time and if you want to make a private note for yourself who is going to read it.
Shorthand may not be used anywhere as much as it used to be but it is not obsolete and still very useful. There are now only two mainstream types of shorthand now. Pitman’s and Gregg’s which is used more in America I think. My aunt in the 1920’s learnt Clark’s which only had a hundred outlines to learn and she seemed to write it pretty fast too. There does not seem to be much about it on the web and has not been supported for a very long time. There was also Ford and probably quite a few more many years ago. Now it seems to be just Pitman’s and Gregg.
Don’t Panic – Write Shorthand