I will admit right now, this is a filler: gripping as the news of the day might be, I am on my way to the Dayon Hamvention even as you read, unless I'm there already. Or at least I sure hope I am!
Turk Turon and I fell to discussing fonts the other day -- hey, look, do I criticize what you do for small talk? -- and the subject of serifs arose.
He figured it had something to do with a writing instrument of yore; I opined the Romans were the first to use them and they carved 'em in stone. (Casual Roman handwriting, on the other hand -- you think your penmanship's bad? Ha! At least by modern standards, ha! Cicero's grocery list, you could not have read even if he wrote it in English which he couldn't've and would not even if he did; he had people to do that for him).
Turns out, we're both right, probably:
...broadly but not universally accepted: the Roman letter outlines were first painted onto stone, and the stone carvers followed the brush marks which flared at stroke ends and corners, creating serifs.Emphasis mine. How 'bout that.
Meanwhile, possibly near the Seychelles (though not collecting seashells on the sneschal's seashore), one finds the Serif Museum on the so-called Virgule Islands of (where else?) San Serriffe. Better known (at least outside the U.S.) for their hard-charging Rugby Union team, the Kwotes, these beautiful islands may well be at the leading edge of typographic and font historiography and preservation, and deservedly so.