Smallest Handwriting in the World ...
* Inventor Thomas Edison tried his hand at Lord's Prayer
* Smallest hand writing without any mechanical aid
* Some examples require a microscope to read
* Challenging, creative and unique activity for students
By FRANK DEFREITAS for WONDERS OF THE BIBLE
PUBLISHED: September 1, 2019 | UPDATED: July 6, 2020
PODCAST: Smallest Handwriting in the World
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(above photo): An example of the smallest handwriting in the world, hand written in the year 1859. It shows the lord's prayer in an area approximately the size of a U.S. penny cent. Wonders of the Bible collection.
Just how small can YOU write? Can you write so small that someone requires a microscope to read it? Well, some people have done just that -- including the great inventor Thomas Edison -- and they did it while writing the Lord's Prayer …
Hello, my name is Frank DeFreitas, and I would like to welcome you to Wonders of the Bible.
Handwriting captures the personality of the writer in each and every letterform. Hundreds of years later -- you can still hold a sample of someone's handwriting in your hand. Its real and Its personal. They held the pen. They determined the strokes, the pressure, the formation of each letter. It is an intimate record of the person's state of mind, disposition, and even -- to a certain degree -- the state of their health and well being.
Micro handwritten lords prayers give us an opportunity to travel back in time. But that's not all … they're putting pen to paper while writing the Smallest Handwriting in the World.
In an earlier broadcast, I spoke about how one of the early microscopic lord's prayer eventually helped put the first man on the moon. The lords prayers covered in that program were not written by hand, however. They were first made utilizing photography in the middle of the 1800's -- when photography was still in its infancy. To get those microscopic lords prayers, they used light sensitive emulsions, and optical systems of various focusing lenses. This reduced much larger lords prayers down to microscopic size.
Today we are going to investigate a rather unusual method: microscopic lord's prayers written entirely by the human hand -- created with no other form of technological or mechanical assistance.
(above photo): An example of the smallest handwriting in the world. It shows the lord's prayer written by hand in an area much smaller than a U.S. penny or dime. This one is the smallest example in the collection. Wonders of the Bible collection.
These handwritten lord's prayers are much rarer than their photographic counterparts, mostly due to them not being mass produced. Several of the examples in the Wonders of the Bible collection cannot be traced back to any specific person. This is due to the fact that they were (1) one of a kind when they were done, and (2) were not always signed by the person who created them.
So as they continue to move through time, they exist entirely on their own … beautiful examples of the smallest handwritten lords' prayers ever known … without ever being credited to their makers.
Along with being uncredited, there is no indication that any of the handwritten lords prayers were ever exhibited. It was quite the opposite with the photographic and mechanically assisted lords prayers. These examples were often shown at great exhibitions throughout the world. And they always led to long lines of exhibition attendees waiting to see them.
But the handwritten ones seem to have been done privately -- and kept that way -- perhaps being exhibited at home, similar to a cross-stitch framed and hung on a wall. Of course, it would be rather silly to hang a microscopic handwritten lord's prayer on a wall -- since it can't be seen -- or read -- without some type of visual magnification.
Even with that being the case, I always like to take an example or two with me when I am on the road lecturing. Most handwritten micro lords prayers are not quite small enough to require a very powerful microscope to view. Most can be seen and read through a high power magnifying lens, or a low power microscope.
In addition to being Smallest Handwriting in the World, the people who made these sometimes made them in very fanciful ways: with their handwriting being done in a circle, rather than line over line. Sometimes a small illustration would be in the center of the circle. I know of one example where the lords prayer was written in a circle, and the middle of circle contained a small drawing of a bell tower from a church.
(above photo): An example of the smallest handwriting in the world. It shows the lord's prayer hand written in a circle with a ink drawing of a church with bell towers. Approximately the size of a U.S. dime. Wonders of the Bible collection.
While the photographic and mechanically assisted lords prayers were used to show advancements made in miniaturization, these handwritten lords prayers seem to have been created just for the physical challenge of actually doing them.
Unlike their photographic and mechanically assisted cousins, there is not a lot of information available on the history of these handwritten examples. I do recall, however, at one time being told that someone used a paintbrush. But not any ordinary paintbrush. With this paintbrush, they would cut off all of the bristles except one. This remaining single brush hair would then be used for the writing. Imagine that!
There is one example of micro handwriting that the artist did sign, and that example was made by none other than the world-famous inventor Thomas Edison.
It is extraordinary that one of the greatest minds of the 19th and 20th century would choose the opening line of the Lord's Prayer for a micro handwriting sample. Edison's inventions, along with his improvements of others' inventions, changed the entire world ... including our world of the 21st century. Its rarity, the minute size of the handwriting, along with the chosen content, work together to make all other of Edison's more common, historical documents pale in comparison.
(above photo): Micro script Lord's Prayer (enlarged) hand written by Thomas Edison, and shown next to a U.S. dime for size comparison. Wonders of the Bible collection.
Thomas Edison is well known for his penmanship: practicing scripts and inventing typographical fonts for the printing press (Edison ran a printing press when in his youth). When one views the writing sample, one sees a line of something, but it is difficult to make out what that line is (other than a line). But view that line under a magnifying glass or microscope, and it enlarges into an astonishing line of the tiniest handwriting: "our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name" ... then signed underneath by Thomas Edison, in a micro script signature that very well may be the smallest autograph in the world. Ever.
Another aspect that makes this piece unique is the incredibly small handwriting that Edison utilized to execute the quote and autograph. Edison, being a constant learner who challenged himself on virtually all fronts of life, apparently learned the art of micro scripting -- writing at a near minuscule size -- simply for the challenge of it.
Which begs us to ask and to answer one question: "*WHY* did Thomas Edison write the Lord’s Prayer in micro script handwriting?".
For some, the thought of Thomas Edison choosing to use the opening line of the Lord's Prayer for a micro handwriting exemplar would seem a bit outlandish. While never disrespectful, the late, great inventor / scientist / titan of industry was well known to harbor a bit of disdain for religion, in all forms, and was not reluctant to express it either vocally or in print. For the curious, a simple query of any search engine will bring up scores of quotes of Edison and his thoughts on religion in general.
On the one hand, it could be said that Edison chose the Lord's Prayer solely to dip his toe in the micro miniaturization waters. Since it was the de facto exemplar used by so many others, it was the one he chose as well. The practice itself was more a competition between scientists and technicians than in the entertainment of a general populace. Each trying to “out small” the other.
(above photo): Micro Lord's Prayer hand written by Thomas Edison, authenticated, PSA/DNA #83790641 certified, and vacuum encapsulated for life. Wonders of the Bible collection.
On the other hand, perhaps there had been Divine providence at work behind his decision and his pen: that a scarcely-known (until present), single handwriting exemplar would follow his historical name far into the future. After all, something drove him to write it in the first place. It wasn't for mass reproduction or for monetary income generation -- there is only one known example. Taking his quotes on the subject (religion) into consideration, it doesn't seem as if he would write something -- and sign it -- that he felt so strongly against (providing that is the case in the first place). The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.
Now, keep in mind, that Thomas Edison not only wrote the opening to the Lord's Prayer (as above), but did what many others before him did not do: he signed his name to it in his own hand (It is well known that Edison was very particular about his signature, and "redesigned" it several times throughout different times of his life). Many others, such as the early microphotographer John Benjamin Dancer did include their name. But it was part of the art work content of the slide photographic image, and also part of the label on the slide (in many cases, just initials, such as J.B.D., etc.). In this case of Thomas Edison, it may very well be the smallest signature autograph in the world. "
(above photo): Retired holographer and Wonders of the Bible founder and collector Frank DeFreitas examines the micro handwritten Lord's Prayer made by Thomas Edison.
In closing, when taking everything into consideration, one thing is certain: when Edison set out to do something, he did it with gusto. And that gusto is how we have the world's smallest handwritten micro script of the Lord's Prayer today. Brought to you by the hand and pen of Thomas Edison … and others.
Imagine what it would be like to try and make one of these handwritten lords prayers. I would like to challenge parents, Sunday school, schools and home school teachers to give it a try with their children and students. Show them the beautiful examples from the 19th and 20th centuries found on the web page ... and challenge them -- using only their talents and own methods -- to create their very own world's smallest handwritten Lord's Prayers!
Once again, my name is Frank DeFreitas, and may God bless you today -- and everyday -- AND -- REMEMBER -- to always love others, just as Jesus Christ loves you.
"Science is the study of the physical manifestations of God in action."
-- Frank DeFreitas (Click Here for BIO)
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Thomas Edison and his Micro Lord's Prayer
Click or tap on the above photo to visit a web page dedicated to the Edison microscopic hand written Lord's Prayer... [READ MORE...]