Nothing is more important to the average bookkeeper or office clerk than good figures. In many lines of accounting, thousands of business figures are made without the writing of a single word.
This, in a measure, is true in many branches of statistical work connected with railroad bookkeeping where headings are printed and page after page is filled with figures. The first requisite is legibility, and its importance cannot be emphasized too much. Letters in a word may be known by the context, but each figure must depend upon itself for legibility. It is very important, then, that each figure should be so formed that its value, in groups or by itself, cannot be mistaken.
An Object-Lesson, For Study
Through the adoption of the Palmer Method figures, made small and well within the spaces, the New England Telephone Co. has reduced errors of its employes to a minimum, and saved thousands of dollars a year.
Figures should be made small; students sometimes think that large figures are necessarily plainer, but such is not the case. Examine carefully the diagram. At the left are figures that are absolutely plain; one could not be mistaken for another, and yet their extreme size in the small spaces makes them difficult to read. At the right are the same figures, no more perfect, but not so large. Please note carefully that these, surrounded by white paper, and much smaller, are more legible, even at a distance, than the large figures at the left.
Students who have practiced in copy-books almost invariably make figures three or four times too large. Our models are large enough for ordinary use. If occasion demands, it will be easy to make them larger. One-eighth of an inch is perhaps high enough for ordinary figures, while in some places it will be an advantage to make them even smaller.
How to Practice
In making figure one, draw the hand toward you with a quick light motion, sliding on the third and fourth fingers. Uniformity in the height and slant are the two important points to observe.
The development and application of a lateral oval motion will aid in the construction of figure two. In making it in class drill a count of three should be used, thus — one, two, three, one, two, three, etc., or dot, two, three.
Notice the exercise preceding figure 3 in lesson 65. The motion used in that exercise will produce a good figure if properly applied.
One, two, three, or dot, two, three, is the count used. A count of three is used in figures four and five also, but for figures six, seven, and nine, use a count of two.
Several lessons should be given to drilling on the figures singly before grouping them, but as soon as the forms are mastered and the student can make them at a fair rate of speed, it is best to drill in miscellaneous order somewhat as follows: 1, 0, 2, 6, 9, 8, 5, 4, 3, 0, 9, 6, 7, 2, 2, 8, 9, 3, 5, 6, 9, 1, 5, 8, 6, 9, 5, 4, 6, 9, 3, 7, 8, etc. No particular order is necessary, but the aim should be to repeat one as often as another.