Graphodromie. Etching the sound of the word.


F. J. Astier (active 1800s), Graphodromie, ou Écriture cursive applicable à tous les idiomes… inventée et adaptée à la langue française. Etchings by Ambroise Tardieu (1788-1841). (Paris: [Pillet for] the author, Pillet, Tardieu, Mme Vve Courcier, 1816). Graphic Arts (GAX) 2010- in process


F.J. Astier, the French Minister of the Interior, wrote this treatise on a new form of shorthand or phonetic writing, in which one records the sound of the word rather than transcribing the letters. In theory, this allowed those who could not read or write to copy spoken sentences. He asserts that the system can be learned in less than a month, would increase the amount of work accomplished, and would drastically cut down on administrative paper.

“Astier’s system resembles a printing method elaborated a few years later by Comte de Lasteyrie (1759-1849), who developed a system of printing for the masses that eliminated capital letters, accented vowels, and other ‘unnecessary sorts’ (described in Lasteyrie’s 1837 Typographie économique).” See René Havette, Bibliographie de la Stenographie Française (Paris 1906).