Ernie Pyle's Typewriter

By The History Detectives Team
3 February 2009
Category: Viewer Mailbag

Since we first aired our story on Ernie Pyle's typewriter, many of you have written us to comment on the comparison of the type. All great observations. Stephen Hull described it well. Read his letter:

In the comparison of type section of this segment I saw something that I saw many times over the 40 years I worked for the government. Prior to computers (and even after for some oldtimers), the lower case 'l' was used as 1 within text, especially in dates. If I recall the example given was a date in April, 1945, so no the two were not the same, however the 'l' in April was the same as the 'l' in "l945". When I inquired about this to some of the folks who were still working in the 70's and 80's, they said that that was the way they had been taught. Indeed, I found several examples of this in searching old documents to answer questions that were sent in via e-mail about historical data and information. When scanning these items into the computer, this would show up often. This would require extensive time in editing and correcting the online document. Just thought I would pass this on, if it hasn't already been.

Stephen Hull
USGS, Retired

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