Typewriter type sizes

The way type sizes are measured on typewriters is a bit different from traditional/digital typography. In fixed-width typewriters, type sizes are measured in ‘characters per inch’ (cpi). The most common are Elite (12 cpi) and Pica (10 cpi). Elite is therefore a smaller type than Pica. Amongst my three typewriters that use different printing mechanisms, I have a total of eight different type sizes to work with. I will display them [above].

Fellow University of Reading alumnus María Ramos Silva wrote an excellent MA Typeface Design dissertation on type design for typewriters, particularly by Olivetti (2015). Definitely worth a read if you’re interested in the interaction between the social, cultural, technological and design aspects of typewriters.

(written on an Olympia Carrera de Luxe, second [final] draft)
[typos further corrected when input as digital text]