Gregg Ruled v. Pitmann Ruled

I see both Gregg and Pitmann ruled steno pads available from Ampad, my favorite steno pad manufacturer.  How is Pitmann ruling different from Gregg?  Is the verticle rule not centered?  Are the lines spaced farther or closer?

(Originally posted by johnsapp) 

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    1. If I may suggest, I think what I might try would be, to write awhile in a comfortable way, on plain paper, then measure to see how many vertical lines per inch that is, and compare it with the Pitman and the Gregg steno pads.  This could save buying in order to test.  I think Gregg's are 3 vertical lines per inch, but I don't know what Pitman's are, sorry.

  1. I can't begin to tell you the difference, but I did find a 12 book multi-pack of AMPAD 6"x 9" 80 sheet Steno pads at Sam's Club for only $5.83. I've never bought them before, but it seems like a good deal. Just thought I'd let you all know before you got raked over the coals by one of those OfficeMax places.  Jay

  2. Hi Debbie.   I think it might be a good idea to try it to see if it fits your writing style.  If you are having to stretch your symbols too far and your hand begins to tire after just a few minutes, don't use it.  If, on the other hand, you feel less cramped and find a pleasant ease in writing your shorthand freely with this steno pad, by all means, use it!  How large or small you write your shorthand symbols will have little to no affect on your shorthand speed.  Look at it this way, you'll probably never know for sure unless you make yourself try the tablet.  Let us all know what you think of it.  I, personally, have never seen a Pitman ruled steno pad!  Bye.  Ms. Letha  🙂

  3. Hi John, Well, since I don't have anything to gauge them by, I'll have to say the front and back cardboard covers are thin. I say this because the covers are in different colors. But looking at them from the side (they're still wrapped in cellophane), the covers look fairly thick. If I had a micrometer, I'd give you an exact measurement. Is there any other way to tell? Actually, I didn't even know the covers came in various thicknesses.

  4. Well, I am only talking about two different thicknesses, and I'm sure you are already familiar with them.  Think of a regular old spiral bound notebook.  Thin front cover, thick back cover.   In highschool, I hated how the fronts of my notebooks would tear off, leaving my hard work exposed to the elements inside my dirty L.L.Bean backpack.  It didn't make sense to me that the back cover was made so sturdily, while the front so crappily.  I thought I would someday become rich by inventing a notebook with sturdy covers, front and rear.   Enter the steno pad.  It seems stenographers made this discovery many decades before me, and have been using steno pads with thick front covers all along.  Somewhere along the line, some businessman (probably not a stenographer, for how could a stenographer do such a thing?) came up with the bright idea of putting thin front covers on steno pads too.  After all, a steno pad is nothing more than a small notebook, right?  Right?!!  Boo!

  5. Re: Message 4 in this Thread   Maybe I should use Pitmann pads too.  I find myself skipping lines in my Gregg pads, to avoid a crowded looking page.  I guess if you are taking notes, it doesn't matter if the page looks crowded.  Still, the beauty of Gregg appeals to me, and I think it is more beautiful when I can distinguish the horizontal lines of writing.   MEASBGTY

  6. The front and back of the steno pad has to be firm.  If you put the pad upright on a falt serface (desk) then it will stand like a typing stand so it's easier to transcribe.    And yes, where do you find Pitman ruled pad? Debbi

  7. Oh, you need to open the pad a bit for it to stand, obviously… so open it up to a page and have the front and back together.  Then slightly part the front and back and it will stand on a flat surface… sort of like an inverted V… Debbi

  8. I'd never really thought about it. I buy steno pads at Office Basics (a Canadian chain) dirt cheap–I think last time, I paid $1.99 for 10. (I've seen them as cheap as 10 for $.99 when they're on sale.) They are 25 lines to a pad, centre ruled–Gregg ruling, despite the fact that in Canada, Pitman was the non-alphabetic shorthand taught in most schools. They're what I've always used for Forkner, and no different from what the Pitman-writers I know use. Perhaps Canadians just write smaller than Americans.   Jim

  9. Forkner:

    Actually, it's because the teaching of Pitman became rare; Gregg dominated 95% of the market by the 1970s.

    About the only place Pitman was ever used in the US was in court reporting. The last Pitman writer in the Senate retired in the 1980s.

    1. And yet, despite the rarity of Pitman in the US, I knew a Pitman writer in a civil service contracting office in Oakland, California – and this was in the 1980s.  Her boss knew Gregg, yet asked the Pitman writer to take dictation for letters every so often – only to marvel and be astonished, remarking, "How can you read that stuff?!" because it has such a different look and feel to it!  The Pitman writer had learned it back East, to be sure, but it seems Pitman shorthand may be more widespread than is usually thought, if only 'cause folks are so mobile nowadays.  And with court reporting having gone over to steno machines, Pitman writers (at least that one) have been using it in other settings.  Life is full of surprises, eh?  🙂

  10. George, Gregg may have superceded everything else in the States, but Ontario in the 1970s was still very much British, and stuck with Pitman. I attended three high schools in the 1970's, and none offered Gregg. In trying to find Gregg textbooks, I have discovered many Pitman texts up here, but nothing in Gregg, except through the public libraries. And I have never met a professional stenographer in eastern Canada who took Gregg. That's why I find it odd that the steno pads they sell here are the Gregg spacing rather than Pitman, if they are different. Jim

  11. Forkner:

    You are absolutely correct; the only place Gregg really shined was in the US.

    Pitman retained its primacy all over the rest of the English-speaking world, esp. the Commonwealth.

    Apropos Pitman-ruled stenopads, I bought some of them from They are larger than the typical 5/8 inch Pitman ruling, for some reason; in fact, these were ruled at 1/2 inch. To my mind, that's too large. All it does is encourage larger outlines, which, in Pitman, slows the writer down.

    I have spoken to a Pitman writer in Texas, but to be honest, he's a transplanted Canadian. 🙂 He uses Gregg-ruled paper; there seems no real reason to use Pitman-ruled paper….

  12. Allow me to repeat one of my earlier posts in part. In Philadelphia the Public Schools all taught Pitman and the Parochial Schools all taught Gregg until both systems stopped teaching shorthand a decade or so ago. Also some independent commercial schools went with one or the other. It is interesting that the Parochial School quite often ran two year commercial schools for girls after the eighth grade, and their graduates were in great demand by reputable corporations  and businesses. Working in education/teachers union setting for 36 years, I am going to take an "educated guess" that when we read historically of school systems changing brands of shorthand, they were probably small or new districts or those with a good deal of turnover personnelwise. When a large district has hundreds of shorthand teachers thoroughly proficient in a shorthand system, to require them to learn a new system and teach its theory would be impractacle, in fact it would invite revolution. Yet I do recall hearing of teachers being hired familiar with the other shorthand system and teaching that other system, the students being rostered to remain with that teacher in succeeding semesters. I have also heard that as students compared their shorthand systems with friends in the other system, a certain sort of elitism was exhibited on the part of the Pitman students because of its difficulty, as well as some envy for the relative simplicity of Gregg.   DOC

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