Classes Of Handwriting

For convenience in differentiation, handwritings are divided into the

following classes. Practically every type of writing can be placed in

one of them.

_Vertical Hand._--A vertical hand is one in which the tops and tails of

letters form as nearly as possible a perpendicular with the horizontal

line. The best example of this class of handwriting is that known as the

Civil Service hand, familiar to the gen
ral public through telegrams and

official documents.

_Back Hand_ is a hand in which the general slope of the characters is

from right to left.

_Italian Hand_ is the reverse of a back hand, the slope being at an

acute angle from left to right. It is a style fast going out of fashion,

and is almost invariably the handwriting used by elderly ladies. Its

most pronounced characteristic is its sharp angles and absence of


_Open Hand._--An open hand is one that generally approximates to the

vertical, its distinguishing feature being the wide space between the

letters. The best example of it is that known as the Cusack style of


_Closed Hand._--A closed hand is the opposite of an open hand, the

letters being crowded together and generally long and narrow, with the

slope from left to right.

_Greek Hand._--This is the name given to a type of writing that closely

approximates to the printed character. Many letters, both capital and

small, are formed to imitate print, particularly the capitals _T_, _X_,

_Y_, _R_, _B_, _D_, and the smalls _e_, _f_, _g_, _h_, _j_, _k_, _p_,

_r_, _t_, _v_, _w_, _x_, _y_, _z_. It is a hand frequently found in the

writings of classical scholars, literary men engaged in work entailing

careful research, and often is an evidence of short sight.

The _Wavy Hand_ is generally vertical. Its characteristic is an

undulating serpentine waviness. Little or no distinction is made between

barred or looped letters. There are no rounded shoulders to the _m_ and

_n_ and the word minnie would be written by five small _u_'s. In

round-bodied letters like _a_, _d_, _g_, the circle is rarely completed,

but is left open, so that small _a_ becomes _u_, and small _d_ may be

mistaken for _it_, with the _i_ undotted and _t_ uncrossed. Despite its

geometrical and caligraphic inaccuracy in detail, this hand is generally

written with great regularity, that is, the characters, though

incomplete, are always uniform in their irregularity. The _e_ is never

open, but is an undotted _i_, and _n_ is _u_, but when the peculiarities

of the writer become familiar this hand is often very legible.

_Flat Hand._--A flat hand is a type of handwriting in which the

characters have an oblate or flattened appearance, the _o_, _a_, _g_,

&c., being horizontal ovals, like the minim and breve in music. The

tails and tops are generally short, with wide loops. It is nearly always

a vertical hand.

An _Eccentric Hand_ is one that presents various marked peculiarities

and departures from standard rules in the formation of certain letters,

and cannot be placed in any recognised class, though it may approximate

to one more than to another.

The _Round_ or _Clerical Hand_ is a writing that preserves a close

affinity for the round regular hand of the average school-boy, with the

difference that while the characters are formed on regular copybook

model, the hand is written with considerable fluency and firmness. It is

generally only a little out of the perpendicular, sloping slightly

towards the right.