enginnering suppliers and
some hardware stores.
Imperial is easier to
convert into type
This guide relates to the spacing available in our shop.
As every compositor knows the spacing system adhered to standards. A ‘nut’ space is half the width of an ‘em’, which itself is the square of the body size, the ‘thick’ is a third, the ‘mid’ space is a quarter, and the ‘thin’ is one fifth of the ‘em’ in thickness.
Narrow Word Spacing
That's almost always true, but there are exceptions. Whilst the old ‘type foundries’ like Messsrs Stephenson Blake & Co, invariably stuck to the one fifth proportion for their ‘thins’ and those ‘foundries’ using Monotype casting equipment, Like Messrs Yendall, Mouldtype Ltd, Startype, (and in latter days Messrs Stevens Shanks Ltd.) likewise stuck to the one fifth.
Larger printing companies with their own Monotype plants sometimes followed a trend for narrow word spacing and used a one sixth proportion for their ‘thins’ laid in typecases. I believe this was true of the Oxford University Press, and it certainly was of many others.
An Almost Insignificant Difference
To us, picking over the wreckage of an (almost) dead industry, it may seem a problem, finding a mixture but in fact it is absolutely not so in practise the difference is so tiny.
Thins from the Composing Room Stores
Our ‘thins’ as supplied in any text size will mostly be of the one-fifth variety, but there will occassionally be a small proportion of one sixth variety. This will have no practical effect.
Checking Your Thins
You can check by using a founders sort for comparison: one with a pronounced arch to its ‘foot’, a tiny ‘tweezer flange’ at its head, and often not having a ‘nick’.
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