HOW THE BALL POINT KILLED CURSIVE. Josh Giesbrecht has an article at the Atlantic site which gives a persuasive explanation of what happened to cursive. The explanation has nothing to do with computers. The ballpoint pen replaced the fountain pen as the pen of choice for most people once the problem of leaks from ballpoints was solved. The breakthrough that reduced leaks from ballpoint pens was finding and using a thicker ink. Ballpoints then had the advantages over fountain pens that fountain pens have to be refilled frequently and that they smudge more easily because they use thinner ink.

Giesbrecht contends that fountain pens were better suited to cursive than ballpoints were: “Fountain pens want to connect letters.” Ballpoints require more pressure to make marks so that separating letters may have put less strain on the hand.

So a change in technology from fountain pen to ballpoint led to a decline in cursive.

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