The First Known Ambigram(1893)

The first known non-natural ambigram was created in 1893.

The picture below was created in 1893 by Peter Newell as the last page in his book “Topsys and Turvys”. It read “THE END” normally and when inverted became the word “PUZZLE”.

Although Peter Newell was better known for his children’s books and for his illustrations for Lewis Carroll and Mark Twain than he was for his ambigrams, he published 2 books of illustrations of invertible designs ( where the picture (and text) turn into a completely different image when turned upside down

History of Ambigrams:

Dan Brown states in his novel “Angels and Demons” that ambigram words are four hundred years old. However, the known historical data is actually much shorter.
One of the earliest published ambigrams (June, 1908)
Here are the known milestones in ambigram creation history:

Ø  1893 First known ambigram published by Peter Newell (THE END / PUZZLE)
Ø  1902 Second known ambigram published by Peter Newell (THE END / PUZZLE2)
Ø  1908 The Strand publishes 10 custom ambigrams by four different artists
Ø  1964 Peter Jones and Douglas Hofstadter start creating ambigrams
Ø  1965 Dmitri Borgmann reprints ambigrams from The Strand, calling them “vertical palindromes”
Ø  1969 Raymond Loewy creates NEW MAN logo
Ø  1972 Tom Carnase creates 72
Ø  1974 John Langdon creates STARSHIP ambigram logo
Ø  1974 Robert Petrick creates Canned Heat and Non Sense logos (receiving a Philadelphia Art Directors’ award in 1975)
Ø  1975-1976 U&lc magazine publishes ambigrams by Petrick and Langdon, starting with SANTA/ELVES by Petrick in June, 1975 issue
Ø  1975 DMC, the logo for the De Lorean Motor Company, first used
Ø  1975 Robert Petrick creates the ANGEL ambigram logo
Ø  1976 Angel (the band) starts using Angel ambigram (through 1992)
Ø  1976 Jefferson Starship uses Starship ambigram
Ø  1979 OMNI publishes ambigrams by Scott Kim in Scot Morris’s “Games” column
Ø  1979 Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter, published, with 3-D ambigrams on the cover
Ø  1980 OMNI publishes ambigrams by Langdon and Petrick
Ø  1981 Scientific American publishes ambigrams by Scott Kim in Martin Gardner’s Mathematical Games column
Ø  1981 “Inversions: A Catalog of Calligraphic Cartwheels” by Kim is published
Ø  1984 Douglas Hofstadter coins the term “ambigram
Ø  1987 The book “Ambigrammi” is published (in Italian) by Hofstadter
Ø  1992 Wordplay: Ambigrams and Reflections on the Art of Ambigrams by Langdon is published
Ø  2000 Angels & Demons by Dan Brown is published
Ø  2008 Development of the Glyphusion ambigram generator is complete, enabling anyone to create ambigrams using a web browser.
Ø  2009 The movie adaptation of “Angels & Demons” is released, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks

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Blogger nagfa said...

Hi, I think you have the post title year wrong.. Should read 1893 instead..?

we design ambigrams..


May 12, 2009 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Monies said...

I'm so sorry Nagfa..i changed it... thanks for informing :)

May 16, 2009 at 10:58 AM  

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