Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Caron and Tilde

I know my readers are all hungry for information on the typographic symbol for the reverse of a coin. No luck yet.

Unrelated to coins, but today I was reading Known Anomalies in Unicode Character Names. It's a list of the mistakes the worlds smartest experts on alphabets made when writing down the names of the characters.

A note under 'Caron' (inverted hat on some Czech letters) says "The term 'caron' is suspected by some to be an invention of some early standards body, but it has also been claimed by others to have been in use at Linotype before the days of digital typography. Its true origin may be lost in the mists of time." By mists of time, they mean the 1980s! Wikipedia has details.

It reminded me of a similar story, the history of the tilde. The famous squiggle character, ~, which existed for hundreds of years in Spanish to indicate a different n and is on every keyboard, was only born in 1963! It is not much older than I.

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