The 150-year-old complaint

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I was flipping through this month’s issue of Scientific American when I noticed the following complaint:

Has not the curse of steel pens swept over the land until decent handwriting is almost unknown? Do not ninety-nine persons in a hundred use steel pens, and has more than one out of the ninety-nine the effrontery to say he can write with them? Lord Palmerston was quite right — the handwriting of this generation is abominable; and as new improvements in steel pens go on, that of the next will be worse.

It appeared in a section that reprints excerpts from old issues, and bore the publication date of March 1862. Plus ça change, eh? One wonders what the writer would have thought about the effects of tablet styluses…

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