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Samuel Taylor Develops the First System of Shorthand Used Throughout the English Speaking World


In 1786 English stenographer Samuel Taylor published An Essay Intended to Establish A Standard for an Universal System of Stenography, or Short Hand Writing; Upon such simple & approv'd principles as have never before been offered to the Public; whereby a person in a few days may instruct himself to write Short hand correctly & by a little practice cannot fail taking down any discourse deliver'd in Public.  Taylor who advertised himself as "Many years professor & teacher of the science at Oxford, & the Universities of Scotland & Ireland," developed Taylor shorthand using an alphabet composed of 19 letters of simplified shapes. His stenographic method involved cutting out the superfluous consonants as well as the vowels in polysyllabic words. 

Having developed his stenographic system since 1773, Taylor  issued his book from London in high style with an elegant engraved title page and 11 engraved plates.  His book included an unusual number of testamonials and a list of subscribers.  He published the price of the book boldly on the title page— one guinea, a very high price for the time.  The title page also states in fine print that the book was printed for Samuel Taylor on january 1, 1786. . . .

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