Born in 1831, Hermann Berthold was the son of a calico-printer. On completion of his apprenticeship as a precision-instrument maker and after practical experience gained abroad in galvanography, Hermann Berthold founded his "Institute for Galvano Technology" in Berlin in 1858. Very quickly he discovered a method of producing circular lines from brass and not, as customary at that time, from lead or zinc. The soldering normally necessary could also be dispensed with. The lines were elastic and therefore highly durable. They produced outstandingly fine results. Most of German's letterpress printers and many printers abroad placed their orders with Berthold. His products became so popular that the print trade popularized the saying "As precise as Berthold brass".
In 1878 Hermann Berthold was commissioned to put an end to the confusion of typographic systems of measurement. With the aid of Professor Foerster he succeeded in devising a basic unit of measurement (1m = 2,660 typographic points). This was the birth of the first generally binding system of typographic measurement. It is still used in the trade. Hermann Berthold served as the head of the Berthold type foundry until 1888.