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css border style property for <td> versus the border property of <td>

bisonfur37
bisonfur37 asked
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Last Modified: 2011-08-18
Lets say that we have the following in a css file that we are importing to our html file.
table          { background-color: #c6c4c4; border-width: 0px; padding: 0px;}
th             { background-color: #ffffff; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; horizontal-align: left; vertical-align: top }
td             { border-bottom: solid black 2px; border-top: solid black 2px; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; horizontal-align: left; vertical-align: top }

table.top        { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 0; padding: 7px;}
th.top           { background-color: #ffffff; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; horizontal-align: center; vertical-align: top }
td.top           { font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; horizontal-align: left; vertical-align: top }

Here is the HTML we are working on.
            <table border="0" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" cellspacing="0" cellborder="0">
                  <tr bgcolor="#FFFFFF">
                        <td style="border: 0px" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><img src="<?echo $images;?>top_pic1.gif" border="0"></td>
                        <td style="border: 0px" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><img src="<?echo $images;?>top_pic2.gif" border="0"></td>
                        <td style="border: 0px" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><img src="<?echo $images;?>top_pic3.gif" border="0"></td>
                  </tr>
            </table>

As you may be able to tell, the cells where the images are placed have a top and bottom border.  We want to get rid of this border and have tried the following:
1.   changed <td style="border: 0px" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><img src="<?echo $images;?>top_pic1.gif" border="0"></td>
 to <td class="top" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><img src="<?echo $images;?>top_pic1.gif" border="0"></td>
2. changed <td style="border: 0px" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><img src="<?echo $images;?>top_pic1.gif" border="0"></td>
to <td border="0" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><img src="<?echo $images;?>top_pic1.gif" border="0"></td>

None of these worked.  When I changed the td.top definition to include 'border: 0px' and used number 1 from above, it worked, the border was no more.  
The question is, why did I have to specify a border when by default there are no borders (in td's) and is the css style definition for a <td> border completely different than the html definition for a <td> border?  
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