A short dictionary of sizes of type.

These terms are obsolete or nearly so, due to the introduction of the point system of type, in which the height of the pica most commonly in use at that time was defined to be 12 points, and other sizes are defined as various numbers of points. Thus, a point was defined as 0.013837 inches, or a tiny bit less than 1/72 inch; in time 1/72 inch became the standard definition. The numbers below represent the point sizes listed in Webster 1913; the sizes below excelsior are not known to have actually been used.

  • 1 American
  • German
  • 2 Saxon
  • Norse
  • 3 brilliant - the smallest size used in England (NI2 defines this as 3½ pt)
  • ruby - in the old system, that was a name used in England for agate
  • 4 excelsior - NI2 defines this as 3 pt
  • diamond - the smallest size normally used in the U.S.
  • 5 pearl
  • agate - in the old system, called ruby in England
  • 6 nonpareil
  • 6½? emerald - only used in England
  • ? minionette - perhaps another name for emerald
  • 7 minion
  • 8 brevier
  • 9 bourgeois - twice the height of diamond, hence also called two-line diamond
  • 10 long primer - two-line pearl
  • 11 small pica - two-line agate
  • 12 pica - two-line nonpareil
  • 14 English - two-line minion
  • 16 Columbian - two-line brevier
  • 18 great primer - two-line bourgeois
  • 20 paragon - two-line long primer
  • 22 double small pica or two-line small pica
  • 24 double pica
  • 28 double English
  • 36 double great primer
  • 40 double paragon
  • 48 canon - the largest type size with a specific name, equal to four-line pica
  • larger sizes were described as five-line pica, six-line pica, etc.

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