Founders’ measurement

Funders agree, with one exception, that the Pica shall be one-sixth of an inch; that two Nonpareils shall be equal to one Pica, two Pearls to one Long Primer, two Diamonds to a Bourgeois; but beyond this there is no relation between one body and another, and each founder differs from his fellows in the exact size even of the types called by the names themselves. In France, this state of things no longer exists. By common consent of the printers, a definite standard has been adopted, and the founders are obliged to conform to the rules laid down, so that from whatever source it may be obtained, the type of a given body is of uniform dimensions. In 1730, Fournier adopted the plan which is the basis of that which now universally prevails. He took two inches as his standard measure, which he called his prototype, and divided these into I welve parts, which he called lines, and each of these again into twelve parts which he named points thus forming one hundred and forty-four divisions. He assigned to each body a definite number of points. Thus, the body Cicero, corresponding to our Pica, was twelve points, and it was rendered exactly of these dimensions by laying twelve Cicero types on the two-inch standard, and dressing them till they exactly fitted the required space. Leads were made to a given number of points, and thus any body worked with any other without justification. Fournier’s standard is still used in the Imprimerie Inipériale, but it was modified by Didot, who adopted as his prototype, or typometer, as it has since been called, a definite portion of the metre, and thus brought typefounders under the French decimal system.—Condensed from a valuable article, contributed to Straker’s “Printing and its Accessories,” by Mr. Shanks, of the Patent Type Founding Company.

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