Занятный фактик про амперсанд: The picture above is from a 1863 book called “The Dixie Primer, For The Little Folks,” available here in its entirety — a book which like many around even today, aimed at teaching children their ABCs and some basic words and phonics. Notably, the ampersand is included in the alphabet, just next to the Z and ending the entire set. While not necessarily the standard usage, it was not terribly uncommon either to include the ampersand here — it had been there for centuries.
The ampersand was developed along with the rest of the language, reaching back to the 1st century, when Romans would occasionally combine the letters “E” and “T” into a similar symbol, representing the word “et” meaning “and.” It was included in the Old English alphabet which was still in use into medieval times. When Old English was discarded in favor of the modern English were are now familiar with, the ampersand maintained its status of “member of the alphabet” (to coin a phrase) to a degree, with some regions and dialects opting to include it until the mid-1800s.
Except that it was not yet called an ampersand.
The & sign was, rather, referred to simply as “and” — which made reciting the alphabet awkward. As Dictionary.com - The world's favorite online English dictionary! notes, it was (and is) odd to say “X Y Z and.” So, they didn’t. Instead, our lexicon developed another saying: “X, Y, and Z, and by itself, ‘and’” — but instead of saying “by itself,” the Latin phrase per se came into favor. The result? ”And per se, and,” or, muttered quickly by a disinterested student, “ampersand.”
А здесь ребята из "The milk carton kids" обыграли на своём концерте тему с амперсандом. (Смотреть лучше сначала, по ссылке - это уже апогей, а шутки про амперсанд начинаются после первой песни).