Thursday, 27 May 2021


Sets of letterpunches for type-setters had traditional descriptive names (see also) for presses on the continent, the Far East, the British Isles and the United States. Though point-size varied over time and there’s been more harmonisation among periodical publishers over the years rather than greater divergence of standards. A two-point typeface is called in the American system a “Saxon” and in German “Non Plus Ultra” or “Viertelpetit,” 2½ a “Norse” and “Microscopique” in French and German, three-points an “Excelsior” in the USA, a Minikin in the UK, Diamant in France and Brilliant in Germany, 5½ is an Agate in the American system and Ruby in the British one and so on. Six-points in Nonpareil, seven a Minion (Kolonel auf Deutsch), eight a Brevier, nine Bourgeois (though Petit-romain or Gaillarde in France) with some of the more common sizes being named Pica (12), the English (14), Great Primer (18, 1½ Cicero in Germany), Paragon (20), the Double English (28), the Double Columbian (32) and 48-point font called the French Canon, Gros-canon or Kleine Missal.