Structure of the numeral 4 in older type specimens.

sevenfingers's picture

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? :)

Miss Tiffany's picture

Perhaps it was an obsession with stencils? Or they were used to the idea of stencils.

hrant's picture

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?


sevenfingers's picture

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. :)


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