Over the past few years the simple shape of pens and pencils has been evolving as there has been greater consideration that humans are not all the same. At the simplest level there are right-handed people and there are those who favour the left-hand and instruments and tools such as scissors have been adapted to cope with the demands of both.
This has extended to children learning to write. Since right-handers are the majority, teaching in the past has always concentrated upon a style that suits them and we have all seen left –handed people writing in the most contorted positions to achieve the same result.
The main problem for those who write left-handed is that as English is written from right to left, they end up pushing the nib or ballpoint along the paper whereas for right-handers, the nib naturally flows away from them and there is no great pressure in writing.
The introduction of Stabilo ‘S Move Easy Left-Handed Rollerball has been an exciting development in pen design for left-handers particularly The company studied the most comfortable and efficient position for the left-hand to write most effectively and moulded the pen body to fit the position exactly then moulding the pen body to exactly.
But it is not only about helping left-handed children or adults to write comfortably or clearly. We know that computer users can suffer from Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) and this is a recognised injury but consider those who might suffer from Arthritis, Tendonitis or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the difficulty they face using a pen.
To alleviate the problem there is the Yoropen that was designed specifically for comfortable and stress free writing. Its angled head makes it easier for the user to see what he is writing and there is a finger support that prevents the fingers slipping down the pen so that a more relaxed grip is used.
Just recently we noted another design on a pen that at present appears to only be available is the US and that is the EzGgrip developed by Dexterity Technologies Corporation (www.dextek.com) As the name suggests it is very easy to grip and you only use one finger for writing pressure instead of the usual three squeezing and pushing sideways and down creating a very light touch helping considerably those whose suffer from the painful problems mentioned earlier. One student user of the pen sated that it helped his ‘’ Quasimodian callous from constant note-taking’ – no we don’t know what he meant but is sounds painful!!!
It seems that the shape of pens will never be simple again and we would be delighted to hear from anybody who has found writing painful and difficult and used one of the pens discussed to tell us what they thought.