Austrian Type Height

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Many thanks to George Hamilton from Vienna, Austria for sending in this story.

I WAS in Bad Ischl (Austria) a week ago, sought out an antiquariat bookstore for anything on printing and was told by the prop that there was nothing, but on the way out I looked down and under a stack of stuff there was a case of what appeared to be wood type.

I told the prop I’d be back to have a closer look, to discover a couple of days later that it was a remarkably full font of relatively standard gothic with all kinds of accented letters, not in wood, as I had suspected, but foundry type metal – weighed half a ton!

Case was marked 72 pt, but looked larger. The type had been milled down, to what height I have no idea, and I don’t travel with a .918 caliper. Alas it was only lower case, so I passed it up.

Interesting part was that a couple of years ago at a street stall in Bad Ischl I had picked up a mounted electro just out of curiosity to find when I got home that it was to .918.

Seller wanted to know whether I knew what it was or not; my (positive and detailed) answer probably surprised him and likely raised the price, but what the hell.

It would/will take some more research, but I wonder if, in the postwar 1945-55 occupation period, there hadn’t been a printer in Bad Ischl who worked to the US standard. Relatively nearby Salzburg province was under US administration.

2 thoughts on “Austrian Type Height

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  1. As far as I know, anywhere on the European continent, all moulds I saw, in Geneva, Italiy, Spain, Germany, Poland… all of them were .928″… At the TypeArchyve this is called Didot-height…

    In Belgium… the Belgium mould are .932″

    In the Netherlands the moulds were .9785″ but at the Dutch State printshop, moulds were .932″ “Staatdrukkerij hoogte”…

    1. There are two type heights in Italy. The .928″ height is called “French height.” The “Italian height” is much higher, around .977″.

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