In maths, double-struck letters are used every day. Today I’ve found out they have a quite interesting history. From the Wikipedia article:
[Blackboard bold] originated from the attempt to write bold letters on blackboards in a way that clearly differentiated them from non-bold letters, and then made its way back in print form as a separate style from ordinary bold, possibly starting with the original 1965 edition of Gunning and Rossi's textbook on complex analysis. Some mathematicians, therefore, do not recognize blackboard bold as a separate style from bold: Jean-Pierre Serre, for example, has publicly inveighed against the use of "blackboard bold" anywhere other than on a blackboard, and uses double-struck letters when writing bold on the blackboard.
And from another [[https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/comp.text.tex/Vb0DuA...|discussion]]:
[Such] symbols were first used in polycopied/mimeographed notes, and similar materials prepared on typewriters. Although (as I recently mentioned in another thread in c.t.t) there was at least one office typewriter (an Olympia) for sale by the mid 1960s with a built-in "poor man's bold" doublestrike function, for a long time--until the era of Typ-It insertible type bars, and not too much later the IBM Executive and Selectric lines of typewriters--about the best that could easily be done to fake "bold" was to overstrike an uppercase I (or a single quote) on your R or C. Given a Selectric, one had the further option of doublestriking your R, C, Z, Q, or N with a slight offset (this involved manual intervention with the device that carried the "golf-ball" type element, and was very hard to do consistently).