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In this paper, I present a history of the scratch and dig standard for optical surface quality and show that this standard has since its inception been recognized as a cosmetic standard and not as an objective or performance standard. In addition, I attempt to dispel the myth that the scratch standard was changed during the 1960's and show that scratch number cannot be related to scratch width. Finally, I describe a preliminary aging experiment that suggests that the scratch standards have not aged with time and are, in fact, extremely stable.
optical polishing, scratch-and-dig standards, surface figure
National Bureau of Standards, Boulder, Colorado