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Multiple Master (MM) fonts were originated in the 1980s by Adobe as an extension of their PostScript font format. This font format was capable of generating variations of different fonts based on axes and masters. A weight axis might change the weight from light to bold. An additional axis for width might change condensed to extended, Users could dial in anything between the masters' extremes. The idea was to let the user select the degree of weight or width, &c. The maximum number of axes allowed by the format was four, i.e. sixteen principal masters.
After several years of production, Adobe abandoned the concept as an end product. However, MultipleMaster (MM) axis are used today by type designers in programs like FontLab to help generate variations of weight, &c. It is now mostly an interpolation tool and assumes some degree of cleanup by the designer afterwards but much less than starting from scratch for each variation.
Nodes in MM-fonts?