• Typewriter Question: Elite Type

    From Quadibloc@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jun 21 19:57:40 2017
    Twelve points, or one-sixth of an inch, in vertical measure is called a pica by printers.

    And so the ordinary type for typewriters was called "pica" type, because ordinary
    typewriters print six lines to the inch.

    When typewriters came along that printed with smaller type, a new name was needed even though the vertical spacing was still six lines per inch - so 10 characters per inch horizontally is called "pica", and the fancier-looking smaller printing is called "elite".

    Sensible enough.

    So far, on the web, I've found reference in printers' type specimen books going back to 1891 to the use of "elite" for that size of typewriter printing, and a specific reference to a Remington typewriter with elite type from 1893.

    A catalogue of typewriters from 1885 seems to show that the Remington Standard 2, the first typewriter with upper- and lower- case letters, was offered not only with standard pica type, but also with some type styles that were larger, at about 9 and a half characters to the inch instead of ten.

    But, strangely enough, no one seems to remember which typewriter manufacturer, or whoever else it was, that first used the term "elite" to refer to typewriter type with the smaller 12 character to the inch spacing.

    Maybe I've just been looking in the wrong places; it's surprising to me that such a fact would be forgotten so completely.

    John Savard

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