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Messages - Vintage_BE

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Spencerian Script / Re: Spencerian Sashiko
« on: June 14, 2024, 04:43:58 PM »
Bravo. A man for all seasons.

You might like the vintage bronze G303's better than the modern ones (blue)(post WWII)--less scratchy and better quality control.
@AnasaziWrites I found vintage 404’s for sale, would you have any idea of how they compare to the vintage 303’s? Thank you.

Spencerian Script / Re: Spencerian Signature
« on: May 22, 2024, 02:26:11 PM »
I was immediately able to read “H G Warner” just as though I were reading a typed page.
Me too… but then the two abbreviated majuscules are my initials  ;D

I hope @Erica McPhee does not mind me reviving this topic after quite a few years. I wanted, for what it’s worth, share my experience with the Gillott 303.
Now, you must understand that for a long time I attempted to improve my handwriting with fountain pens; even after registering for a Spencerian course I continued to believe (well, hope) that I would be able to do calligraphy with fountain pens - in any even with the “flexible nibs” that some of my fountains pens have.
Then I tried the Nikko G and the Zebra G nibs … and started to realise that the expression “flexible nib” stands for completely different propositions in the fountain pen world and the pointed pen world. Same for the expression “extra fine” nib.
I having been writing with my extra fine Zebra G nibs for quite a while now, until someone on this forum, on seeing my script, inquired whether I was using a fountain pen. Ahem.
That prompted me to reformulate my walnut ink, and to try an-even-extra-finer pointed pen. Enter the Hunt 22, which I thought must be a needlepoint that puts down almost invisible hairlines.
Until I tried the Gillott 303, which redefined the concept of a “hairline”. At least for me.
The Gillott requires what I would call a *very* light hand, and at my current skill level that excludes using it for cursive/flowing writing (Spencerian). It does, however, work for Copperplate (the pressure on the downstrokes helps to stabilise the nib). Mine mostly does not snag the paper on upstrokes… as long as I keep that hand light. Very light.
I intend to continue practicing with the Gillott, if only to (hopefully) lighten my hand.

Tools & Supplies / Re: My Favorite Nibs for Pointed Pen
« on: April 28, 2024, 07:34:39 AM »
We are blessed to have the site here in Europe.  I bought a selection of vintage nibs through that site, including the 2552 cementée and the Perry 27. Very fine and flexible indeed, and much more difficult to control than the Zebra G and the Nikko G. I use the 2552 mostly for Copperplate practice (because all downstrokes are executed with pressure, that makes it easier to control the nib). My favorite vintage nib, though, is one that my mum found lying around in a drawer. She gave it to me thinking that I would throw it out; it was badly stained with black ink residue, which after lots of (gently) rubbing I managed to partially remove.  The nib is  marked “Manufacture belge, Floreffe”. From what I could find on the web ( this was a small nib manufacturing plant that operated between 1907 and 1930. The 120 model that I am using is just as fine and flexible as the 2552 but (in my neophyte hand) feels easier to control. Too bad that I have just one of these… I am hoping that with TLC it will last me another while, until I have reached the level at which I can get crisp and steady lines out of the 2552.

Here is another sample of German “Copperplate-like”writing. It appears on a family heirloom, a board game that my wife used to play with her late parents (and that we now play with our kids). I believe it dates from the 60s of last century.
The game (“Der Weg zum Erfolg”, “The Road to Success”) was sponsored by the German version of Steve Martin, Loriot.

Spencerian Script / Slanted versus vertical writing
« on: April 22, 2024, 03:21:47 PM »
From P.Z. Bloser, Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship. “Dash and abandon”… words long disappeared from advertising vocabulary I believe.

I was at a restaurant in Naples, Florida waiting for a table when this caught my eye in the lobby. A real live engrossed diploma from 1912 in the wild!!!

I was absolutely thrilled and glad the wait for our table turned into a fabulous 15 minutes. Wish I could have taken better pictures but it was very dark in there and people (including my family) were looking at me like I was nuts.  ;D
Looking at the signatures at the bottom, if these persons were not (as I suppose) trained penmen, one is led to believe that education back then included serious - and effective- penmanship training.

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / “Likes”, 90 years ago
« on: April 08, 2024, 02:58:22 PM »
Here is another piece of French historical penmanship.  Before WW II, cycling was the most popular sport in France (and in many other European countries). The Tour de France was the crucial event of the year and any French rider who succeeded in winning the Tour become immortal during his life already. One such hero was Antonin Magne, who grew up in a modest farmers’ family in the Cantal region. He won the Tour twice (1932 and 1934) and also took the world champion’s title in 1936. His successes were, of course, extensively covered in newspapers and magazines. Naturally this was long before internet; his numerous fans could “like” him only by showing up at the races or by … writing to him.  In 1936, after his world title, the magazine l’Auto (owner of the Tour de France) called on its readers to send Magne a letter with congratulations (the magazine provided a text that could be copied). Enclosed is one of the letters that were received, this one came from a high school in Orange.  What penmanship. Could you imagine a high school producing such a letter today?

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / A brylcreem recipe
« on: April 06, 2024, 03:42:11 PM »
I pictured this in the municipal museum of Avignon, France. The museum  has collected (oral and written) stories of local people about life in their childhood - some of these stories go back to the 1920/1930s. The picture is of a recipe for hair styling gel (in European English often called “brylcreem”) which through the 1950s was a must have for any gentleman. I am impressed by the quality of the penmanship. The style reminds me of the handwriting of my grandmother (who was born in 1896).

Spencerian Script / Re: Victor Horta and Spencerian
« on: March 27, 2024, 03:23:06 AM »

This is a doorhandle that I photographed this weekend.  It’s part of the first house that he designed but even then his own style is apparent.

Spencerian Script / Victor Horta and Spencerian
« on: March 26, 2024, 03:59:57 PM »
Victor Horta was a Belgian architect and interior designer, one of the icons of the so-called “art nouveau” movement, see Horta lived from 1861 until 1947 and designed many houses and buildings, especially in Brussels, some of which have, rather miraculously, survived. I visited one of these houses last week-end and once again noticed how his “sinuous lines and flowing organic shapes” were inspired by plant forms ( Indeed Horta was fascinated by the stems of plants and the way they grow upwards seemingly ‘extending into infinity' (here is a link to a site with a few more pictures:
And then… I remembered reading about Father Spencer (a generation older than Horta, but his script enjoyed fame during Horta’s lifetime) taking inspiration from nature forms in designing his script ( and  Horta’s most productive period as an architect was between 1892 and the Second World War, i.e. during a period when Spencerian (including its ornamental version) enjoyed widespread fame, although that was primarily the case in the U.S.  I can’t help but think that, had Horta seen Spencerian calligraphy, he would have said that it represented the handwritten version of his drawings.

Spencerian Script / Re: Succession of m’s and n’s and of u’s
« on: March 12, 2024, 04:57:43 PM »
@Zivio onwards, only practice will set us free.

Spencerian Script / Re: Succession of m’s and n’s and of u’s
« on: February 28, 2024, 10:15:08 AM »
I made another jar of walnut ink with the crystals and now am able to put down finer lines. 
So off to work, writing words with m/n/e combinations.

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Eric Clapton to Layla
« on: February 28, 2024, 01:49:56 AM »
Pattie Boyd apparently is auctioning off a number of love letters that she received from Eric Clapton. Whether this is good taste or not would seem to be a debate beyond the scope of this Forum. However, I was struck by the consistency and elegance of Mr Clapton’s handwriting (which I had not seen before).  Were these letters actually written without guidelines?

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