What is it about the ampersand? Is it the sweet, sexy curves? The uniqueness of the shape or perhaps it’s simply the nostalgia of the symbol itself? Whatever it is about the ampersand, one thing I know is that I am slightly obsessed with it.
Recently I came across Ampersand & Ampersand, a blog celebrating the beauty of the ampersand, each and every day. This got me thinking (always dangerous), what exactly is this exotic lovely symbol and where the heck did it come from? So I put on my cute little research hat and started digging.
It turns out that the symbol “&” is derived from the ligature of ET or et, which is the Latin word for “and.”
The term ampersand derived from Traditional English Alphabet in which a letter that could be used by itself, such as “A,” “I,” and at one point, “O” was preceded by the Latin expression “per se,” which means “by itself.” Also, it was common practice to add the “&” (pronounced “and”) symbol at the end of the alphabet. Therefore, the alphabet would end in “X, Y, Z and per se and.” If you say it out loud you can hear how when said quickly, or slurred it would sound like “ampersand.” By around 1837 the term had made it’s way into common English usage. Huh… who knew?
Knowing the origin of something seems to make me appreciate it even more and now I want to own more of them… Here are a few that I would like to get my hands on.
From House Industries, Cast Iron Ampersand: $250
Also from House Industries, Womans Ampersand Tee: $20
From a very creative jewelry designer, on Etsy.com: $74
(oh this would look so very lovely around my neck…)
So maybe I don’t want to literally “get my hands on” this one, but I HAD to share it. Who thought of this? And one more question…did they eat it afterward?
(I found it at http://www.buzzfeed.com/scott/spampersand/)