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In "The Petition of the Master Taylors of London and its Vicinity, December 1800" (reproduced in Galton, 1896), it is stated

the wages and allowances ... were accordingly settled at the rate of 18/9 per week ...

the wages the journeymen now receive is 25/ per week ...

have refused to work unless their respective masters will raise the wages they now receive to 30/ per week

I'm guessing that "18/9" means 18s9d, while "25/" and "30/" mean 25s and 30s?

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    $\begingroup$ I came here though the HNQ, but I expected to end up on history.SE rather than Economics, tbh. $\endgroup$ – Mr Lister May 7 at 8:25
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Yes your guess is correct.

In fact, the forward slash punctuation mark "/" actually comes to us through its being the abbreviation for the English shilling.

From Humez and Humez (2008):

... forward slash (/), which is also variously known as a solidus, virgule, or just plain slash, when the deletion of a single character is to be marked. The solidus was a Roman coin and is ultimately the basis for English soldier, the idea being that a soldier is someone who fights for money, or, as we might say today, a mercenary (from the Latin merces ‘wages.’) The solidus as slash is historically a straightened-out S, the abbreviation for the English shilling (as in 2/3—two shillings thruppence), the step from one coin to another being relatively easy. How we get from shilling to slash in its various other uses—as proofreader’s strike-out mark, arithmetical sign of division, general separatrix, and so on—is rather more murky.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there a connection between its use here, and how it gained its use in the current form as meaning this/that? Maybe a good englishSE post. $\endgroup$ – akozi May 5 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ @akozi: See the last sentence of the above quote. I am unable to add any more information. $\endgroup$ – dtcm840 May 6 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ Just to note that the archaic long s is closer to a slash than the modern form. $\endgroup$ – richardb May 6 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ As an arithmetical division sign it's easy to see how ½ becomes 1/2 on a typewriter, and I don't think one has to look for any connection with the use to mean "shillings". Of course 1/5½ to mean one-and-fivepence-ha'penny (one shilling, five and half pence) needs a proper fraction symbol, otherwise it has to be written 1s 5 1/2d. $\endgroup$ – Michael Kay May 6 at 10:55
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Why is backslash called BACK slash when arguably it points forward? $\endgroup$ – RedGrittyBrick May 6 at 15:20

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