type high

Can someone please tell me, in simple letterpress-for-beginners-terms please, what the heck “type high” means? Everything that I’ve found in my search is way over my head yet I hear this term all the time. Thanks-

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In simple terms it means 0.918 inches high. It is standard height of type, measured from the face to the foot.



Curiously, the Wikipedia illustration does not actually call out this dimension. For an illustration which does, see (for example) the American Type Founders specimen online at:


On p. 25 (inside back cover) they have an illustration of a representative piece of type with the basic features called out. “Type High” is the same as “Height to Paper”. It has been 0.918 in the US since the late 19th century, but may be different in other countries.

David M.

It is different heights depending on the country.
This is a link to a page out of a Mouldtype fount book.


This is quite interesting. Here a little comment to the type heights in Denmark, Europe
The common height to the paper in DK is 62 2/3 Didot-Berthold punkt or 23,56 mm or 0.928 inch - also known as Deutsche Normal-höhe or French type height.
Of cause there have been other heights (ranging from approx 63 to 68 punkt) in DK in the past - as in UK, Germany etc - before the standardization and the introduction of the Didot system in the late 1890s. One of them was the old Leipziger-höhe on 66 punkt.
In an old pricelist from William Simmelkiær Type Foundery in Cph. from 1912, they still cast on two systems - their own (?) and the Didot system. There own system where probably phased out around WW1.
I have collected types for a decade or more and have only once found a few characters of types cast on the old Leipziger-höhe - all the rest on the standard type height of 62 2/3 punkt.
As a little side note to this: One of the leading Danish printshops, Schultz Bogtrykkeri in Cph., used the old Leipziger system until around 1950, where they throw out there old types and implemented the Monotype system.
Gott grüß die Kunst