House numbers are small things that appear quietly on the walls, gates and porches of our homes and places of work. They seem to have come from nowhere and are now taken for granted in everyday life. But house numbers have their own history - one that is retrieved, assembled and presented here, for the first time, in vivid images from around the world.
House numbers started their lives in a grey area between the military, the tax authorities and early police forces. Anton Tantnerís engaging, intriguingly quirky book is a chronicle of the house number, from its introduction in European towns in the eighteenth century through the spread of the numbering system in the nineteenth century to its global adoption today. It also reveals that there was often opposition to this convention - those living at their allotted addresses have not always been too happy about their houses being given numbers.
House Numbers is full of original research and is extensively illustrated, with photographs showing historic house numbers and addresses, from Nought, Strand-on-the-Green in London to 1819 Ruston, Louisiana. Its narrative will alter the way you walk around a city, as these seemingly minor, insignificant aspects of our houses and streets become links to a broad and fascinating history.
Table of Contents
|A Footnote to History
|The "Whole House" and the House Number
|In Search of the Origin
|The Triumph of House Numbers: A Gallop through the Eighteenth Century
|Opposition and Equality
|House Numbers and Discrimination against 'Jewish Houses' in the Habsburg Empire
|The Use of House Numbers
|Schramek; or, The Burden of Three Numbers
|Chaos and Resilience: 'Conscription' Numbers under the Habsburg Monarchy
|Mark Twain's Troubles with Berlin House Numbers
|Odd and Even
|Methods of Numbering
|House Numbers and Colonialism at Home
|Photographing House Numbers around 1900
|Green and Golden House Numbers: The House Number as a Mark of Distinction
|House Numbers and Superstition
|The Right to an Address
|Taking Over the World: House Numbers in the Twenty-first Century
- Financial Times, 31 October 2015, Home, p. S6 (Edwin Heathcote): excellent new book
- Methodist Recorder, Winter 2015 (Margaret Daniels): The word ďenthrallingĒ isnít one to use lightly when embarking on a book review and it has probably rarely been used in connection with the prosaic matter of the numbering of houses. However, Anton Tantnerís book, House Numbers: Pictures of a Forgotten History (...) fully earns the adjective.