Pilcrow sign

hannum's picture

Hi Typophiles!

I was wondering about the origins and the further development of the so called pilcrow sign. All that i found was this small text. Does anybody of you know more about the "clenched fist with the index finger extended, pointing right"?
How it looked like in the different epochs and how it was used?
Thanks!

hannum


kentlew's picture

I've never heard the "fist" explanation. It sounds suspicious to me. There is a history of printer's fists with fingers pointing, used to draw attention, but I believe these derive from the 19th century and have never heard of them having anything to do with the pilcrow or paragraph mark.

The pilcrow began as an ornate form of the letter 'C' -- for "capitulum" -- and marked the head of an argument or thesis. You can see this form still in use in typefaces like Centaur which are based on the earliest type forms.

I don't recall exactly the evolution toward the current "backward P" form, but Hrant might have the references handy. Do you still have a copy of Parkes, Hrant?

-- Kent.

hrant's picture

No, they recalled it. But before turning it in I copied the important parts... :-)

On the other hand, thanks to the miracle of searchable online archives, I can just point:
http://www.typophile.com/forums/messages/29/1486.html
Starting about 40% down.

hhp

aschmidt's picture

if this helps with your research, i've also read printer's fists referred to as "bishops fists" (baseline magazine No 37, page 34). also on page 43-44 of rick poynor's book typographica, an article in a 1953 issue of herbert spencer's magazine of the same name entitled, "a show of hands" by charles hasler about printer's fists is references; the book reproduces a portion of this article, including some beautiful examples of fists and their origins, and if your eyesight is good you can read a some of this article, which includes a discussion on how "the only outstanding designer to turn his attention to the design of fists has been Eric Gill..." the issue of the magazine itself i suspect would be very difficult to track down... (i've checked on ebay for old copies of the magazine, no luck). anyways, that's all i can think of for now. ciau!

hrant's picture

> the issue of the magazine itself i suspect
> would be very difficult to track down...

Yes it is - most issues of Typographica are pretty rare.
After half a dozen ILL requests at UCLA, I still haven't gotten my hands on all of them.

hhp

bieler's picture

Hrant

I have a collection of Typographica, or at least the first eleven (the box says 1-11). How many were there? Which do you want to see?

Gerald

hrant's picture

Wow.
New Series or Old Series? If you're not sure, the dates will tell.
BTW, both series were 16 issues each. Binary coincidence, or binary awareness?...

hhp

bieler's picture

Hrant

Apparently I only have the new series, but there are sixteen of them.

Gerald

aschmidt's picture

anyone have doubles? would be interested...

Isaac's picture

has it come to this? any mention of mr. connare deserves anonymous posting?
it's just the one font no one likes, not him. now, about those pilcrows...

anonymous's picture

I do believe that Vince Connare wrote something about this while at Reading.

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