I’m fascinated by names, all sort of names, and so is my character, Thomas Radwinter in my genealogical mysteries.

In my latest novel, Thomas remarks, “What is a madcap I wonder… A fool’s cap maybe… Like a jester’s headgear the thing with bells on and is that anything to do with the old way of measuring paper, foolscap and I deviate to find other old paper sizes, octavo quarto, and would you believe it duchess, duke and Albert!

I only had him look up a few examples of paper size, but later I went back and found out some of the sizes we used before it all became uniformly A – A1 – A5 – how dull.

I’ve missed out some, but just compare ‘A’ to:

  • Emperor
  • Quad demy
  • Antiquarian
  • Grand eagle
  • Double elephant
  • Atlas
  • Colombier
  • Double demy
  • Imperial
  • Double large post
  • Elephant
  • Princess
  • Cartridge
  • Royal
  • Double post
  • Super royal
  • Broadsheet
  • Demy
  • Crown
  • Pinched post
  • Foolscap
  • Brief
  • Pott

If you look just on Wikipedia, not on a site which is to do with paper, there is a huge index on size:

International paper sizes

  • A series
  • B series
  • C series

Overview: ISO paper sizes

  • German extensions
  • Swedish extensions
  • Japanese B-series variant

North American paper sizes

  • Loose sizes
  • Common loose sizes
  • Usage and adoption
  • Variant loose sizes
  • Standardized American paper sizes
  • Architectural sizes
  • Other sizes
  • Notebook sizes
  • Office sizes
  • Photography sizes
  • Postage sizes
  • Grain

… Maybe you’re not so interested… I was… and Thomas was! Here is a link to my ebooks about Thomas, and my other books too:


2 thoughts on “Double elephant and pinched post

    • It does! When you’re writing on actual paper the size makes a big difference… I always have an A6 notebook to hand when I’m going through something I’ve written to jot things down, but never use that size at any other time!

      Liked by 1 person

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