Re: U+25CA LOZENGE - why is it in the "Mac OS Roman" character set (and therefore widespread in current fonts)?

From: John W Kennedy <>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 19:31:10 -0400

On Aug 13, 2012, at 11:18 AM, Doug Ewell <> wrote:

> Karl Pentzlin <karl dash pentzlin at acssoft dot de> wrote:
>> My intent is to get information *why* the character was considered
>> that important at that time to be included into an 8-bit character set
>> with its limited space. The problem I am confronted with is that this
>> character shares its German name "Raute" with the "#", and I have to
>> consider any historical use of the (real) lozenge when describing
>> the "#" in a keyboard-related German publication I have to make.
> Every character has a story, and this one has probably been told often,
> but the lozenge is used in accounting applications to represent a
> subtotal. It goes back to punched card codes, where it was originally
> intended to be "meaningless" (see Mackenzie) but quickly acquired the
> subtotal meaning.

Ca. 1955, my father's secretary's 10-key, tape-printing, adding machine (judging from the aesthetics, I'd put it about 1950), used the diamond lozenge for subtotal, and the square lozenge for total. On the other hand, ca. 1959, the diamond lozenge was not found on the widely used IBM 1401 computer, but the square lozenge was. The same is true of the 1949 IBM 407, the last and best of IBM's sub-computer machines.

John W Kennedy
"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected."
  -- G. K. Chesterton
Received on Wed Aug 15 2012 - 18:34:05 CDT

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