The First Known Ambigram

Apr 27th, 2009 | By | Category: Ambigram Gallery

Recently, we posted the History of Ambigrams, and mentioned that the first known non-natural ambigram was created in 1893.

Today we received a scan of that first ambigram.

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 (“Topsys & Turvys” and “Topsys and Turvys 2″), where the picture (and text) turn into a completely different image when turned upside down (see our Matchbox Art page for an example of invertible images).

The End / Puzzle Ambigram

The End / Puzzle Ambigram

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  1. I’m pretty sure that is the second known ambigram, from Newell’s second book, not the first one. Note the upside down 2 to the left of the T (the E of PUZZLE). This image is also upside down, if that makes sense for an ambigram. When you get to the last page, the page says PUZZLE (or PUZZLE 2 in the second book), then when you flip it upside down for the last time, you get THE END.

  2. [...] First known ambigram published by Peter Newell (THE END / [...]

(page contents are not an accurate historical record. Many pages were modified in 2012)
If you liked this page, you may also be interested in creating your own ambigrams or ambigram tattoos.