Talk:Point (typography)

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Somewhat confusing[edit]

I find the history of the development of the point relevant. But right now the article does not "stick together". There is a reference to someone named Truchet, that appears to have been mentioned earlier but now he is nowhere to be found. Instead there is a Methusalem of a typographer named Neubauer. Perhaps someone can ask him because he seems to be alive for the next 67 years.

The article probably should be more chronological (it is anything but chronological), with alle the old definitions in a History-section and the current point sizes in another. I believe that there in fact are four current definitions of the typographical point. Two European-continental and two English-American. A few more has existed.

Maybe, just maybe, it should also mention the common names for various point-sizes used by non-English speaking. That is German and so on. They differ. In Danish e.g. we use (little) Sabon for 72 points. After all many tend to use the English Wikipedia as some sort of reference.

This article needs a complete work-through. Ditlev Petersen (talk) 22:09, 20 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

An article tying all the sizes together?[edit]

Please see Talk:Pixel#Difference_between_px.2C_pt.2C_em about an article to tie all these sizes and DPI etc. together. - Omegatron 16:37, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)


The usual description of the point was that the US and British inches were slightly different, one a bit larger than 25.4 mm/inch and one a bit smaller. This mattered because on a single page of newsprint there could be over a thousand points. In the nineteenth century, the standard was based on the centimetre, but not by a direct ratio, for both the US and Britain to have it be readily available to both domains.

In 1959, the International inch was settled upon, as that which the Australians had already chosen, and which had been suggested by many industries. The notes from French usage are appreciated, but no Commonwealth country, nor the US, calls it the "Anglo-Saxon" inch.

In the 1970's or so, the Germans wanted a metric basis, so their DIN chose 375 micrometres for their point. I wonder whether it caught on.

The main difference between the British/US and the Continental points is that other languages need extra room on top for all the diacritical marks on capital letters, e.g., É, Ö, Å... - so the point was a bit bigger for the Continental printers. Sobolewski 19:29, 28 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Stating: "# Nelson C. Hawks, in 1879, used a printer’s foot of an Anglo-Saxon foot decreased by 0.375%." can't be right.

The definition of the foot has changed over the years. The ancient Anglo-Saxon foot dropped out of use centuries ago.

I've called it a statute foot in the article with a link to the Mendelhall Order, which is the most relevant explanation I've found on Wikipedia of the size of the foot over the relevant time period.

In 1959, the Imperial inch and US inch were both redefined in terms of the metre, so when the 375 micron point was invented in the 1970s, the point was already based on a metric standard. It just wasn't a nice round number of metric units.

(The Anglo-Saxons were a group of tribes that got their identity in first millennium AD England and lost their identity in the few hundred years after the 1066 AD invasion of England by the Normans (French!). You could (if feeling cheeky) argue that the modern English are every bit as much French as they are Anglo-Saxon.

The USA was inhabited by non-Europeans before the modern era, and then suffered massive immigration from many nations: centuries after the Anglo-Saxons vanished. More Irish (massive immigration in both the 18th and 19th centuries) and African people came over (the Africans mostly involuntarily as slaves) than English. And what about all those Spanish people?

So there's nothing remotely Anglo-Saxon about the USA. And even in England, the Anglo-Saxons are only of historical and archaeological relevance.) (talk) 02:31, 25 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Very Messy Article[edit]

This really needs to be cleaned up -- it needs to start with the basics of the American system, noting the transition from traditional measure to computer measure.

Then discuss the similar French system... simply.

It really doesn't need a lot about 19th Century meter-yard conversions -- you might refer to an article on that for those interested in calibrating atomic vibration to Helvetica printout.

Ciceros/French Points in Computer software?[edit]

What is the exact size used for ciceros in design software like Quark?

Also refer to the cicero article -- info there states a "standard" of 4.5mm for a cicero adopted in 1975 -- see talk section, and right sidebar with metrical equivalents.


I find 15 625 / 83 118 difficult to read. Commas would make clearer that this is the quotient of two five-digit numbers. (Commas without spaces as in 15,625 / 83,118 are unambiguous.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:45, 14 February 2008 (UTC)[reply]

In addition, it might be a good idea to explain the reasoning behind metric measures being listed as fractional values. Apart from a couple of maths lessons at a young age, I don't think I've ever seen metric values listed as fractions. I have always understood that the main benefit of the various metric units is that they can be scaled up and down by factors of 1000 so that one can eventually find a useful measure of that unit, whether it be millimetres or megametres.
Listing these mearurements as effectively, for example, "fifteen-thousand, six-hundred-and-twenty-five eighty-three-thousand, one-hundred-and-eighteenths of a millimetre" rather than "0.188mm" seems willfully perverse to me, and unless there's some concrete historical/mathematical reason to show the measure in this way, they should probably be listed as something more standard. Frosty840 11:30, 01 August 2008 (BST)

Vulgar fractions are perfectly fine with metric units, though somewhat uncommon. In this case, i.e. defining non-metric measures, they are the best choice, because the definitions result in these exact numbers, whereas a number with decimal fraction would have to be rounded (or repeated parts would have to be indicated). — Christoph Päper 15:57, 22 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

So what part of a 12pt font is 12pts, in modern type systems?[edit]

The article doesn't seem to address this question. At least not clearly. —Pengo 08:07, 14 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

That's because the answer is "no specific part of a 12 pt font is 12 pts, in modern type systems." Weird, but true. That's why the whole thing is hard to understand; when applied to digital fonts, the concept is non-obvious and odd. Thomas Phinney (talk) 02:06, 30 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

For some reason, the main article recently contained this editorial question: "When measuring height, does this refer to the height of a capital letter or a lower-case letter (that is, is it the x-height or the cap-height)?"

The answer is "neither," and is covered in detail under [Em (typography)]. I deleted the editorial question from the body of the article. I'll go put in an explanation now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tphinney (talkcontribs) 20:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Something is not right here. For example, I use a lot of 3/32" high text on architectural drawings. If 1 point =1/72"=0.013888889, then the 3/32" high text will be (3/32)/0.013888889=6.75 point font. In reallity, 3/32" high text looks more like a 12 point font instead of a 6.75 point font. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Plantingdesign (talkcontribs) 16:49, 16 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Can some one clear this up and explain it to me and others?

When you say you “3/32" high text” you need to define that. What part of the text measures 3/32"? Just for the sake of discussion, let's say it's the distance from baseline to cap height on a flat letter (like H, as opposed to a round letter like O). That distance is the cap height, but it is NOT the point size. The point size is the size of the em square, the imaginary design space the letter is designed in. In metal type it was the height of the piece of metal the letter was cast on. But in digital type, it has no physical meaning. I can tell you that on average the cap height is about 70% of the point size, but that's just an average. Sorry that it's complicated, but that doesn't mean "something is not right here."
Put another way, it's like looking at a sporting field of some sort, and trying to define the size of the grounds of the stadium that contains the field in terms of the size of the sports field inside it (could be football, soccer, whatever). Obviously the grounds need to be bigger than the field proper (or else the field won't function correctly), and there are doubtless some typical and roughly ideal relationships between them, but in most cases there's no set formula. This is despite the fact that all the parts within the field are clearly measurable....
Note also that the point size and em square are universal notions that "work" (in their weird way) equally well regardless of the writing system (Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Devanagari), and even for symbols and dingbats. Any notion based purely on, say the cap height would be quite ethnocentric. Thomas Phinney (talk) 17:14, 17 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Another way of putting it, it's perfectly normal that when the font is, say, 12 pt, the cap height might be 8 pt. Thomas Phinney (talk) 17:30, 17 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Isn't this entry redundant?[edit]

We had already had the following entry: Typographic unit.

Why was this added? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Taro Yamamoto (talkcontribs) 01:57, 3 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Because no one calls them typographic units. It should be merged here. — LlywelynII 15:47, 2 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

72/√8 ~= [in]/[mm][edit]

Interestingly, 72/√8 = 72/(2*√2) or ca. 280/11 is quite close to 25.4, which is the ratio between inch and millimetre. So if one used a typographer's foot of about 305.47013 mm (ca. 456/455 ft) with 72 points to it or if one used a point of about 1/71.84205 in (ca. 19/1365 in) one had a metric relationship that fit nicely with the ratio between ISO paper sizes, the following series: 1 pt, 0.5 mm, 2 pt, 1 mm, ... With reasonable rounding this is of course also usable for 1 pt = 1/72 in. (talk) 11:42, 21 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

What is origin of word or etymology?[edit]

Someone should ad a section for etymology —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:08, 1 October 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia that anyone can edit. You could be the person to add that section.--Aspro (talk) 21:14, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Berthold Point Size Source[edit]

I was just looking at a 1908 Berthold specimen which specifies 2660 points to 1 meter, which is not what the article says. It agrees instead with the Tschichold reference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:42, 15 November 2012 (UTC)[reply]


The section on Neubauer is dubious ... I can't find any references anywhere else, and the dates he lived are rather amusing. Jay Neubauer also doesn't sound much like the name of a French farmer from the 1600s. Nor does it explain why a farmer invented a point system. Myroundcar (talk) 20:45, 6 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Confusion about American point system[edit]

The part of the article dealing with the American point system explains the adoption of the Johnson pica. And the value of 303.5808 mm for the traditional printer foot corresponds exactly indeed to 249/250 times 304.8 mm, with 304.8mm = 12 x 2.54cm = 12 in (1959 value). This makes the printer point exactly 0.3513666666... mm, but then the paragraph concludes with the 72.27pt to an inch approximation, which is Hawks' point, and the value 0.3515 mm, whereas if there are 72 times 12 pts in a printer foot, we should have here 0.35136 mm.

With the Johnson Pica, one computes that 1 inch contains 72+24/83=72.28915662.. printer points, because 12inches is 250/249 of a printer foot, hence 1inch contains 250/249 times 72 printer points. I came to the page hoping to understand the status of the 72.27 thing, and I am now utterly confused.

Gottfried59 (talk) 14:08, 14 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Standardisation dates[edit]

There's something odd about the claimed standardisation in the "late 1980s and early 1990s". When I was involved with the our school press between 1969-1974 we were categorically told that a point was 1/72". We set from cases onto compositing sticks and printed on ancient treadle powered jobbing presses, no H&S then! Unfortunately I don't have any documentary evidence, not even the sheet we were given to learn the case layout from. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 18:16, 5 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]

What's odd is that you had a teacher that told you something that was simply untrue. Basically, he was rounding off the point. Obviously it was simpler this way... probably the same thinking that encouraged Warnock & Geschke to do the same thing for PostScript. But that doesn't mean it was true at the time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tphinney (talkcontribs) 12:46, 8 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]


Ok. Finally found a thorough source. Will remove the alt names to Wiktionary and just leave the major present names. — LlywelynII 10:00, 4 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Bolded names[edit]


The bolded text are the names of the various obsolete points which receive redirects here. The values of those points are entirely obsolete and don't deserve any bolding whatsoever.


Now that there's more material, I bolded some of them to highlight the major English names, as opposed to the nearly unused ones such as American. Current criteria is OED entries or appearing in the EB, but probably better if there were an authoritative typographic guide that simply said "these are the major type body names prior to the pt system". — LlywelynII 15:39, 2 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]



The original types only used the middle values: great primer remained the largest type size in Britain as late as 1840.

which was presumably sourced to the offline Typographic Desk Reference and CJKV Information Processing as it's patently untrue. The OED includes citations including things like

1629, Charles Butler, Oratoriæ:
Genera literarum... corporum proceritate distinguuntur: Primier, Pique, English: & supra hæc, Great Primier, Double Pique, Double English.


1683, Joseph Moxon, Mechick Exercises; or, The Doctrine of Handy-Works. Applied to the Art of Printing, Vol. II., p. 13:
Most Printing-Houses have... Pearl, Nomparel, Brevier, Long-Primmer, Pica, English, Great-Primmer, Double-Pica, Two Lin'd English.

so sizes at least that large were already in use. — LlywelynII 21:54, 3 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]


Mixed usage before, but per WP:ENGVAR an article on an American unit should employ American English. — LlywelynII 10:00, 4 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]


Typographic unit should be merged here. They cover the exact same WP:SCOPE and this is the WP:COMMON WP:ENGLISH name for the topic. — LlywelynII 15:50, 2 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

While I see your point I have to disagree in the entirety of the Typographic unit nos no detail for any of the units and unless you are planning on merging ALL the units onto one page I think we should leave it as is. DamaniRD (talk) 22:47, 6 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I also disagree. We do not merge the article "Length" with "Yard" and "Meter". Point is a particular measure while there exist others like pica or mm. On the contrary I propose to move the section "Point-size names" into an independent article (the name is already occupied by the redirect, we can just copy the text there).--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 12:06, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree for the reasons stated by User:LlywelynII and Lüboslóv Yęzýkin.—Finell 03:37, 25 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I deleted the merge proposal for lack of support.—Finell 03:28, 21 March 2016 (UTC)[reply]

American points[edit]

I set up the "Confusing" template on the section. It may deserve the "Original research" template as well. It is very unclear and ambiguous, the persons who wrote that must have been not sure what they wanted to say. The section begins with the notion of the typographic foot which seems to be non-existent, then compares it with the international and survey feet. Then it goes to various points. After all said it remains totally unclear why the American points exist, while it is very simple. The basic measure was a pica which originally was 1/6 inch, but the novelty of Johnson was that he did not decimate it to recurring 0.1(6) inch but rounded to exactly 0.166 inch (4.2164 mm). If we make a basic computation it turns out that a point in this system is 0.166/12 inch or 0.3513(6) mm. Another computation gives us 996 points or 83 picas per 350 mm (actually 996 of these points is ≈349.9612 mm), or in other words 35/83 cm for a pica or 35/966 cm for a point. The latter seems to be the original definitions though I still could not find a relevant source. The TeX point of 72/72.27 inch looks like nothing more than another mathematical way of representing the same numbers.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 12:00, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

About this very subject there is a study by Richard L. Hopkins: Origin of the American Point System for Printer's Type Measurement Hill & Dale Press,Terra Alta, West Virginia, 1976., a second (de luxe) edition was published in 1989.
Here you can find a very precise study, with a large bibliography of all relevant sources.
Note: the "American" Pica = .1660 inch does not differ a lot from the base for the Fournier Point.
Another note: On the European continent Monotype (UK) sold all wedges based on the Old English Pica = .1667 inch...
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 09:56, 17 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, I've already rewritten that section (and the whole article, practically). I know about that book (I still can't access it, though).--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 06:26, 18 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
You might look at start the search-machine with: Richard Hopkins, and the title. Prices differ from 11$ to 149$ but the last offer is insane.
Did you know this site, it combines a lot of booksites, sort the books at the price, low prices first. It helps a lot for sure. And when it is not found here, it might be difficult indeed.
All the best
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 20:37, 22 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

@J.T.W.A.Cornelisse: No, thanks. I do not need this, everything I wanted to know I've found in open on-line sources, and frankly I do not like off-line sources which few can access and verify as this makes articles less verifiable.

Considering your recent addition, I haven't reverted it straight away hoping you provide us with an additional citation. Because your statement seems to be incorrect. There is a clear difference: one is 1/72 of the French inch, another is 1/72 of the American inch, one is ≈ 0.345 mm, another is ≈ 0.3515 mm. Yep, the difference is small, but as long as we're speaking about different points, we should consider even such trifles significant. I suppose you misread something in the original source.

One additional point to be taken: it seems it is the Didot and Fournier points that were supposed to be equal, because they both were defined through the particular foot, no matter whether we call it "royal" or "Parisian". Very doubtful that that foot had changed just in 20 years after Fournier. More likely typographers used for the reference not the foot but the Fournier scale printed in his book. This was the problem, this is why the Fournier point came to existence at all. No doubt this was not Fournier's intention and he didn't expect that. Didot just did what Fournier failed to do: stick to the particular measurement, not to a scale in a book. Probably, we might speak about the Fournier-Didot point after all.

And, please, why do we need a vague Dutch book from 1913 nobody can access to prove the statement that was covered by two English sources and by the primary source itself?--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 16:40, 23 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

What is the problem with a book as a source ? On the internet there is a lot of rubbish, fake-knowledge and the problem with internet is, also that sources can change...
Rich Hopkins made a serious study of all sources he could lay his hands on.
In this book the comparison with the Fournier system and the American Point system is mentioned in detail.
Why do you not accept this?
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 21:00, 23 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I have absolutely nothing against Rich Hopkins' work, moreover, I was going to add it myself, I didn't just because I have not got the book and can't verify myself. At least, other sources in the article refer to it, so I saw no problem in not mentioning the book directly.
I'm against Dutch (or any language) books that seem not to add anything new and substantial that already have not been mentioned in English sources. I know you're Dutch, but it does not mean one brings sources in his own language whenever one wants that. We're writing in English here after all. Moreover, you source is absolutely inaccessible. Don't tell me, please, that I can "easily" buy it or go to the Netherlands. Of course, this rule is not absolute. I've added some sources in German and French myself, but this is because: a) they are about the subject concerned (e.g. German books speaking about German points); b) they are easily accessible for verification, just one click; c) they are in the languages that are much more understood than, say, Dutch.
I was asking you where Hopkins literally had said "there is no difference". Please, provide us with the citation. I believe it is no more than a couple of sentences that you can clearly retype here. My second point: please, why of all the Hopkins' book this statement is important, and why we should include it here. This is absolutely clear for everybody that 0.0136 and 0.0138 are very close numbers. But whether it is "almost" or "not almost" identical, let the reader decide this. Practically all the points are "almost" identical, should we mention such trivialities for all of them? This article was cluttered with trivialities and nonsense before, let's not to bring this poor state again.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 08:37, 24 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The problem was, that there were lots of different foots in use in 17th century France, all over France:
the Paris foot was one of these local foots, and the Kings- of Royal-foot, this was mentioned in the laws of France.
the Fournier system was based on the Paris foot,
But Didot was invited by the French government (at the moment the French king...)
When a printer those days would like to print something for the French government, than he was obliged to use Didot points. And kings... they live on bigger foots. That is for sure.
In a big country like France it was evident, that all kind of standards could help the economy, what other reason was there to establish a standard measurement for length like the meter ?
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 21:56, 23 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Please, let us stick to the subject and not to turn to idle chatter how the French kings lived, or what they wanted, etc. I have known about different French measures, so there was no point in giving me the basics. There is absolutely one simple question: where is the proof that Fournier and Didot used different feet? Give us the proof. Literally, where this is said in a straightforward way, and give us a citation or a link. Fournier mentioned literally pied du roi (page 130, his book). Fournier and Didot lived not only in the same century, their inventions were 20 years apart. What might have changed in those 20 years? The royal foot and the Parisian foot seem to be the same thing, or prove I'm wrong about this (e.g. show me where they are listed separately and given two different values).--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 09:36, 24 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]


Here you will get your source: it is taken from a Dutch book, 1914/1915, L. Ronner, (director of the Amsterdam Graphical school) Van leerling tot zetter, NV Drukkerij De Nieuwe Tijd, Amsterdam:

Page 21:

...Het duurde geruime tijd voordat iemand den moed had met een vast omlijnd plan voor den dag te komen.

De jonge Parijse stempelsnijder en lettergieter Simon Pierre Fournier dorst het aa. Hij had het plan om alle lettertypen, benoodigd voor een volledige lettergieterij, te graveren. Maar nu stuitte hij op een moeilijkheid, n.l. op welke corpussen hij ze zou gieten, want elke drukkerij hield er zijn eigen op na.

Deze wantoestand betrof natuurlijk ook het wit, zoals spaties, pasjes, vierkanten, kwadraten enz. Die ordeloosheid was alleen te voorkomen als elk letttercorpus was ingedeeld op een vaste maat. In 1737 kwam hij met een vaste maat voor den dag.

Het spreeks haast van zelf, dat een Parijzenaar als Fournier was een maat zou nemen, welke te Parijs gebruikelijk was, n.l. de Fransche voet en die 12 duim bevatte. Hij verdeelde de duim in 12 strepem, en een streep in 6 punten. Deze punt nam hij als basis en maakte zijn lettersoorten op een veelvoud van 3 punten.

De maat die Fournier gekozen had als grondslag was een niet algemeen gebruikelijke in Frankrijk. De toen wettelijke maat was de koningsvoet.

Het was beter, dat de typografische maat in overeenstemming was met de wettelijke en daarom besloot de beroemde Parijsche typograaf Francois Ambroise Didot in 1770 het typografisch systeem te hervormen en te schoeien op de leest van de Franschen koningsvoet.


There are more sources in this matter, happy translating. Maybe google can help you.

The fact that Fournier mentions a "little bit" different in his papers, this might be a little thing to be within legal borders... I have found fournier sized type in the past, even Fournier sized Monotype-moulds, but using a pica-mould on Dutch height does give the same result...

The fact that the Didot system could prevale was, because the France goverment insisted that all printing for France was done in Didot-sizes.

J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 11:05, 24 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Whenever your Dutch is not good enough, you might look for: The Monotype Recorder, 1931, nr. 241, page 13-17. Here the Fournier-point is mentioned as to be .0137 inch, and the Didot point to be .0148 inch. This comes with the Didot moulds here too: 12 point Didot = .1776 inch
Here I do cite:
"100 points Fournier is approximately 35 milimeters, and this coincidence had an influence in deciding the size of what is called the "American point", the standard now used by American and English typefounders."
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 12:49, 24 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Your Dutch source adds absolutely nothing substantial and just repeats what has been said many times in various English sources. We already cite Fournier's book itself and two its English translations. What may be said more than that? So yours is a third-hand source at best which in turn needs translation, that makes it fourth-hand. So, please, waste neither your time nor mine nor other readers'/editors' giving such sources in lesser-known foreign languages. If you have English sources, you are always welcome to provide them, if not, then don't force others to use Google Translate. This is not something extremely unique, that we have to use non-English sources and can't get away with English ones. If you so eager to use Dutch sources, probably, you had better do it in Dutch Wikipedia. Something vaguely new I can see is in the last paragraphs. However, it is likely incorrect. The royal and Parisian feet are the very same thing. This is can be see here[1][2][3] Why the Fournier point is smaller we may never know for sure. If you think it is because of a different foot measure, please, name it. Your Dutch source does not do this. The "French foot" (Fransche voet) is not the answer. You said yourself there were many local measures, and the "French foot" does not say anything, unless we mean by it the most known royal/Parisian of 0.3248 m. But this can't be the case, because what Fournier might have used had to be 0.35*72*12 = 302.4 mm. What was it? Just name it.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 09:45, 26 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Your second citation. Actually I asked you to give me a citation from Hopkins. Some problems with understanding English? But alright. Yes, obviously if the point is "approximately" 0.35 mm, then 100 points are "approximately" 35 mm. Nothing new. Their claim that it "had an influence " is quite bold. Was it known to Hawks and other American typefounders, were they even aware of it at all? Very unlikely. If it was not used in Europe (except Belgium), why would Americans use it? Coincidence? Life is full of coincidences.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 09:57, 26 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]


Just to be clear what different sources give for the Fournier point:

  • 0.0136 in, that equals (my caclulation) exactly to 0.34544 mm, rounded 0.34544 mm;
  • 0.346 mm, that equals (my c.) ≈ 0.013622 in, rounded 0.0136 in;
  • 0.34875 mm exactly, that equals (my c.) to ≈ 0.013730 in, rounded 0.0137 in;
  • 0.349 mm ≈ 0.0137 in.

These all are still a couple of micrometers short from the 0.35+ mm points, or one or two ten-thousandths of an inch. This may seem very trivial, and effectively in practical applications these differences might have been ignored, I strongly believe that. But as long as we make the difference even for 0.1 micrometer (American and Japanese points), the Fournier point is on its own. Otherwise there is no sense in much of the article, because it is then "trivial" and does not deserve explaining.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 17:13, 23 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

The American point system is based on a measure of .1660 inch. Here where I live (the European continent) the wedges are based on the old-English-pica: .1667 inch. Here we have E-wedges, S5-12E.... When you look at the tables in the different manuals there are lots of differences. But this is all Monotype composition casting...
These micrometers were completely unimportant at all. Certainly not for old type prining. And on your computer-printer? What you see on your screen... is what you get ? That is a very big lie, indeed.
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 21:13, 23 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

scan made of antique measuring rules[edit]

I made a scan of two antique measuring rules in my property:
Here we can compare the three systems in full, could this end the arguing about the size of the foot on which Fournier based his system ?
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 08:27, 8 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Idealisation (OR)[edit]

In an ideal world, there are simple integer ratios relating any two European typographical points. The measured and used values would just be deviations from this ideal. Examples below. — Christoph Päper 15:04, 26 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Millimetre as base
Unit Ratio Value
q 1/4 mm 0.250 mm
Truchet 1/2 dd 0.1875 mm
Fournier 11/12 dd 0.34375 mm
American, pt 15/16 dd 0.3515625 mm
Didot, dd 3/2 q 0.375 mm
French, metric 2/5 mm 0.400 mm
typographic inch 72 pt 25.3125 mm
common inch 100 q 25 mm
International inch as base
Unit Ratio Value
q 3/4 pt 1/96 in 0.264583 mm
Truchet 1/2 dd 1/135 in 0.18814 mm
Fournier 11/12 dd 11/810 in 0.3449382716049 mm
American, pt 1/72 in 1/72 in 0.3527 mm
Didot, dd 16/15 pt 2/135 in 0.37629 mm
French 9/8 pt 1/64 in 0.396875 mm
inch 127/5000 m 1 in 25.400 mm
The real unneeded number of decimal figures ? Why are they there ? In practice typefounders could not reach an accuracy better than 1/1000 of an inch at all.
And with computers and printers it is not much better either.
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 18:52, 27 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Of all these three systems, Fournier, Pica and Didot, in the past I have been able to collect the phycical measuring strips. All these systems have been in use on several printshops on the European continent. Fournier was in use in old Belgium printshops up till the 1980-ties or even later. Comparing these metal strips gives the folowing results:
40 * 12 points Fournier = 37 * 12 point Didot
50 * 12 points Fournier = 49.5 * 12 point Pica
This makes it possible to estimate more precise the length of the Paris foot, the basis of the Fournier system: 37/40*32.48 = 30.04 cm
12 point Fournier = (37/40)*12 = 11.1 point Didot
12 point Fournier = (49.5/50)*12 = 11.88 point Pica
J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 05:39, 29 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Table grouping[edit]

I don't really like what Crissov has done. I think a simple chronological order was better. Alright, it is true that Hawks came up with the idea that 6 picas made up one (American) inch, and that a pica could be further divided into 12 points (frankly, this idea does not look revolutionary to me, and likely he knew about Fournier and/or Didot). However, the rest of the story goes that the TFA accepted a pica, 6 of which make up 0.996 inch. On the other hand, what is called "DTP" is exactly what Hawks really wanted initially. Truchet, Fournier, Didot are all French. And the 0.25 mm point is left "unassigned".--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 14:03, 31 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I'm not totally happy with the table either. It used to be sorted by size. No matter whether ascending or descending, I think this makes more sense than chronological order since some dates are dubious. Also, related points automatically group then and we don't have to fight over appropriate collective terms. In other words, I don't care all that much about the newly introduced first column. — Christoph Päper 08:35, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The dates are not that dubious. Yes, some may vary by a year or so, but this does not change the whole picture. As long as the article goes more or less in chronological order, it's better to treat the table the same way. Otherwise, we would have to list Q after Truchet, while they are absolutely unrelated and are about 300 years apart. Then the Japanese point would go before the American one, while it is obvious the Japanese got that from Americans. Etc. I think in fact we have only two groups: based on the French inch, and based on the American inch. A few are outsiders. But I have an idea how to fix it.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 16:41, 2 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The French 0.4-mm point, 1/4-mm Q and 3/8-mm "new" Didot point would then not really belong within the same group of Truchet, Fournier and Didot points. My criticism of the dates related mostly to the latter two of those, because 0.250 mm and 0.375 mm have been defined and used before the late 1990s. — Christoph Päper 13:22, 5 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

«Bolssens, Belgian»[edit]

The «Various point definitions» table specifies a «Bolssens, Belgian» point, established in 2018 as 0,720 mm. Where does this data come from? I can't find any source except this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deeple (talkcontribs) 16:13, 9 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Looks like a hoax/original research by an anonymous editor. Removed.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk)

The TeX definition(s)[edit]

Leaving this comment here for later. Firstly, the "nd" (New Didot) unit mentioned in the article is probably not in TeX itself, but only in extensions like pdfTeX, XeTeX, etc. (There used to be a reference to the source code which would have helped research this further, but someone's removed this for some reason.) Secondly, about the printer's point: Knuth's (published) log has some relevant comments on how these values were chosen (see entries for 30 Oct 1982, 1 Nov 1982, and 4 Nov 1982). The "NBS Circular 570" they refer to is probably this. The actual code is in section 458 (and indirectly 617) of the TeX program, and refers to "Bosshard in Technische Grundlagen zur Satzherstellung (Bern, 1980)". There are some (mixed quality) comments here and here. (Just leaving this comment here to dump this info, so that someone (or I) could improve this article later, making sense of all this info.) Shreevatsa (talk) 01:14, 28 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Isn't twip the truly smallest unit in typography?[edit]

The article asserts that, in typography, "the point is the smallest unit of measure", but what about the twip?

"Garamond (typography)" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]

A discussion is taking place to address the redirect Garamond (typography). The discussion will occur at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2020 September 27#Garamond (typography) until a consensus is reached, and readers of this page are welcome to contribute to the discussion. Blythwood (talk) 04:11, 27 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]