Structure of the numeral 4 in older type specimens.

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Richard Wikstrom's picture
Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 2:35am
Structure of the numeral 4 in older type specimens.
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I got my hands on a type specimen book from 1889 and liked it alot. One thing confused me though and I was hoping for some help from my dear typophiles.

Almost every single ‘4’ was drawn in this fashion(excuse my sloppy modification… but something along the lines of this):


sloppy four


Notice the angular cut, I can’t remember seeing this in any recent design, or any ‘traditional’ (besides in this very specimen book) typeface for that matter either. ‘Regular’ 4’s are AFAIK either closed or drawn with a cut that is not angular but horizontal.

Is this still used today, was it popular before, yaddfa yadda… please shed some light over my neophyte type knowledge. will ya? :)

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Joined: 13 Jul 2001 - 11:00am
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Perhaps it was an obsession with stencils? Or they were used to the idea of stencils.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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One advantage of this design is that it might be the only way to make a decent open “4” that can maintain its structure in darker weights. Do the specimens include darker weigths?

hhp

Richard Wikstrom's picture
Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 2:35am
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Tifanny, yeah… that would be a plausible explanation if there were more characters looking like this, but it was limited only to the 4’s.

Hrant, yes, some of them. Quite a few were bold in their original cuts also.

Anyway, I’m not negative about it or anything, I was just surprised that it was so common. :)

Thanks.