William Addison Dwiggins

quadibloc's picture

The name sounded familiar.

He is the designer of the famous typefaces Caledonia and Metro.

But today I encountered his name in quite another connection.

In junior high school, in the textbooks we used reflecting the "New Math", there was a reference to symbols for "dek" and "el", representing the duodecimal digits having the values of ten and eleven.

As it turned out, it was W. A. Dwiggins, who was also an advocate for the use of base-12 instead of decimal, who invented those symbols. Dek, the symbol for ten, is like a capital X, but with the upper left to lower right bar curling over outwards at the ends. El, the symbol for eleven, is an upside-down 3 (the style with a top like that of the 7).

hrant's picture

Didn't know that - interesting! WAD was indeed a special person.


PublishingMojo's picture

Now best remembered as a type designer, WAD was highly regarded in his day (1880-1956) as a designer and illustrator of books and book jackets, too. He wrote serious prose and satire, and in his spare time, he wrote plays which he staged in his garage, with all the parts played by marionettes that he designed and carved himself.

russellm's picture

cite>El, the symbol for eleven, is an upside-down 3 (the style with a top like that of the 7).

upside down - Rotated 180° or flipped?

quadibloc's picture

Rotated 180 degrees.

Here is a link.


John Hudson's picture

Has anyone designed a symbol for the entertainingly named 'doh', a.k.a. 12?

hrant's picture

Of course. It's an emoji of Homer Simpson.


Té Rowan's picture

@russellm – I think that style of '3' is called 'French'.

quadibloc's picture

Here is an image. As for doh, that is, of course, 10.

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