Handwriting - How Did People Write So Small?

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badwolf29 | 22:54 Sun 17th Oct 2021 | History
11 Answers
even more so with quills. I can't wrap my head around how they wrote so neat. when looking at original documents form the 16th century for example, I have never seen a single mistake in them, nothing is ruled out. the writing is also consistent throughout. trying to read these documents without translations is impossible though as even when I have enlarged the image or zoomed in as much as I can, and in some cases using a magnifying glass, the text is still to small to make out. how long would it of taken to write a letter?


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This shows writing simple correspondence with a quill pen
and this shows how long it takes for the artistic stuff:
Practice makes perfect + education, education, education + prizes.

"how long would it of taken to write a letter?"

How long would it have taken? Depends on how long the letter was...
But isn't it just so beautiful;-))
I've see letters shown on TV where folk had written up or down the paper as well as normally in order to save on paper and the postage. That would take some doing as well as the reading of it.
I don't know how people read the old newspapers - the type is so small and dense with no pictures to break the page.
I agree with you about the writing. My own writing is barely legible these days, obviously not nearly enough practice
Old documents were probably written by professional scribes - writing was important in those days, and they devoted time and effort to it. Ordinary folk would think before they scribbled, and would write slowly and carefully. Words and ink and paper were considered precious and weren't wasted on silly prattle and ill-informed surmise.
My handwriting is pretty scrappy & has got more so with the use of computers / email etc.
It wasn't something that was taught/practised for neatness in school.
I did try a bit of calligraphy at one time but I was no good at it - think it requires some artistic talent.
Would it perhaps have something to do with the lack of paper back then? Perhaps they had to fit as much as possible into a small space? My dad was born in 1906 and had the most beautiful copper plate writing. He was taught in an orphanage and I think writing was taught well and was thought to be very important. Wish I had inherited his skill.
People had more time - no TV or smart phones it didn't matter if it took a couple of hours to write a letter or such like.

We use white napkins daily, beautifully embroidered by my wife's grandmother as a young woman, probably around 1870, It must have taken many many hours & they are numbered to 24

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