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  • JeffHamm
    replied
    Hi hermholland,

    Originally posted by hermholland View Post
    Yeah I wouldn't actually know where to begin looking for the actual dates when those measurements were in use at all as opposed to standard use. It's a very interesting point too, that it could contribute to better understanding where or who it would have come from.
    It's possible. While a lot of the time people think that all that is required is a bit of clever story-telling, solving any real-world puzzle, be it in science, history, or crime, boils down to knowing facts that create constraints. Where those facts come from, and what constraints they provide, can sometimes come from very unexpected place, such as this example where we're looking at the size of the paper used.

    We still don't know if it will actually lead anywhere of course, and it may very well not. But the one guarantee is that if we don't look at a new idea, we won't know. I've not seen this particular detail get raised before, which is why it caught my interest. There's a lot of information that needs to be pulled together before we run too far with suggesting what new thing we know. I've suggested one or two ideas more to illustrate where it could go, rather than to suggest we're already there. But, anything that provides the possibility of creating a new fact of detail that has to be accounted for, is just one more obstacle that can trip up a false theory, and helps to paint truth further into a corner. Sadly, we have so few obstacles to work with, it's hard to see the walls, let alone the corners.

    I'm pleased it didn't come across badly (lots of people I've known are hyper sensitive to anything that could even be loosely construed as saying they're wrong, and it's made me very anxious about that possibility, especially on the internet where things can so easily be taken the wrong way).
    Nah, I'm not concerned about being shown when I'm wrong. I'm also pretty used to it as I'm willing to take a risk and present my thoughts, even when I know I'm not really well versed in something, that's how I learn something new. I'm stubborn at times, and won't concede to rubbish, but I don't pretend to be an expert in things I'm ignorant about, and I'm not so fragile as to hold on to erroneous views despite being presented with good reasons to reconsider things. As I say, your idea intrigued me, and got me looking into things I never would have otherwise. And that to me is a good thing. Not everyone will recognize the value of such explorations, but not everybody has to. Each of us here contributes in our unique way.

    I might well see about finding out if that book is available. I live in Cardiff, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that the central library of the capitol city of Wales might have a book like that in its vast inventory...!
    You'll have no problem. I was going to private message you a photo of it from the book, but it appears you can't receive them. Not sure if you need to have a certain number of posts before PMs are enabled, or if you've chosen to turn those off. Anyway, you'll be able to get a copy at your library without any problems at all.

    Oh, and in case I failed to do this already, welcome to the boards.

    - Jeff

    Leave a comment:


  • hermholland
    replied
    Trial run number 1. (Dukes size paper)
    This was never going to be the finished product, so I didn't use the pen I plan to (which should get a really uneven distribution of ink that should really look the part)

    Earl Grey tea is too weak to stain the paper as much as I'd like (everyday tea or coffee will definitely be too strong)
    The red ink comes out more purple on the page if it's stained first
    Ineed to put a lot more thought in to the smudges

    Leave a comment:


  • hermholland
    replied
    Yeah I wouldn't actually know where to begin looking for the actual dates when those measurements were in use at all as opposed to standard use. It's a very interesting point too, that it could contribute to better understanding where or who it would have come from.

    I'm pleased it didn't come across badly (lots of people I've known are hyper sensitive to anything that could even be loosely construed as saying they're wrong, and it's made me very anxious about that possibility, especially on the internet where things can so easily be taken the wrong way).

    I might well see about finding out if that book is available. I live in Cardiff, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that the central library of the capitol city of Wales might have a book like that in its vast inventory...!

    Leave a comment:


  • JeffHamm
    replied
    Hi hermholland,

    Originally posted by hermholland View Post

    I don't have access to a "Letters From Hell" and when it's within my means to buy something like that I definitely will be looking in to it. Yay money.
    This means that I'm going to have to take your word for the measurements and aspect ratios based on those images, and assume you're right that they match A5 better. Your logic seems sound enough too. And please don't take the following post as any sort of challenge to your reasoning (it's more wanting to validate and legitimise my own position on the matter).

    The dates regarding the legitimacy of A5 are still sticking in my craw. I'll try and outline why:

    Lichtenberg first writes about the √2 ratio in a letter to Johann Beckmann in 1786, and the formats based on this are first mentioned in a law on taxation of publications in 1798. So this means this was around almost 100 years before the letter would be written. But that's in France. And France & England weren't on the best of terms pretty much throughout the 19th century (either at war or close to doing so for almost the whole century, which was barely alleviated by the military alliance against Russia during the Crimean War). At the end of the 19th century, the relationship between England and France was especially fraught; "an armed peace characterized by alarms, distrust, rancour and irritation".
    Knowing how xenophobic Britain can be and has been, even if paper was produced by these distinctly French standards between 1798 and 1911, remembering the fact that Britain already had a standard for paper production in place, anything resembling the √2 ratio at the time would have been the exception, not the rule, and it is not far-fetched to believe that "French standard" things would have been shunned at such a time of high tension.

    The next development of paper being produced with the √2 ratio isn't until 1911, by Ostwald, a German, in 1911, but it's not until 1921 that this becomes standardised. In Germany. It wasn't even until 1959 that this became the standard in the United Kingdom. Just over 70 years after the From Hell letter would be written.


    I know that "standard" doesn't mean that paper was never produced like this before that date, but when I consider that the first acknowledgement of the √2 ratio outside of France wasn't until 23 years after the writing of the From Hell letter, and that even though England and France never went to war after 1815 they were far from friendly, I'd be incredibly surprised if England would be doing something like producing / importing paper of the French standard.

    Therefore, I find it incredibly difficult to accept the idea that the original letter would have been produced on A5 paper, and that it's far more likely that it is only the photographs which adhere to this, even when you consider that the photographs show the corners of the letter itself.
    I guess "reasonable doubt" is the way I'd describe my stance here.

    Additionally, though this is much less rigid in reasoning than above, I have a few different relatively high quality images of the From Hell letter that I've been using for reference, and with a mind to establish the best possible view of all the different strokes, flicks, blotches etcetera. One thing I've noticed is that none of them seem to line up with eachother all that well when you place them on top of one another. I've scaled, sheared, and changed the perspective of them in a few different combinations (sometimes needing more of one or other than you'd maybe expect) and while I can get most of the letters to line up I have never been able to get them all to do so cleanly without actually cutting parts of the image out and scaling/shearing/etcetera those parts individually.
    What this leads me to believe is that even with our better quality photographs of the letter, the images still aren't really brilliant for consistency in scale and perspective.
    This doesn't actually mean much of anything apart from the fact that I'm less inclined to rigidly trust any one photograph for things like dimensions and scale.


    I'll admit that, after all this, I fear I'm guilty of finding the answer I like, and shaping my reasoning around confirming that answer.
    But even if I reject the Dukes answer, I still find myself being really not comfortable with A5.

    BUT as I mentioned at the start of this (much longer than I expected, apologies) reply, this is all working without the Evans & Skinner image. So this is very possibly entirely erroneous.
    No problem, or offense taken. It is always wise to want to see the images for yourself. Properly one would view the document itself in real life rather than rely on an image of it as that is one step removed from the actual material. Also, you're reasoning for concerns are valid, though some of them may be addressed by researching paper sizes in standard use during the Victorian period. This is something I have no knowledge of at all. Prior to your post, I had no knowledge of the various paper standards at all. Your interests in recreations would provide you with far more background and experience into the nitty gritty of things to be considered. I've been doing a few searches to try and find out when the A series of paper sizes was used in the UK, but haven't found anything definitive.

    What could be interesting, though, is if there were only a limited number of areas where it was in common use. If you were to eventually decide that A5 was the likely paper used, and if A5 turns out to have been common only in a few specialty uses, then that could provide some new information. One other possibility, of course, is that it may point to the author being someone who travelled to France or Europe, and who may have picked up paper there. This might tie in well with theories of JtR being a sailor of some sort (on the assumption the letter actually was from JtR of course).

    I will say the image in Letters from Hell does appear to show the letter in its entirety and does not appear to be cropped, but you have more experience in that matter than I do. If you can find a copy of the book in a local library, then you could check it out and do your own measurements (it's found on page 64 in my copy). If that is a possibility, I look forward to hearing what you think. As I say, I have no background in this area at all, so while I'm confident in my measurements (I can use a ruler), there's more to it than just that.

    One thing that is interesting, though. The top of the letter has squared off corners (well, the upper right one has been torn, but the upper left is intact and square), while the bottom of the page has rounded off corners. This puts me in mind of a pad of writing paper (you know, where sheets of paper are attached to a spine until individually removed for use), but I don't think they were even invented until after 1900. Anyway, there might be something in the shape of the page, with top squared and bottom rounded, that helps to narrow down potential sources for the paper.

    - Jeff

    Leave a comment:


  • hermholland
    replied
    Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
    As rj posted earlier, there's a high quality image found in that book depicting the letter, and the measurements from that (which is taken square on) give a 1:1.41 type ratio (which, when I dug my copy out, I get as well) and that is more fitting with the letter itself being on A5 rather than Duke (which has a ratio of 1:1.27). The Imperial sizes are interesting, creating much more variability in the aspect ratios of the various papers. Sadly for us, the letter appears to be in the less distinguishing ratio, but A5 would be the most likely for all the reasons people have offered already.
    I don't have access to a "Letters From Hell" and when it's within my means to buy something like that I definitely will be looking in to it. Yay money.
    This means that I'm going to have to take your word for the measurements and aspect ratios based on those images, and assume you're right that they match A5 better. Your logic seems sound enough too. And please don't take the following post as any sort of challenge to your reasoning (it's more wanting to validate and legitimise my own position on the matter).

    The dates regarding the legitimacy of A5 are still sticking in my craw. I'll try and outline why:

    Lichtenberg first writes about the √2 ratio in a letter to Johann Beckmann in 1786, and the formats based on this are first mentioned in a law on taxation of publications in 1798. So this means this was around almost 100 years before the letter would be written. But that's in France. And France & England weren't on the best of terms pretty much throughout the 19th century (either at war or close to doing so for almost the whole century, which was barely alleviated by the military alliance against Russia during the Crimean War). At the end of the 19th century, the relationship between England and France was especially fraught; "an armed peace characterized by alarms, distrust, rancour and irritation".
    Knowing how xenophobic Britain can be and has been, even if paper was produced by these distinctly French standards between 1798 and 1911, remembering the fact that Britain already had a standard for paper production in place, anything resembling the √2 ratio at the time would have been the exception, not the rule, and it is not far-fetched to believe that "French standard" things would have been shunned at such a time of high tension.

    The next development of paper being produced with the √2 ratio isn't until 1911, by Ostwald, a German, in 1911, but it's not until 1921 that this becomes standardised. In Germany. It wasn't even until 1959 that this became the standard in the United Kingdom. Just over 70 years after the From Hell letter would be written.


    I know that "standard" doesn't mean that paper was never produced like this before that date, but when I consider that the first acknowledgement of the √2 ratio outside of France wasn't until 23 years after the writing of the From Hell letter, and that even though England and France never went to war after 1815 they were far from friendly, I'd be incredibly surprised if England would be doing something like producing / importing paper of the French standard.

    Therefore, I find it incredibly difficult to accept the idea that the original letter would have been produced on A5 paper, and that it's far more likely that it is only the photographs which adhere to this, even when you consider that the photographs show the corners of the letter itself.
    I guess "reasonable doubt" is the way I'd describe my stance here.

    Additionally, though this is much less rigid in reasoning than above, I have a few different relatively high quality images of the From Hell letter that I've been using for reference, and with a mind to establish the best possible view of all the different strokes, flicks, blotches etcetera. One thing I've noticed is that none of them seem to line up with eachother all that well when you place them on top of one another. I've scaled, sheared, and changed the perspective of them in a few different combinations (sometimes needing more of one or other than you'd maybe expect) and while I can get most of the letters to line up I have never been able to get them all to do so cleanly without actually cutting parts of the image out and scaling/shearing/etcetera those parts individually.
    What this leads me to believe is that even with our better quality photographs of the letter, the images still aren't really brilliant for consistency in scale and perspective.
    This doesn't actually mean much of anything apart from the fact that I'm less inclined to rigidly trust any one photograph for things like dimensions and scale.


    I'll admit that, after all this, I fear I'm guilty of finding the answer I like, and shaping my reasoning around confirming that answer.
    But even if I reject the Dukes answer, I still find myself being really not comfortable with A5.

    BUT as I mentioned at the start of this (much longer than I expected, apologies) reply, this is all working without the Evans & Skinner image. So this is very possibly entirely erroneous.

    Leave a comment:


  • hermholland
    replied
    Originally posted by DJA View Post

    Do you intend making these available on Amazon or eBay?

    With or without frames?
    Honestly, I'm pretty much only a hobbyist with projects like this, regardless of how much detail I like to try and go in to with them. So it has not once occurred to me until your comment to consider selling any reproduction I might make. My thinking was simply that I'd have been doing it for me to have one, and I might possibly make one for my friend who is a much more involved (but still casual) JtR investigation enthusiast.

    I guess it depends on how my personal attempts end up and how difficult I find doing it, whether or not I'd decide to make many with a mind to sell them.
    I suppose also after posting my finished product here and getting feedback, if people thought them good enough to sell, then I could look in to that.

    Leave a comment:


  • DJA
    replied
    Originally posted by hermholland View Post
    Also, if I do make a replica, which seems increasingly likely as time goes by (because I've apparently already have a plan on how I'd execute it), I'll make sure to post the results (though I gather I'd need to do that in a different thread?)
    I can provide my plan if anyone wants, too.
    Do you intend making these available on Amazon or eBay?

    With or without frames?

    Leave a comment:


  • JeffHamm
    replied
    Hi rj,

    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    Hi Jeff,

    my apologies for the typo in my previous post; I’ll blame it on using one of these bloody iPhones. I did indeed mean the classic 1:1.41 ratio.

    Admittedly, the subject of paper size isn’t as inherently fascinating as, say, Victorian traffic patterns into Broad Street, but I did find it interesting that this ratio was formulated by the German philosopher Lichtenberg at the end of the 18th Century. It’s an efficient system for paper manufacturers, which, alas, means the sheet was evidently a standard size and could have come from anywhere—a law office in King’s Bench Walk, a West End hotel, the library of Lewis Carroll, the London Hospital, or one of Pickford’s depots, etc etc.

    Incidentally, I read in an old post by, I think, Stewart Evans, or maybe it was Paul Begg, that there was some indication that the original Lusk Letter may have found it’s way to Canada, but I have no idea on what this was based.

    RP
    No worries, I figured that was the case but typo's are good to sort out "for the record". It's sometimes little, and yes dull, details like this that can result in providing a new path for investigation. Sadly, the paper size is not unusual in any way, so as you say, could be from anywhere. But research isn't about getting "the right answer", but simply asking potentially informative questions.

    Oh, so there's some reason to believe the original letter may still be in existence then? That would be interesting.

    - Jeff

    Leave a comment:


  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    Hi Jeff,

    my apologies for the typo in my previous post; I’ll blame it on using one of these bloody iPhones. I did indeed mean the classic 1:1.41 ratio.

    Admittedly, the subject of paper size isn’t as inherently fascinating as, say, Victorian traffic patterns into Broad Street, but I did find it interesting that this ratio was formulated by the German philosopher Lichtenberg at the end of the 18th Century. It’s an efficient system for paper manufacturers, which, alas, means the sheet was evidently a standard size and could have come from anywhere—a law office in King’s Bench Walk, a West End hotel, the library of Lewis Carroll, the London Hospital, or one of Pickford’s depots, etc etc.

    Incidentally, I read in an old post by, I think, Stewart Evans, or maybe it was Paul Begg, that there was some indication that the original Lusk Letter may have found it’s way to Canada, but I have no idea on what this was based.

    RP
    What do you mean by ‘standard’ here? In general use in London at the time?

    Leave a comment:


  • DJA
    replied
    Georg Christoph Lichtenberg - Wikipedia

    World format


    Wilhelm Ostwald - Wikipedia

    Last edited by DJA; 10-24-2021, 05:45 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post

    As rj posted earlier, there's a high quality image found in that book depicting the letter, and the measurements from that (which is taken square on) give a 1:1.41 type ratio (which, when I dug my copy out, I get as well) and that is more fitting with the letter itself being on A5 rather than Duke (which has a ratio of 1:1.27). The Imperial sizes are interesting, creating much more variability in the aspect ratios of the various papers.
    Hi Jeff,

    my apologies for the typo in my previous post; I’ll blame it on using one of these bloody iPhones. I did indeed mean the classic 1:1.41 ratio.

    Admittedly, the subject of paper size isn’t as inherently fascinating as, say, Victorian traffic patterns into Broad Street, but I did find it interesting that this ratio was formulated by the German philosopher Lichtenberg at the end of the 18th Century. It’s an efficient system for paper manufacturers, which, alas, means the sheet was evidently a standard size and could have come from anywhere—a law office in King’s Bench Walk, a West End hotel, the library of Lewis Carroll, the London Hospital, or one of Pickford’s depots, etc etc.

    Incidentally, I read in an old post by, I think, Stewart Evans, or maybe it was Paul Begg, that there was some indication that the original Lusk Letter may have found it’s way to Canada, but I have no idea on what this was based.

    RP

    Leave a comment:


  • JeffHamm
    replied
    Hi hermholland,

    Originally posted by hermholland View Post
    Okay, so the A5 reference is, admittedly, just a lined piece of A4 folded in half (which is not wholly accurate)
    And please don't judge me on the accuracy of the recreation (especially because I know it's actually too big, and the writing doesn't reach so far down the page) because it was only a quick go to see how it felt on the page, visually, but here's what I meant:
    That looks good. A5 is just A4 cut in half (they all start from a large sheet, A0, and each successive number is how many times it's been cut in half across the width. So, A1 is A0 sliced in half, A2 is a 2nd halving, and so forth. The aspect ratio remains the same all the way through the series because they start in a "1:square root of 2" ratio. Otherwise, the ratio would alternate between two different values with each halving (i.e. if you keep doing something similar with Albert paper it will alternate between 1:1.5 and 1:1.333).

    Anyway, if you don't have a copy already, you might want to look into Evans and Skinner's "Letters from Hell", which has images of all (I think) of the surviving letters. For someone with your interest and talents in making reproductions it would be a good source for other projects as well.

    As rj posted earlier, there's a high quality image found in that book depicting the letter, and the measurements from that (which is taken square on) give a 1:1.41 type ratio (which, when I dug my copy out, I get as well) and that is more fitting with the letter itself being on A5 rather than Duke (which has a ratio of 1:1.27). The Imperial sizes are interesting, creating much more variability in the aspect ratios of the various papers. Sadly for us, the letter appears to be in the less distinguishing ratio, but A5 would be the most likely for all the reasons people have offered already.

    - Jeff

    For those who are interested, here's the imperial sizes:

    Size Width x Height (in) Width x Height (mm) Aspect Ratio
    Albert ....................4.0 x 6.0 in .................. 101.6 x 152.4 mm ..... 1:1.5
    Duchess ................ 4.5 x 6.0 in .................. 114.3 x 152.4 mm ..... 1:1.3333
    Duke ..................... 5.5 x 7.0 in .................. 139.7 x 177.8 mm ..... 1:1.2727
    Foolscap Quarto ... 6.5 x 8.0 in .................. 152.4 x 203.2 mm ..... 1:1.2308
    Foolscap Folio ...... 8.0 x 13.0 .................. in 203.2 x 330.2 mm ..... 1:1.625
    Small Post Octavo 4.5 x 7.0 in .................. 114.3 x 177.8 mm ..... 1:1.5556
    Small Post Quarto 7.0 x 9.0 in .................. 177.8 x 228.6 mm ..... 1:1.2857
    Large Post Octavo 5.0 x 8.0 in .................. 127.0 x 203.2 mm ..... 1:1.6
    Large Post Quarto 8.0 x 10.0 in .................. 203.2 x 254.0 mm ..... 1:1.25

    Leave a comment:


  • hermholland
    replied
    Okay, so the A5 reference is, admittedly, just a lined piece of A4 folded in half (which is not wholly accurate)
    And please don't judge me on the accuracy of the recreation (especially because I know it's actually too big, and the writing doesn't reach so far down the page) because it was only a quick go to see how it felt on the page, visually, but here's what I meant:

    Leave a comment:


  • hermholland
    replied
    So last night I cut a sheet of paper to fit the Duke standard measurement, then traced the lettering (by simply sticking the page to my computer screen and scaling an image of the letter until it fit) and firstly the proportions felt pretty close simply by doing that, which was encouraging. Also, however, when I then laid that on top of a sheet of regular A5 it looked similar to the photo previously posted of the letters mounted.

    I know all of this is really quite unscientific, but it only served to revalidate my belief that Dukes is right, at least for as much as we can currently know.
    I'm currently down an entirely unrelated rabbit-hole, but later I will try to remember to post a photo here so you can see what I mean.

    Leave a comment:


  • DJA
    replied
    Then again Hallie Rubenhold might not be completely wrong

    Leave a comment:

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