Major Beniowski and the Major System

I know this was several posts ago but I disagree with this name. I talk about phonetic systems all the time and I don’t just mean the major system. The Ben System is also a system that uses phonetics and I’m sure there’s other systems that could be made using phonetics.

Is this a previously unseen Beniowski book? His book: Genesis in Major Beniowski’s or Phrenotypic Orthograpy stored here:

Refers to another book called The Handbook of Phrenotypics which looks completely different to any of the other Major Beniowski books I could find on the internet.

The stamp on the book refers to the British Museum which is a copyright library so the book must have been published in the UK. I looked in the catalogue for the Bodleian library in Oxford which is also a copyright library but there is not a copy of it there. Does anybody know anything about this book?

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Interesting – I don’t think I’ve seen that one.

I haven’t read it, but it can be downloaded on the free PDF books about memory techniques page.

I did look on the pdf download page but that seems to be the handbook for students and teachers, and judging by the table of contents seems to be a different beastie

Do you think there might be another, separate book? When I skim the PDF, the headers are the same as in that screenshot of the table of contents.

I think it could be a different book Josh. The table of contents in the image shown matches the main sections in the handbook but it then refers to a whole load of practical applications which are not mentioned in the handbook.

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Interesting. I wonder if there are any copies somewhere.

I wonder too. None of the few beniowski books I have seen in the last few weeks have a table of contents like that and yet the suggestion is that book was in circulation. Do you know of any other beniowski psfs sort from this site, goggle books, Internet archive, and scribd?

I searched a few times but didn’t find any.

This one can be found online. But it’s simply a paraphrase of the biblical book of Genesis using Major Beniowski’s—in my opinion—bizarre shorthand spelling. (That’s apparently what’s meant by “phrenotypic orthograpy.”) I’m assuming I’d need to start with an earlier book of his to understand what it is he’s hoping to accomplish, but at first glance I just don’t get it.


Josh, can I be pushy and ask again if you’ve looked into Bruno Furst?

He was well-known in the UK, but apparently not elsewhere. As far as I can tell, he was teaching the “Major” system before Lorayne (though they’re certainly close in time).

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I don’t think I have any of his books.

Is there anyone here who has any of his books or other materials who could check?

I don’t think I have a PDF version, but I have 2 copies of one of his books. I’d be happy to send you one.

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It seems that Furst’s ‘Memory and Concentration Studies’ was founded in 1929. His book, ‘You CAN Remember’ was first published in 1939.

That seems to place him before Lorayne?

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I used to own one of Bruno Furst’s books. Pretty sure it was Stop Forgetting. (Hmmm. Maybe I still do. I will look around when I have the time.) Truth be told, I didn’t find his methods interesting. They seemed rather primitive. Anyway, as far as I recall, he wasn’t using anything like the Major system. It has been a long time since I looked at the book. I would be curious to know if there is something I would find useful if I looked at it with fresh (albeit much older) eyes.

As for Harry Lorayne, I learned the Major system from his books. That said, I am not really sure whether or not he ever called it the Major system. Somehow, I had the impression he did call it that at some point or other, but I wouldn’t swear to it. As far as I know, he is still alive–in his 90’s.



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I’ve not read ‘Stop Forgetting,’ but both ‘The Practical Way to a Better Memory’ and his correspondence course teach the Major system.

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It’s very possible that he did mention the Major system in Stop Forgetting and that I have been misremembering all this time. I just ran upstairs to check if the book is still in my library, but I didn’t see it. Probably threw it out. Too bad, because now I am curious.

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Thanks, I have a backlog of other memory books that I’ll probably get to before that one. I might pick up an ebook at some point just to flip through it and check though.

This page refers to it as “‘the hook method’ for remembering numbers”:

PROFILE of Dr. Bruno Furst, a memory expert, mental telepathist, hypnotist, & professional graphologist, & founder of the School of Memory & Concentration. Dr. Furst is the author of two books, “Use Your Head,” and “How to Remember.” He has worked out a dozen or so new methods of teaching mnemonics. Tells about the “chain method,” which, according to mnemonic historians was invented by a Greek poet, Simonides, circa 500 B. C. The “hook method,” for remembering numbers, has been in process of development ever since 1492, when a German scholar Conradus Celter conceived the idea of using letters & numbers as an aid to memory. Dr. Furst practiced law in pre-Hitler Germany, & remembered the entire German Civil Code. Article mentions the only other mnemonist in this country, a Mr. Nutt, inventor of the Nutt Mental Filing System.

I don’t think I’ve heard of Conradus Celter. Does anyone know anything about his number system?

A book entitled, ‘Memory Culture,’ states:

‘Celetes promoted a system which achieved much success and which was practically a modification of Simonides’ plan except that letters of the alphabet were used instead of the apartments of the Greek poet’s system.’

Maybe some kind of Letter-Shape system?

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It sounds like some kind of alphabet peg list system. Shapes are one way to do it.