Pencils And Stylographs

It is obvious that writing executed with a pencil or the now much-used

stylograph will differ in many respects from that performed by an

ordinary pen. It is not too much to say that their use will eliminate

many features and introduce new ones. This change is mainly brought

about by the different way in which a pencil or stylograph is held in

comparison with a pen. There is a much greater sense of freedom. The

pencil c
n be, and is, turned and twisted in the process of making a

stroke as a pen cannot be, and the signs of this freedom become apparent

in a more rounded stroke. Even a writer whose characters are acutely

angular shows a tendency to a more graceful outline. As a matter of

fact, it is comparatively rare to meet a pencilled writing that is

pronouncedly angular.

The same remarks apply with only little modification to writing produced

by the stylograph, and for the same reason--the ease and freedom with

which the instrument is held.

There is no possibility of mistaking writing produced by a stylograph

for that of an ordinary steel nib. The strokes are absolutely uniform in

thickness. No nib-formed writing can be so, for it is impossible for a

writer, however careful, to avoid putting pressure on his pen at some

point; and the opening of the nib, however slight, must produce an

apparent thickening.

Therefore, recognising these facts, the expert is always extremely

careful in giving an opinion upon a writing produced by pencil or stylo

unless he have ample specimens of the writer's productions done with

these instruments.

At the same time, although an absence of characteristics present in pen

writing would be noticeable, the main features would exist: for example,

the space between words and letters would be the same; the dot over the

_i_ would be in its customary position; the bar of the _t_ would be of

the same type as heretofore. The principal changes would be in the

direction of a more uniform stroke with a tendency to greater rotundity.

Persons who habitually employ the stylo very frequently develop an

unconscious habit of twisting the pen at certain points so as to form a

deep, rounded dot. This occurs principally at the ends of words and

strokes. A magnifying-glass reveals this peculiarity at once, and, when

discovered, notice should be taken of the circumstances under which this

twisting is usually done. It will be found, most probably, that the

trick is uniform; that is, certain letters or strokes are mostly

finished with the dot.

There is a well-known public character who for years has employed no

other writing instrument but the stylo. His writing possesses one

peculiarity which is so habitual that in four hundred examples examined

it was absent in only five. He forms this twist dot at the end of the

last letter at the end of every line. The inference and explanation is

that, in raising the pen to travel back to the next line, he twists it

with a backward motion in harmony with the back movement. Another trick

is to make the same dot in words on which he appears to have halted or

hesitated before writing the next. In every such case there is an extra

wide space between the word ended by a dot and that which follows. It

would appear as if the writer mechanically made the dot while pausing to

choose the next word. This is a striking example of the unconscious


Something akin to it occurs in the handwriting of a famous lawyer. Here

and there in his letters will be noticed a faint, sloping, vertical

stroke, like a figure _1_. Those who have seen him write explain it

thus. While hesitating in the choice of a word he moves his pen up and

down over the paper, and unintentionally touches it. It is such slips as

these which often supply the expert with valuable clues to identity.

When they occur they should be carefully examined, for in the majority

of cases a reason will be found for their presence.