Are These The Best Pens?

Thanks to Bill and Patricia for inspiring this post! As Bill points out the Dasi pen firm went out of business ( I think in the 1970s?) which left the entire world of shorthand worse off as a result.

Luckily, if we’re prepared to look slightly further than the nearest stationery shop and its vast range of biros, there’s still some excellent pens out there.

One of the best I’ve tried is the fantastic Pelikan Steno pen. It is incredibly responsive, ideal for shorthand, feels well weighted in the hand, and the ink flow is superb even at higher speeds. I don’t know whether Pelikan still makes this model, but they can be picked up second hand from specialists. Pelikan make a number of other pens and I have to admit to being a bit partial to this brand as they always feel right in my hand for some reason.

I’ve also become particularly enamoured with the Pilot V5 (and V7) which is a super glider of a pen across a page. I actually tested this against a standard biro once and found my shorthand speed was a good 5-7wpm higher with the Pilot than the standard biro (done using a 120wpm exercise in Teeline).

If you’re prepared to do the searching via second hand shops/Ebay, other great pens to look out for are those with flex nibs. Sheaffer made an excellent pen (the Snorkel, I think) for shorthand and so did Esterbrook.

Some of these pens are now pretty old, but they were so well made that if you can lay your hand on a good example, you’ve got a shorthand friend for life.

These are just my initial thoughts on this really interesting subject. What I hope to do is ask a number of shorthand experts what pens they use and post back in a a few days.

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