So here is my first post on the equipment we already have in the Watkinson for our little print shop.  Thanks to Joe Laws (’12) for his work in organizing and photographing these for the blog!  Most of the definitions are taken from Rummonds’ Printing on the Iron Hand Press (1998), but I will not bother with quotes and page references–buy the book if you are that interested!

The line gauge is a rule or stick to measure the width and length of composition calibrated in picas [the printer’s unit of measure equivalent to twelve points–used to express the width and depth of the text and type page].  It is usually 72 picas long, and is also called a “gauge,” “pica gauge,” or “type gauge.”

NB:  The American Point System, which was adopted in 1886 by the United States Typefounders Association, is the standard in the U.S. and U.K.; it consists of two units of measure:  the point and the pica; the point =0.13832 inches (0.351 mm), and one pica = 12 points.  Type sizes and their spacing material is given in points; line lengths are measured in pica.


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