The Pen of Ages


During the Golden Age of Penmanship (1860-1930) masters and teachers of this art recognized that before one can effectively put pen to paper, they must first learn how to properly put hand to pen.

The proper pen grip, posture and technique were vital to the success of all penman. In fact, many devices were put in place to ensure the correctness of these factors, some of which are uncomfortable to even look at. Uncomfortable though they were, they ensured proper form and function of the hand and posture overall with the promise of beautiful execution. Studying the history of proper pen grip, I thought to myself, ‘there must be a better way,’ and thus, my dedication to improvement began.


The Royal Sleeve Protector

Above photos from Vintage Penmanship Gadgets compiled by Dr. Joseph M Vitolo at

 'Cream In My Coffee' JW Ergonomic Oblique© created from resin.


The performance and aesthetics of this penholder work together to create a tool for all penman looking to improve their craft and excel in the art form. Everyone who takes this pen in hand will discover three facets of this unique writing tool...

Facet No. 1

Formed to Fit the Hand

This certainly isn’t a new idea but simply an improvement upon the tools for modern penman. The pen and writer should not act as a peg-in-a-hole scenario, but rather a pen should feel custom made. The specific shape of the Jake Weidmann Ergonomic Oblique Penholder © was designed to fit the grip of any penman in the most natural way - a pen to hold that holds you back.

Upon holding this pen, the finger placement is instinctual; the
form of the pen encourages the function of the pen. The index finger is always placed on top (refer to the advertisements above and photo below), the thumb gently cradling alongside with the palm at ease, all in line and to encourage full-arm and muscular movement. With its ergonomic shape, it distributes pressure across all major contact points with the hand, resulting in less fatigue and hand-cramp, and even alleviating the symptoms of arthritic pain.



Photo retrieved from Dr. Joseph M Vitolo at

'Wild Blue Yonder' JW Ergonomic Oblique© created from resin.


Facet No. 2

Based on the Grip of Masters

Through the process of attaining the title of Master Penman, I employed trial and error as my curriculum. Dissatisfied with the widely available calligraphy pens in the market (and believe me, I’ve tried them all), I began to concept my ideal pen, resulting in my long-developed, steadily perfected design that you see today. The dynamic ergonomic shape is derived from the stuff of legend as it dynamically emulates the grip of celebrated masters. The proper grip elevates penman to the highest level of execution. Made to perform, this pen does just that. 


Photo by Steve Stanton at my studio. 

Photos compiled by Dr. Joseph M Vitolo at 

Facet No. 3

Pen and Writer Become One

            While the ergonomic shape elevates the execution of working penman today, it also acts as a training tool for amateurs. The ergonomic design brings the orientation of the pen and hand into alignment and gently reminds its writer where to place each finger, breeding correctness and success as it puts bad habits to death and informs the right ones.

Photos compiled by Dr. Joseph M Vitolo at

JW Ergonomic Oblique© created from black and white ebony.


            This ergonomic oblique penholder, in its three unique facets, serve as homage to the Golden Age penmen and is the baton of tradition being passed to modern calligraphers in order that a dying art form might live to see another generation flourish and thrive in the beauty of writing by hand.


All of my Jake Weidmann Ergonomic Oblique Penholders © are available for purchase on Wednesdays at 9:00am MST at





A special thank you to Dr. Joseph M. Vitolo for permission of use of photographs and reference to his website,

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