The poet’s hand flew down the page,
For now that he’d reached middle age,
Words came swiftly to this sage,
And earned for him a handsome wage.
Suddenly — as if in rage —
His muse flew from her gilded cage.
The poet feared his script for stage
Would never see the light of day.
Radio on his coffee table,
Played a mellow jazz label,
“Jazzman, jazzman, make me able,
To complete my naughty fable!”
Mister jazzman seemed to hear,
Likewise the audio engineer,
“Heart & Soul” in the poet’s ear,
Made his sweet muse reappear.
Hearing that old song so dear
Helped the poet persevere —
Or Ampersand, your presence near,
Is that what made his words adhere?
Ampersand or music label,
Something served as jumper cable,
For now under garret gable,
Tonys on his coffee table.
“The Poet” ©2017 Nancy Upper
Jazz ampersand designed in 1992 by Alan Meeks
In 1992, British designer Alan Meeks designed Jazz for the Linotype company. The Linotype website says that “Jazz … brilliantly captures the sophisticated elegance of the 1920s and 30s. The bold roman style is enhanced with an interior design almost like a piano keyboard or the lit windows of a skyscraper.” https://www.linotype.com/1079/jazz.html
In 1936, engraver and woodcut artist Allen Lewis (1873-1957) envisioned, designed, engraved, and printed, an Ampersandman shaped like our favorite character. Lewis’s sandman found his way into the “serious and not too serious” pages of the New York Typophiles 1936 Christmas keepsake titled, Diggings from many ampersandhogs, Paul A. Bennett, editor.
Tech & Art
At MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Ampersand is quarterly concert series of art, music, and film.
In 2011, Cowan’s Auctions Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, sold — for $11,162.50 — a bejeweled, porcelain, ampersand-shaped teapot designed by Los Angeles-based ceramic artist Adrian Saxe.
On November 28, 2017, Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP) signed an agreement with the sponsorship agency Ampersand Sports, giving the agency exclusive rights to market sponsorships of the Super League, Premier League, Malaysia Cup, and Football Association (FA) Cup competitions.
1,060 companies worldwide have the word Ampersand (but not &) in the company name. The combined net revenue these companies exceeds $301 million. Net revenue of the worldwide businesses with “&” in the company name exceeds trillions of dollars.
In 2010, University of North Texas design students Bryan Barnes and Jason Perez grew an ampersand from Liriope grass planted in soil and mulch. They called their creation Living Typography.
In 1911, French artist Georges Braque stenciled an ampersand onto his cubist painting The Portuguese.
From September 2002 to March 2008, Vertigo (an imprint of DC Comics) published the dystopian science fiction comic book series, Y: The Last Man, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. The only male mammals to survive the plague that wiped out all others with a Y chromosome are hero Yorick Brown and his Capuchin monkey named Ampersand.
Some early American gravestone carvers incised ampersands lying on their backs looking skyward, as though promising the deceased connection with the empyrean. A few of these recumbent ampersands inspired modern typefaces. An example is HWT Van Lanen, designed in 2009 by Matthew Carter for Wisconsin’s Hamilton Wood Type Museum.
Want a font of entirely ampersands? Saintjean, a 2017 release by the French type foundry Velvetyne, gives you 288 ampersands by designers from around the world. Saintjean continues German typographer Jan Tschichold’s 1953 stride through the centuries, Formenwandlungen der Et-Zeichen [Shape changes of the Et-sign]. Coming Together, the 2010 ampersand bouquet created for Font Aid IV by the Society of Typographic Aficionados, gives you 484 ampersands by worldwide designers. Adobe’s 1982 font Poetica, by Robert Slimbach, supplies with its letters, 62 ampersands inspired by 16th-century writing masters.