94th, NO DOUBT

This apartment building at 3rd Avenue and East 94th Street leaves no doubt about what the cross-street is.

Looking at this sign, I think about typographic styles, especially the one used for the ‘9.’ It occurs to me that no one writes or creates number 9’s like this anymore, typographically speaking, with that especially small doughnut hole in the top part of the number. If you go to the 96th Street Broadway subway station (built in 1904) you also find 9’s like this. It just went out of style.

How many of you, when writing, make 4’s like this? In grade school when the nuns taught us to write, the other way, a letter L with an I through it, seemed to be the preferred method, but I always made 4’s like this, since you never have to lift the pencil or pen off the paper to do it.

Is there such a thing as fashion in writing styles?


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5 Responses to 94th, NO DOUBT

  1. Joe Fliel says:

    “Is there such a thing as fashion in writing styles?”

    I guess Linear B text would qualify. That writing style went out of fashion right after Santorini volcano exploded and cancelled the Minoan civilization.

  2. Dan S. says:

    The two dots under the line under the “th” are another thing that would never be done today. I wonder why it was done then.

  3. Allan Rosen says:

    Speaking of old writing styles, does anyone know why Vs were used instead of Us?

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      The U and V (and I and J) did not differentiate till the Middle Ages. Sculptors have favored the V, at first, because it’s easier to render, and later, since it adds sort of a sophisticated air.

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