Why is block / cut .935 and not “type high .918.?

I have several printers blocks I obtained from a flea market for use in my Kelsey press once I get it up and running. I used a micrometer to measure the thickness of the cuts and notice the thickness is .935. I thought it would be .918 or type high…. these are not really that old…perhaps 1940’s-1960’s or so…Can anyone please advise me about this??

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It’s possible they’re from a country where type height is higher; I don’t know continental European heights off the top of my head, but they are greater than 0.918”. Of course, if they’re plates, they could have been mounted on whatever bits of wood the previous owner had to hand.

It’s also common for the wood to swell if it gets wet and it doesn’t shrink back to its original size. I’ve had a number of mounted zincs that were significantly over type high.


The nearest country sizes are .932” & .934” Belgium, .936” Bulgaria and .938” Russia.

These cuts appear to be of US origin as one is for a printing co in Michigan and the other 2 are for Hammermill Bond Papers.

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Wood type from Hamilton was milled slightly taller than type height I believe. Can’t remember the exact number but it was listed in Rob Roy Kelly’s American Wood Type, not sure why, but perhaps because proof presses use less makeready than a platen? Perhaps these cuts were mounted to be printed alongside wood-type, though they don’t look very big, so maybe not?

There was also a time when advertising cuts were made just for electrotyping for distribution, and the height to paper was not as important for that process, in fact pressing the matrix for the electros could compress the wood base so perhaps some engravers mounted the blocks a little over type high or didn’t worry much about the height.