My boss stated that he noticed the word "weight" is used to refer to the boldness of a character, and stated that he felt this was a new occurrence.
My gut feeling is that this is an old term, derived from the typesetting industry and made popular with the advent of personal computers, desktop and web publishing. I also suspect that the term had something to do with the physical weight of typeset letters, but this is just a supposition.
While Google's n-gram viewer shows a massive increase in "font weight" usage starting around 1985 (which corresponds to the usage spike of the term "desktop publishing"), there were smaller spikes around 1830 and 1932.
A search for the etymology of the use of weight in regards to the darkness of the typeface revealed nothing.
Does anyone know the source of this phrase?