Wednesday, 07 Feb 2018


Twenty-Six Old Characters

Younger friends, can you write or read cursive? I’m curious.The 1950 play Death of a Salesman features a climactic moment in which the ne’er-do-well Biff confesses to his father that he has ruined his chance of making a business deal because he stole his former boss’s fountain pen.

While you and I might not think swiping a pen is a big deal, in the middle of the 20th century, a fountain pen was an important token of a man’s status in the business world.  A Biff of today would probably have to steal his boss’s engraved iPhone in order for the act to have the same meaning.

It’s  a big jump from the courtroom of ancient Athens to the executive offices of mid-20th Century America; however, this 20m advertisement for Sheaffer fountain pens does a great job capturing the social value of handwriting.

  • Please be honest… do you find it difficult to read the cursive text?
  • What relevance does handwriting have in your life?
  • What details from this short movie do you feel are worth discussing in greater depth?

Twenty-Six Old Characters


  1. […] Source: Twenty-Six Old Characters […]

  2. laramiecowan says:

    The world is changing still and our ways of communication is too.

  3. I’m still amazed that they were confident enough in the “Here *was* the ink” bit that they spent 2 1/2 minutes on it — more than 1/10 of the entire content!

  4. …and my other thought was “The wand chooses the wizard.”

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