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Remembered Today:

Writing 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - older generation please


Aurel Sercu
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Sorry if this is a ridiculous question.

Regarding something in a piece of research I have been doing ...

My problem is related to digits in army documents, burial returns, all sorts of forms etc. that maybe have been misread, misinterpreted ...

I would appreciate if someone would take the trouble to do this :

Could you write (write ! handwriting) the digits 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 , the way you normally write them.

Please do not make an effort to write neatly. Just "spontaneously".

If someone else in your family (house) would offer to do the same, I have no objections.

Then, could you scan the sheet of paper, or take a photo, and post it ?

And : only British members. (Sorry, Australia, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Kazachstan, Japan, ...)

The reason I am asking is that I know that we here (in Flanders) write our digits differently (I think even differently from Holland.) And Australians, Canadians etc. may even have their own notions of calligraphy ? But again : do not think too much while doing it, and do not go to great lengths to make a clear distinction between certain digits.

And I would appreciate if only or especially the older generation would respond. The reason being that maybe (?) in the UK the younger generation writes their digits differently from the older generation. It would be perfect if a Forum member born in the first decade of the 20th century responded, by I am afraid my hopes are a little (little ?) too high.

Anyway, this is my example. First line is my own handwriting (70), second line is my wife's. (Should you be thinking now : this definitely looks younger ! Yes, it does. More than 7 months ! :-) )

Aurel

post-92-0-76609400-1439570925_thumb.jpg

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The British (and probably also Canadians, Australians etc) rarely cross a 7, and a 1 is very often simply a straight line.

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Having moved to France some 36 years ago, my figures look more like yours than any "Anglo-Saxon" person's.

Cheers Martin B

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When I started school in the early 50s I was taught to write 1 as a simple straight line (I) and 7 as a plain 7 without a cross. My son was taught to put a hook on the 1 and a cross on the 7 so my age is apparent. I have to add that my parents born in 1905 and 1908 were taught to write numbers exactly the same as myself and my older sisters. The papers I have in the handwriting of my Grandfather born in 1874 show that numbers that he had written are similar to my parents and myself.

Anne

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Identical to LF in Post #4

I'd never seen or heard of the quaint continental habit of writing down 7 when you actually mean I, and then crossing it out when you actually mean 7, until "Jeux Sans Frontieres" aired on BBC1 in the late 1960s.

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Mine would also be virtually identical to LF's, except that I would make the vertical straight part of the 5 a bit longer. More like the printed 5, in fact.

In the Great War period, many British Army clerks would have written a loop at the beginning of the 2, as in your and your wife's examples.

Ron

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My numbers. However, I'm afraid I wasn't born in the first half of the 20th century, but the school taught old-fashioned handwriting.

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Gwyn

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At school - 1930/40s - I wrote a straight figure one, a closed figure four, and the figure seven with a horizontal bar at the top. I still do a straight figure one, but for reasons I forget I have done an open figure four for many

years. In the sixties, working in an airline and making out Load Sheets (weight and balance) for aircraft before computers came in, it became important that the figure seven should not be mistaken for a figure one with a diagonal at the top, so I have used the halfwaydown crossbar ever since.

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Something I've noticed previously beside the obvious 1 and 7 differences is the number 4.

The 4s written by Aurel + wife I see commonly written by my continental (mainly Germanic) friends, where the horizontal stroke does not cross the rightmost vertical.

The English either write a 4 like that is post #4 or like that in posts #8 & #9. The former can be done without lifting the pen off the page, the latter needs a lift (the only number requiring a lift if written that way).

I'm a lifter!

Does the English 4 "lift" or "no lift" style say something about oneself?

Is the "Germanic" style 4 done with a lift or not?

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Does the English 4 "lift" or "no lift" style say something about oneself?

In my case some of it is to do with initially learning a very dated looped cursive style (which was out of fashion everywhere else but my primary school) and moving to a primary school where italic was expected. Hence the italic 4 and the 9 with the curled-round descender. My handwriting includes is really a hybrid with my own personalisation. I don't suppose many of us of whatever age write in the way we wrote when we were at school.

It also has to do with what instrument you are using to write. I normally use a fountain pen (not with the example above, though) which makes you slow down and take care, so your writing ends up beautiful! I never use a biro.

Gwyn

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Perhaps some numerals written nearer the time will help.handwriting has certainly changed a lot since the war. Bear in mind that these are from a diary written in the field.

An oldy but not that old!

Bob

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Wow, I am impressed !

What a pleasant surprise when I switched on my pc this morning !

Thanks,

David

Martin

LF

Anne (actually, my case is County Down too !)

Dai Bach

Ron

Peter

Gwyn

Lancepack

Russ (the lifter)

Battiscombe (1928 indeed is the period I am interested in !)

and Bob

Maybe I should have opened a topic for each of the 10 digits. :-) For they all have something interesting. (Like e.g. the way to write an 8 : I (Flemish) start clockwise, but somehow I remember the Dutch do it counter-clockwise. But this actuaully has nothing to do with my case / problem.)

I could have mentioned it in my opening posting, but what I am interested in specifically is the difference between 4 and 9. (But if I had mentioned that, I am afraid that those who wrote the digits would have made a special effort, which I did not want. Hence I asked for the 10 digids, and this revealed interesting aspects.)

My problem (in my research) is that I think that someone (in the 1920s) wrote a 9 that later by someone was interpreted as a 4. (With serious consequences)

Battiscombe (# 13) gave a list (from 1928 !) that shows all the digits. And there is a very clear difference between the 4 and the 9. Yet I think that some may have used a 4 and a 9 that was less different. And I am thinking now of what Peter (Mebu #8) wrote for his 4. A closed 4, a non-lifter. True, his 4 has a pointed top, and a not so long vertical line down. But I remember that years ago someone (British, my age) wrote the same set of digits for me, and his 4 was not pointed, but rounder, and his vertical line was longer, making his 4 almost look like his 9. And that happens to be what I am interested in in the first place. But again,, # 13 shows a very distinct difference.

Should someone come across a document from the 1920s containing both 4 and 9 in which the difference is less striking, I'd be interested !

Thanks again all of you. Very much appreciated.

Aurel

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You could also consider the effect of which writing implement is being used at the time. A nib pen will surely be different to a ball-point and a pencil with the added friction will ad its own characteristics. I suspect up-strokes are sometimes avoided with the nib pen (especially a worn one), but no problem with a ball point.

Oz.

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Thanks, Oz, I understand, it makes sense indeed.

But ... I have no idea what writing implement the young was using at the time. And I will never know. Because the document ... does not exist anymore. :-(

Nib pen ... Ball-point pen ... Pencil ... ? What implement was used in County Down by working class people, for a more or less official document ?...

Yet, now that I think of it, other documents written by the same family (other members) used ink. (That is a nib pen, isn't it ?)

Aurel

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I mentioned the use of a fountain pen in post #12. I still use my grandfather's fountain pen [nib pen] which I am certain he used in the period of the Great War. It's somewhat battered but writes beautifully. He was from a modest family (Welsh miners) and they were not affluent. If he is typical, therefore, a fountain pen was used by working class people. I also have my husband's grandfather's diaries and letters from the entire period 1914 - 1950s, and his fiancée/later wife's letters to him from the same period. All those are written in fountain pen, unless he was using a pencil. Again, her family was not wealthy: the fiancée was from a deprived, working class area of London and she was poorly educated.

People may also have had a nib pen which they dipped into an ink pot. This was how pupils wrote by hand on paper in schools.

The other issue which affects how letters are formed is handedness (left handed / right handed) . Writing with wet ink from left to right with your left hand is a trial. People make modifications to avoid smudges and smears.

Gwyn

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Mine is much like post #4 except I cross my 7s. This was taught early in my job in IT when we had to send code for the punch ops to enter and they needed to clearly differentiate between shaky 1s and a true 7. (RPG II in the late 80's)

For a while I also used to vertically cross through my zeroes to differentiate from O's.

Norrette

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Gwyn,

"People may also have had a nib pen which they dipped into an ink pot. This was how pupils wrote by hand on paper in schools."

This makes me feel so nostalgic ... No, I was not born in the beginning of last century, but had my primary school time in the 1950s. Just remembering how the ink pot in our two person desk had to be rinsed from time to time in a bucket in front of the classroom (after asking permission from the teacher of course) ... And mine had to be cleaned and rinsed very often. For my neighbour used to put (living !) flies in it, that tried to crawl out and ... etc. (!)

Sorry if it seems that I am hijacking my own thread ! But what other topic can I write about my neighbour putting living flies in our ink pot ?!

High time someone opened a Topic "Did you ever put living flies in an ink pot ?". I have been waiting for that ever since I joined the GWF. :)

***

Thanks, Norette.

The 7 looking like our 1 can be a little confusing. (Except of course when in the same number.)

By the way, I am wondering now how things are in other but non Anglo-Saxon countries ...

Aurel

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Mine would look most closely to Dragon's - except that I do an "open" 4 and a straight vertical on the 9.

Born in 1950, if that helps.

John

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Thanks, John,

I am beginning to believe that "normally" there was a clear distinction between a 4 (normally open) and a 9.

Additional question. Look at this.

5th line, 1st column : I think this is a 7. Am I right ?

Bottom line; 2nd columns : is this a 2 ?

Aurel

post-92-0-75443900-1439644275_thumb.jpg

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I have just received a very very old Highway Code, complete with my name, Scout Troop, Patrol and rank inscribed several times thereon. Only one number appears, "8", and I suppose an 8 is an 8 is an 8.

Beyond that, there is virtually no similarity to my current hand, as I taught myself a form of italic to make my adult essays [for my job] more legible. The other factor is a total of 14 years service in Germany, so my 1s and 7s are pseudo Germanic.

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A search using the word "handwritten" on the Europeana website yields alphabet and numbers from every country and era. It may be too broad for your purposes though.

Dave

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The bottom line, second column looks to me to be like a 3 that has been crossed though (like the 6 and 8 above it have been). If you take the away the crossing out, I think that you'll be left with a 3 that looks like the 3 of the number 38 in the first line, first column.

I'm not sure about the 5th line, 1st column. If it weren't for the bottom bar I'd say it was definitely 7. I'm thinking though that it may have started off as a 7 then altered to represent a 2.

Regards

Chris

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