I heard someone mention a tool that was used for specifying type in the pre-computer days, called an "Eber rule."

What was it and how was it used?

Is it the same thing as a font ruler? And did I spell Eber correctly?

2 Answers 2


Generally, manual type measurement is done via an E Scale. Sometimes referred to as a Type Scale.

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These can be purchased at any art supply store.

They are customarily see through plastic. In fact one company making them is called C-Thru. You would place it on top of a printed piece and move the scale to line it up with an uppercase E on the printed sample. This would tell you what type size that E was, and subsequently the rest of the type.

I don't know that I've ever heard the term "Eber rule". But it's been a while since I've needed one. Maybe I'm forgetting. You may have also overheard someone using a brand name for a ruler. The same way everyone refers to tissue as "Kleenex".

Haber Rule maybe.
In the back of my mind, far in a deep, dark, corner, I kind of recall "Haber Rule". However, Haber was a brand name I believe. A comment here at Before & After's web site seems to confirm that name.

  • As a professional graphic designer since about 1978 till about 2002, I remember it as Haber too... I still have my 18" metal Haber Ruler : )
    – D. L.
    Mar 15 at 0:15

I never heard of "Eber". What I encountered was called Typo Ruler, Typographic Gauge, Typometer.

It usually look something like this Typo Ruler

For specific type printhouses printed their own typo books when you could see what type is available, what glyphs they have and ornaments. From 5pt to 150pt I think.

In USA you also had pica-point-inch line rulers.

You also don't need to buy it. Ask your local printer or CTF if they could prepare one for you.

On a funny note. Maybe somebody was talking about "Ebert Rule" as a funny name for rule of a thumb?

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