font measurement

Hello Typophiles:

Just wondering if anyone knows the history of any proposals that may have been made in the past to systematize a universal "x-factor" for typefaces that would allow easy calculation of ideal body text sizing? (Searching the forums didn't reveal any hits...)

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For example:
If we just hypothetically used Helvetica 55 as the universal standard yardstick (since it's so ubiquitous), we could give this font an "x-factor" of 1.000 and then assign an x-factor to all other fonts based on the ratio of their x-heights to Helvetica's (using 1000 UPM measurements).

Helvetica:
714 (ascend) + 286 (descend) = 1000 UPM
517 = x-height

Times New Roman:
717 (ascend) + 283 (descend) = 1000 UPM
461 = x-height

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