Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
One product-labelling requirement of the European Union is that prepackaged liquids conventionally sold by volume or mass may have an estimate of the weight of the liquid also printed on the label. What the sign means is that the stated volume or mass complies with specific rules concerning permitted average and maximum deviations from the stated value. As that organization consists of countries that use many different languages, a unique symbol has been developed to aid recognition. Other laws have been passed to use this symbol for a few rare additional purposes.
The estimated sign looks like a minuscule "e". But its exact shape is as much geometrically specified as any of the projects to construct letters of the alphabet during the Renaissance. No other minuscule "e" is permitted by law. This sign has been added to the Unicode list of characters, among others, just as the symbol for the Euro has been, and can be considered a new basic character in a typeface. It is character U+212E (℮).
References with typographic specifications
Use of the sign
- Council Directive of 20 January 1976 [PDF file] on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making-up by weight or by volume of certain prepackaged products
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