[These pages were authored by the late Thoki Yenn, and were restored here from the Internet Archive by Erik Demaine, with contributions of missing files from various readers (notably Tommy Stevens, Roberto Morassi, and Boaz Shuval). If you spot any other bugs like missing images or pages, please report them.]

A-Format page one

 More about The A-Format & Silver Rectangle - page 5.
 ```If this (the Roman foot) was applied as the unit of measure from the begin- ning, we can better understand the ir- regular dimensions of which the system consists. When the decimal system with its me- ters and centimeters was introduced in France it was highly inconvenient to alter the paper formats since printing machin- ery, paper guillotines, and the printer's other tools and machinery were based on the already accepted sizes. Instead there- fore of altering the paper sizes to "round" figures in the metric system, it was de cided to express the old Roman foot dimensions in the appropriate number of millimeters and to retain the sizes unaltered. As the previous chapters have shown, the system of sub-division itself is really ancient. It is thus, as stated, entirely within the limits of credibility that both the system of division and the unit of measure were imported at some early stage in France's printing history direct from Rome. ``` ``` Use of the format system and sizes spread from Church printing houses to other printers in France, until it became the established means of dividing and measuring paper. From France the sizes and system gradually worked their way throughout the rest of Europe, each country accepting in turn the sizes in question on account of their rational proportions. The rational part about the A-format of paper is not the actual size of the individual sheet but the system of division which produced the proportions. The system was superior to all other sizes and shapes of paper, and -- in any event in Europe -- slowly ousted all com- petitors. Thus a tiny aspect of ancient geometry found its way unobserved into our every- day life and filled a practical role -- with- out anyone thinking of the concept's ex- tremely significant history. ```
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