Yesterday I made a pointless observation that was news to me. Most clocks and watches with Roman numerals employ IIII instead of Ⅳ for the number 4. Here’s an example on one of my favourite Seiko watches:
Ivars Peterson had a great blog post about it:
There are many stories about why IIII appears so often as a replacement for IV on clocks but no definitive explanation. The tradition apparently has a long history and may even go back to sundials. […] I tend to like the explanations that appeal to symmetry.
Naturally it attracted a comment like this, with a delightful punctuation mistake presumably bourne of the same ignorance for which he espouses contempt:
Peoples [sic] ignorance astounds me.
Here are some more interesting factoids:
The Unicode number forms block has a character for Ⅳ, but not IIII.
Apple never released a follow-up to the III, but I imagine it would have stirred quite the debate as to how to name it given Steve’s penchant for typography.
IIII looks more like a barcode than the word itself does, or Ⅳ for that matter.