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Re: Units of measurements

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:48:37 -0700
Message-Id: <v03102804b14ec4b37d59@[]>
To: d.tek.jre@ebox.tninet.se (Jan Roland Eriksson)
Cc: www-style@w3.org
Thus spake Jan Roland Eriksson:
> The 'em' seems to be first mentioned in monk handwriting instructions
> originating in the period of 600-800 a.d. i.e. at the same time as when
> lower case letters made their entrance. Already then it was specified as
> a square area with side length equal to the font height in use.
> Since lower case letters introduced decenders, fonts automatically
> became higer than the previous "all caps" type of fonts. Thus the 'em'
> lost it's connection to the widht of the capital letter 'M' at the same
> time.

Ahh! The question of descenders had indeed bothered me. I could never quite
fudge their intrusion into my "square chunk" fairy tale, yet I knew there
was some connection between em/M, probably through exposure to drawings of
'Capitalis Quadrata' in type books, always imposed on a square. Thanks for
your research!

Todd Fahrner
Received on Monday, 6 April 1998 13:42:36 UTC

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