gerald_giampa's picture


You have put it well.

Do you mind if I insert (AND UNITIZING) and see if it meets with your approval. I am using uppercase to show it is not your words but mine. I am "not" rewriting your sentence, I am just asking if you agree with my insertion?


"But Tschichold had to adapt to both constraints -- duplexing (AND UNITIZING) for Lino, unitizing for Mono. So he made the choice to make the two 'a's fit the 9 units (which yields a noticeably wide roman 'a') instead of cramping the italic in the 8-unit slot."


Unless systems in Europe were not equal to America? I refer you to Mike Parker

quadibloc's picture

I have just found out some additional information relvant to the question of whether or not Linotype fonts, needlessly from the standpoint of the Linotype mechanism, were unitized due to some external cause.

In the book "The Lithographer's Manual", I found that the Fairchild Multifont perforator was intended to allow Linotype machines to be operated through TTS to set fonts other than the newspaper legibility faces. However, this was achieved not just by allowing the character widths to be adjusted, but also by changing the unit system from 18 to the em to 32 to the em.

There was a posting on the Typophile forums where someone who worked at Linotype remembered they were drawing fonts there to an 18-unit system and then a 54-unit system, at least so that these fonts would be usable with their forthcoming phototypesetter products. No one remembers Linotype designing fonts to a 32-unit system.

The TTS system did have to calculate where each line would end. So the existing fonts, not recut, would have to be measured, and their widths - possibly rounded down, rather than up, so that errors would lead to excessively loose spacing, and never less-than-zero spacing - set on the TTS perforator.

So, basically, this confirms your statement: fonts didn't get cut to a unit system at Linotype in the '30s because of TTS; this only happened much later, when phototypesetting systems other than the imitation hot metal Fotosetter were on the horizon.

quadibloc's picture

A search for examples of the typeface "Textype" by Chauncey H. Griffith happened to lead me to some information I had long sought, so I am sharing it here in this thread where it was touched on, in case it may be useful to some:

The original TTS unit system.

hrant's picture

Nice! Thanks.


quadibloc's picture

And I've learned something else from this. Having this table in hand, in the context of looking up information about Linotype legibility faces, led me to look at the Presswire faces for the Selectric Composer. Those faces had narrower numerals... so I thought I would check how well the narrower size matched the numerals used with TTS.

It turns out that the Presswire faces reduced the width of the numerals to 4 units (from the normal 6) in the Composer 9-unit system; but had they been reduced less severely, to 5 units, they would have been a closer match to the 9 unit numerals in the teletypesetter system.

Nevertheless, I would guess that there was a standard established for each size of Art Line that determined the placement of the baseline on the body. That is, I would expect all fonts of the same size, cast on Art Line, to align with each other. Is this not so, Jim?

The system of lining used by ATF, and by other typefounders of that era as well, generally involved three standards.

There was the normal line (ATF: American line; Barnhart: Uniform line; Inland: Standard line), which allowed about 1/5 of the type body for descenders.

There was the Script or Art line (ATF: Art line; Barnhart: Text line; Inland: Script line), for authentic old style faces and script faces, which allowed about 1/3 of the type body for descenders.

And there was also a Titling line (ATF, Inland: Title line; Barnhart: Cap line) which allowed only a minimal area on the type body below the baseline.

Where necessary, increments of 1/2 point or even 1/4 point were used - for the very small type sizes, but the preference was for every size of type, in all three "lines", to have a distance from the baseline to the bottom of the type slug that differed from the distance from the baseline to the bottom of the type slug for every other size and style of type by a whole number of points.

So, using only standard leading material, in single points or half points where needed (and 1/4 point only in the extreme case of type at 6 points or less), one could align the baselines of any face with any other, even if one was Art line and the other Standard line, and whatever their point sizes might be. That was why they called it 'lining' type.

In the Didot system, Bauer, and probably others, did much the same thing. The baseline might be 1.4 Didones above the bottom of the type body for one size of type, and 2.9 Didones above it for another; what counted was that the difference was 1.5 Didones, a multiple of half of a Didot point.

Syndicate content Syndicate content