When I was first taught to write with a pen at primary school it was using a cartridge pen.
This thought came to me today when I heard that Maggie is due to get her “pen licence” this year when she starts Year three in a few weeks.
I think I was in grade three when they gave us cartridge pens, but it may have been later.
I don’t remember much about them, except they seemed to scratch the paper, rather than write, and I had to use blotting paper under my hand, otherwise everything got smudged.
I’m pretty sure we only used cartridge pens for a couple of years.
According to this informative website: “The difference between conventional fountain pens and this class is that cartridge pens get their ink from a disposable ink cartridge, which is a small plastic container that fits into the pen. When the ink runs short, the cartridge can be replaced. Fountain pens have one permanent cartridge, and they get their ink from bottles.”
This writer continues to use a fountain pen today.
“A fountain pen trains you to write with light pressure and is much less tiring than a ballpoint, rollerball or pencil,” he says.
I struggled to think this morning why our teachers in 1975 would have thought a cartridge pen was better than a ballpoint, but the explanation above probably nails it.
The fact less pressure is required to write probably makes it easier for little ones. I guess it also gave us an appreciation of ink and legibility. There may have been merit as well in teaching cursive script.
Not that I have ever been particularly neat with my writing. In fact, my handwriting has deteriorated over the years as I’ve produced far more words using a keyboard than I have with a pen.
The rare occasions I write anything apart from my signature, like Christmas cards, are actually a chore and require significant concentration.
Maybe a cartridge pen would make it easier.