To the vast ocean of unknown facts...
According to the size, A4 size paper production tops the rank at the cost of 76, 000 trees, 700 million liters of water and 40, 000 metric tons of coal! So, what makes use of this A4 paper so popular in printer and photo copier?
If you use computer regularly or work with the people taking regular work from computer, then have a glimpse around you while you are reading this article! There must be A4 paper stacked up somewhere! It may be on table, may be hidden between books on shelves, or you might have got it as society document few days back or taking its last breadth in dustbin after you have thrown it as routine newspaper ad—But it is always there, somewhere! Today very few people except caveman or jungle people might be there who have never ever seen A4 paper.Type your paragraph here.
Piece of paper is just frugal piece of paper, then why paper known as A4 is so universal? (It is to be noted that America and Canada have not adopted A4 system yet.) Do not assume that inkjet printers or laser printers are convenient for A4 paper but these machines are made to adopt A4 paper.
Take a look at the table below: You will notice that paper sizes starting from A0 have bizarre dimensions- to say exactly they are in odd figures. As for example, A4 has the dimension of 2100 mm x 297 mm. Size of these different A papers is calculated based on simple formula. Formula to calculate ratio of length to breadth is 1:1.14421356. Based on this formula, if you cut paper at the center of the length, aspect ratio of every piece will be of that original paper.
Creator of this formula, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (Image on left), was German scientist satirist, and Anglophile. He described some fascinating facts about formula 1:1.14421356 in the letter to friend John Beckman. Beckman understood that formula was amazing in itself. Aspect ratio of the length to breadth will be same every-time paper is folded halfway in length, so you won’t need to calculate more except multiplication and division while calculating weight of paper in printing press. Biggest benefit was that press could print larger size picture on small size paper without leaving any blank space and fine adjustment. This is not possible in any ratio except that of 1:1.14421356 created by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.
Old fashioned Germany did not adopt this mathematical discovery. Eight years later, France made resolution making it official, but majority of countries (because of under English rule) stuck to sizes like crown, demi, imperial, royal, fool’s cap. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg formula did not see light of the day for next 125 years and in the year 1922, German mathematician Walter Porstmann prepared a chart describing amazing relationship between different sizes from A0 to A4. Convenient standardization was possible few years after invention of photocopier machine. Image is not cut or no need to cut blank paper, if you want to make larger image smaller or smaller image larger is only possible because of formula 1:1.14421356. Except America & Canada, all the countries adopted in 1970s. Only push of button was needed for the desired size of image or document.
Just for an example, look at the A0 to A5 table. Watch it carefully, because it is like mathematical muse! All % letters relating to size are dependent on each other. A4 size paper is considered as 100%, so if you go ahead one step and give machine 141%, you get A3 paper size and same way you get A5 when you give machine 71%. Image size is changed but its aspect ratio remains constant. Biggest size paper A0 has the dimension of 841 mm x 1189 mm, perfect 1 meter area. Size of the paper halves at every single down step. So, A4 is the eighth of A0 and A5 is sixteenth and A6, 32th of A0. A10 paper is used only for label or sticker having size of 26 mm X 37 mm.
In 1975, United Nations adopted A4 size as official for its printouts and letters. In the same year, A4 received ISO 216 certification, which has earned it as International Standards. Yet, America is still using old measurement of Inch just like Gallon, Mile and Pound. Canada is another country. Globalization will ultimately bring them in same line as others. They’ve no way to go!
Billions of copiers, inkjet or laser printers and mini offset machines make A4 printout. Each single A0 paper weighs only 4.375 gm but is miracle template of formula 1:1.14421356. At any point of the day, A0 is remembered for it use but Georg Christoph Lichtenberg is not remembered. Majority of people may even not heard of him.