Did you know that Isaac Pitman was born today in 1813? He developed the most widely used system of shorthand, now called Pitman shorthand. Shorthand was created to allow scribes and writers to write as quickly as people speak. It is used by journalists or by others to document what is said in courts, meetings, or speeches. Pitman shorthand uses lines, curves, hooks, loops, and circles to represent phonetic sounds and commonly used words instead of individual letters. The average typing speed on a computer is about 35-40 words per minute. The world record using Pitman shorthand is 350 words per minute!
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Isaac Pitman called his system Stenographic Sound Hand. Since it is phonetically based, Pitman shorthand has bene adapted for use with other languages such as French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Hindi, Hebrew, and Arabic. While more than 100 years old, Pitman shorthand is still used today.
Other popular shorthand systems are Gregg shorthand and Teeline shorthand.
Isaac Pitman was an advocate for spelling reform, which eventually led to improving and creating his system of phonetic shorthand.
Isaac Pitman and his sons formed a publishing house. Eventually they became one of the world’s leading education publishers. Isaac Pitman also created one of the first distance learning and correspondence courses. The system’s ability for students and teachers to correspond over long distances was supported by reformation of postal system and postage rates in Britain.
Isaac Pitman was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894.
In the 1830’s Isaac Pitman started to abstain from alcoholic beverages. Around 1838 he also became a vegetarian.