Snippet from the book "STYLING vs. SAFETY The American Automobile Industry and the Development of Automotive Safety, 1900-1966" by Joel W. Eastman:

and its continual improvement by progressive and innova- tive manufacturers. The industry also pointed to stat- istics which indicated that automobiles rarely caused accidents as support for the assumptions that it was not normal for one to be involved in a crash and that even a perfect motor vehicle could not overcome defects in drivers and highways.

By the late 1940's and early 1950's, however, there came to be a growing awareness within the industry that the small but increasing demand for design for crash protection by members of the medical profession and oth- ers was significant enough so that it would be wise to keep abreast of developments in the area. One by one, the major manufacturers either officially or unofficial- ly assigned the responsibility to an individual or set up an automotive safety department. Although the number of engineers involved was insignificant compared to the thousands of specialists working on automobile design

Is this a valid American "style"? I know you can shorten "1950s" to "'50s", but "50's"? That's like, "50 is" or "the 50 dollar bill's serial number"... surely it can't be right? I'm aware that it's "common", but this is... a book?

  • It is normal to use the apostrophe like this after a number written using decimal digits. I would not say it is compulsory; it is more a question of style. Personally I (a Brit) always use an apostrophe in this situation.
    – TonyK
    Feb 7, 2020 at 14:34
  • It is more likely in the US that you will see the version without apostrophes before the s: 1950s or '50s. But it is not uncommon to see the usage you cite.
    – Robusto
    Feb 7, 2020 at 15:02
  • Does this answer your question? Plurals of acronyms, letters, numbers — use an apostrophe or not?. Essentially, this is a style issue, and style guides disagree here, so it's your (or often your editor's/mentor's/boss's) choice. But the modern trend is to drop unnecessary (as here) apostrophes. Feb 7, 2020 at 15:54
  • I (as a Brit) never use an apostrophe in that situation. Feb 7, 2020 at 19:03


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