Blackletter numerals

George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 617
edited October 2019 in History of Typography
I've never had much of an interest in blackletter types until I came across one from ca. 1860-80 recently. I took a liking to it and researching it led me to a discovery which I cannot find an answer to.
Namely: why did many -- if not all -- American foundries not include design-sensitive numbers in their blackletter fonts in that early era?
I saw numerous examples of blackletter in use with Arabic numbers (frequently oldstyle) but even then there was no consistency in the fonts used. Later on -- mid/late 1870s -- some foundries began to make an attempt to include somewhat design-sensitive numbers but not all were well done.
Any information or opinions are most welcome.


  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 716
    edited October 2019
    Maybe because the focus was on historical and not design sensitivity? AFAIK, Roman numerals had not come into their present form until after the Renaissance, and the printers were probably unsure if they should invent something that might actually have been Latin numerals (I, II, X and so on), or stick to something familiar. Or maybe there were different standards for numerals in the countries that forsake using blackletter and the ones who did not.
    I am following this thread.
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