At 21:35 Uhr +0100 09.11.2003, Rolf Marvin Bøe Lindgren wrote:
>[Rolf F. Rehe]
>| Your definition of ligatures is correct, but your assumption of what
>| Gutenberg used is not. He used three devices:
>| * ligatures (many)
>| * contractions for multiple letters (a horizontal bar over an 'n'
>| indicated that the glyph actually consisted of two, not one, letters
>| * some capital letters were cast in different widths.
>as far as I recall he used sixteen ligatures - the number is not
>important - but surely this was to imitate calligraphy, where the
>purpose of ligatures was eastethics (or readability), not
The number of ligatures he used seems to be around fifty; he used a
total of 290 different glyphs. According to multiple sources - and it
seems to me also based on common sense - the purpose was to maintain
even word spacing for each line of type. It was also used to imitate
the style of the handwritten books - although I wouldn't refer to
them as products of calligraphy. Matters of legibility evidently did
not play a major role; some of the ligatures, such as 'pe' or 'de'
appear to even hamper legibility.
Rolf F. Rehe
Design Research International
- Quality and Innovation -