Thursday, 29 September 2016

Saviour of the left(y).....

Today's Google Doodle celebrates what would have been the 117th birthday of a man who transformed the life of left-handers everywhere.

Ladislao José Biro invented the eponymous writing instrument which has rightfully earned the undying gratitude of millions of sinister people.
As a lefty, I am used to coping with all the challenges that a predominantly right-handed world throws at me... from doors that open on the 'wrong' side, to mastering the use of scissors.  Things which the majority right-handed take for granted.

However, I know of no lefty who can write consistently well with a fountain pen which isn't expressly intended for our sinister ways.

At primary school, back in the early 1960s, I loathed and detested 'writing lessons' which were carried out with a proper old-fashioned fountain pen.  The teacher would write a series of sentences, or a poem, or piece of prose on the blackboard, which we had to laboriously transcribe into our special 'ink jotters' using joined up writing.  

The pens were italic, and ALL of them were right-handed.  No matter how I tried, or what contorted writing position I adopted, inevitably the points of the nib would cross and a huge inkblot would spread over the page, usually diluted with tears of frustration.

Eventually, my father, who was also left-handed, made representation to the school and in the fullness of time, a left-handed italic pen was provided, which transformed my writing. As an added bonus, I also got to keep it in my desk, so it wouldn't get mixed up with all the other fountain pens, which were collected in at the end of each writing lesson.  I used to lift the lid of my wooden desk just to gaze at it, nestled in its little box.

However, fountain pens, although elegant and covetable, are not entirely practical for common or garden everyday writing, so the invention of the Biro was ground breaking.
We take it completely for granted these days and it has spawned an entire panoply of pens which work on the same rollerball principle.

So, Ladislao José Biro, we salute you!  Your simple invention has definitely made the world a better place.

.... Although I do take issue with this vintage advertisement, which places women in a subservient business role, merely taking shorthand notes!

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