Re: Printing White Decals - 'Fonts'

Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...>

On Mon, May 27, 2019 at 11:29 AM, Richard Brennan wrote:
More caveats:
 - Even before 'named' trains.. the road name lettering on engines and passenger cars was NOT necessarily the same as that on freight cars.
 - The stencil diagram a historical society has for 9-inch letters probably does NOT scale down correctly to 2, 3 or 4-inch markings.
   Even if the letter outline is the same (or similar) the stencil bridges (technical term for the 'bars' that hold interior portions of the stencil) will not necessarily be scaled proportionately.
 - Car builders did not always follow the Railroad's lettering instructions... often using what was available, rather than what was specified.
 - Car shops usually cut their own stencils... and repaired them as needed, which means individual letters could differ by shop location and date. 
 - Reweigh and other shop data was applied by whatever shop did the work... not necessarily the car owner.  Lettering styles can vary widely...
Very good points, to which I'll add:

Different sizes of prototype lettering usually had different drawings, the reason being that as the lettering got smaller, the proportion between the thick and thin strokes became less, so that the thin strokes didn't appear to disappear in the small lettering. Using one style and just reducing it will usually yield small letters that look anemic, and don't print well.

Be aware that in older B&W prints it is not uncommon for areas of great contrast, such as white lettering on a dark car side, to 'swell' as the bright light affects the film emulsion slightly outside of the actual boundaries of the white object. When the negative was printed, this makes the lettering appear bolder than it should be. This can normally be spotted by comparing multiple photos. It also shows itself in a single image by things that should be perfectly sharp square corners, like the ends of the serifs, taking on a rounded appearance. There are some lettering styles that did have rounded serifs, more common today than during the steam era.

Dennis Storzek

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