Date   

Re: decals

wm501jra
 

You guys are hitting a nerve with the discussion on lettering accuracy. I'm a little nuts on this having spent weeks on artwork for one decal set I will not use fonts or guess at what the size is. Photos are a must, sometimes what happens in the field doesn't match the stencil diagram! And they have to fit on the models correctly! While things are way better than they used to be I wish all manufacturers of prototype cars would take advantage of resources like the folks on this list instead of guessing or using fonts. It is hard for me to understand how someone could spend all the money to make an accurate model then skimp on the lettering research. I guess it is just a small percentage of modelers that worry about lettering accuracy. Sometimes I get requests where folks have scratch built cars and don't want me to spend too much time on getting the lettering exact. Unfortunately, I'm not wired that way!

Thanks for letting me rant a bit,
Jeff Adams
Western Maryland Railway modeler
WMRHS

--- In STMFC@..., CBarkan@... wrote:
tering resear
Only if you don't care about accurately rendering railroads' stencil
diagrams. There are far more disecrepancies between any commercial font I
have seen, and what the railroads really used than I could possibly document
here. Maybe some people don't notice, but for me it was immediately obvious
that there was something "fake" about cars lettered using inappropropriate
fonts. Consequently, several of us on this list have developed computer
"fonts" based on particular roads' stencil diagrams (I did the B&O about 10
years ago and have assisted in lettering numerous kits).

In short, the printing technology may be there for "cottage" decal
production, but there is no reason to think a commercial font manufacturer is
going to produce anything that is actually an accurate rendition of most
railroads' stencil diagrams.

Chris


Re: Optic style lettering

Scott Pitzer
 

SOME eye charts have slab-serifs, but a lot don't. Haven't seen one with the eight-sided letter O...
I suppose anyone who thought their style was easy to read might like "Optic" for a name.
Scott Pitzer


Re: Color of Southern hoppers

Tim O'Connor
 

Dennis

The first Southern hoppers delivered in red paint w/ Roman lettering that
I am aware of, were 281000-281299 from Pullman Standard in 1957. That photo
in the CBC definitely looks black to me. The first repaints from black to
red that I've seen were made in the late 1950's.

And actually, color film actually did exist before 1959, but the world was
still black and white back in 1953.

Tim O'Connor

--------------------------------------------

We are having a debate this morning. Looking of the photo of a triple hopper in the 1953 CBC, Southern 70080, and can't find confirmation of what color it should be. I know, I know, it's graytone, because color wasn't invented until 1959, but if color had been invented, what color would the car have been?
Dennis


Re: Optic style lettering

mopacfirst
 

When I volunteered in about 1994 to create data for the MoPac lettering style in use from at least the 1920s until 1963, I knew that the original MoPac lettering drawings had not surfaced. (It's been referred to as the DeSoto font, but as noted here, there was no such original term.)

I drew each of the letters I knew we needed, from photos, in a very cumbersome long-gone freeware drafting package, and came up with ten numbers and about 22 letters. As noted here, I could find no evidence of a Q or a couple others I can't think of now. So I sent this off to Tom Stolte, who sent it to Jerry Glow, who wrote back to me asking for the missing four letters. (!)

So I drew them, that being the hurdle we had to jump in order to create the decal sets which are still available from Oddballs. No, I didn't ask for a commission. Yes, Jerry created a TrueType font. I still have it somewhere, on a 3-1/2 inch floppy......

Ron Merrick

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Dennis Storzek wrote:
Back in the days before desktop publishing, printer's type was
printer's type, sign painters painted billboard lettering, and the
two seldom met. <snip>
Entirely true, and a point worth making (it's been made on
this list numerous times already, of course). And I'd add a third
category to Dennis's two, somewhere between printer's type and sign
painters: the railroad's drafting room, where mechanical draftsmen
made up the drawings of whatever characters were needed (as Dennis
says, not including an entire alphabet in many cases--why draw the "Q"
if your railroad didn't need it?) Many of these RESEMBLED what we call
"Railroad Roman," and in fact the MCB had recommended a set of letters
and numbers for railroad use, though most roads seem to have rolled
their own.
snip> Like so many things, the more ya know, the more ya find that
disappoints ya.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: Optic style lettering

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dennis S. wrote:
Very true, and the problem gets worse as time goes on, because you no longer need a type foundry and a set of hand crafted master patterns to offer a typeface for sale; all you need is a copy of Fontographer and a web site.
Here is one version of Octic (hope the link works):

http://www.fonts.com/findfonts/searchresults.htm?kid=octic
This is the Linotype one, obviously not the FGE lettering; neither is "refrigerator." Both are sans-serif faces, and the FGE lettering is very clearly slab-serif, quite a different look.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: Optic style lettering

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Bill, I have a modest collection of type catalogs, including the
Solo catalog of 19th century metal types, and none of them mentions
Optic. But the Clover House dry transfers included alphabets called
OCTIC (maybe named because corners are cut off of squarish letters, as
in making an octagon). It is a slab-serif type which does look like
the FGE lettering. On the other hand the name "Octic" has been used
for several other fonts of quite different appearance. For example,
there is a Linotype face which can be purchased, and another is
available as a free download from dafont.com, but neither matches the
Clover House version nor FGE.
Very true, and the problem gets worse as time goes on, because you no longer need a type foundry and a set of hand crafted master patterns to offer a typeface for sale; all you need is a copy of Fontographer and a web site.

Here is one version of Octic (hope the link works):

http://www.fonts.com/findfonts/searchresults.htm?kid=octic

Here is one called Refrigerator:

http://www.fonts.com/findfonts/searchresults.htm?kid=refrigerator

Both of these look similar to the more modern sans serif lettering used by FGE, in fact, given the name, I bet Refrigerator was inspired by the lettering on refrigerator cars. That's not to say it IS the lettering on refrigerator cars, and certainly not to say that this is what the FGE draftsmen were working from.

Dennis


Re: Optic style lettering

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:
Back in the days before desktop publishing, printer's type was printer's type, sign painters painted billboard lettering, and the two seldom met. I'm searching through "Southern Railway Equipment Drawings and Photographs" by George Eichelburger, Published by the SRHA, and while I see lots of drawings of letters and numbers, I don't see a single "font" name. The drawings all have names like SF-5075 12" LETTERS "SOUTHERN" and SF-40401 3" LETTERS "CAPY". These aren't fonts. Websters defines font as "an assortment or set of type or characters all of one style and sometimes one size." Common usage usually assumes at least the complete alphabet. These drawings aren't complete alphabets, they are simply drawings of specific stencils.
Entirely true, and a point worth making (it's been made on this list numerous times already, of course). And I'd add a third category to Dennis's two, somewhere between printer's type and sign painters: the railroad's drafting room, where mechanical draftsmen made up the drawings of whatever characters were needed (as Dennis says, not including an entire alphabet in many cases--why draw the "Q" if your railroad didn't need it?) Many of these RESEMBLED what we call "Railroad Roman," and in fact the MCB had recommended a set of letters and numbers for railroad use, though most roads seem to have rolled their own.
But producers of model railroad lettering have naturally relied on the convenience of type fonts instead of actual artwork for "correct" lettering. Microscale used to be notorious for using whatever font looked good to them, even when supplied with meticulous ink-on-vellum artwork from railroad drawings. Champ did MANY sets with font shortcuts. But the fact that there is a "similar" font will only sometimes help. I know in the case of SP that they used a very condensed set of numerals, though the alphabetic characters were normal width. This means that letters and numbers of all the same style CANNOT look right for SP lettering.
Like so many things, the more ya know, the more ya find that disappoints ya.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: Optic style lettering

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Bill Welch wrote:
All of the decal talk reminds me of a question I have had for awhile: Was the type style used by the FGE/WFE/BRE System truly known as "Optic?" I think my knowledge of this font comes from a Sunshine PDS, but I have seen other references to Optic, although I cannot remember where.
Bill, I have a modest collection of type catalogs, including the Solo catalog of 19th century metal types, and none of them mentions Optic. But the Clover House dry transfers included alphabets called OCTIC (maybe named because corners are cut off of squarish letters, as in making an octagon). It is a slab-serif type which does look like the FGE lettering. On the other hand the name "Octic" has been used for several other fonts of quite different appearance. For example, there is a Linotype face which can be purchased, and another is available as a free download from dafont.com, but neither matches the Clover House version nor FGE.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: Optic style lettering

Richard Townsend
 

Bill,

Several years ago I sent Ben Coifman of Rail Fonts a package of materials so he could do a font for his line. He showed no interest in it, though. Maybe with your materials he would have enough info to do it. Also Charlie Vlk made an offer to prepare it more recently but I have not followed up on it.


Richard Townsend
Lincoln City, Oregon

-----Original Message-----
From: lnbill <fgexbill@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thu, Jun 16, 2011 9:48 am
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Optic style lettering




This make total sense to me Dennis. None of the many lettering diagrams I have managed to now corral for FGE/WFE/BRE have any names for things.

Bill Welch


Re: Optic style lettering

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Al Kresse wrote:
In the early 1950s Allan Cripe, from the post-WW2 C&O Office of Research and Design in Cleveland, then under Ken Browne, an aeronautical engineer, and Allan an Industrial Design graduate from U of Cincinnati talked the C&O's PR department into using the latest European fonts or styles of lettering: Futura.
Not exactly the "latest," Al. Paul Renner designed Futura in 1927 and it was an immediate success. C&O was a few decades late on that one <g>.
Now if they had gone for, say, Palatino, that was indeed new in the early 1950s (actually 1948).

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: Question on brakes on rebuilt SF Door and half automobile car

Pieter Roos
 

For those who might be curious, here is a photo of the finished kit:

http://www.nasg.org/databases/freight-cars.php?hd=y

Pieter Roos
Connecticut (and S scale modeler).

--- In STMFC@..., Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...> wrote:
<SNIP>
Ah, now I know that what you're talking about is an Fe-P class car
originally built with 1-1/2 steel plate doors. Many of these cars
were rebuilt in the early 1930s as Fe-T class with 12' double doors
and Evans double deck auto racks. A decade later, the auto racks
were removed and the cars reverted to the Fe-P class. In 1950 300
cars had their auxiliary doors secured shut and were reclassified
Bx-56. Later in 1950, another 200 were converted to single door cars
with 6' doors; their auxiliary doors were removed and their sectional
sheathing extended, and they were reclassified Bx-58. I have photos
of all four versions which I'll send you off list.


Re: Optic style lettering

Bill Welch
 

This make total sense to me Dennis. None of the many lettering diagrams I have managed to now corral for FGE/WFE/BRE have any names for things.

Bill Welch

--- In STMFC@..., "soolinehistory" <destorzek@...> wrote:



--- In STMFC@..., Bill Welch <fgexbill@> wrote:

All of the decal talk reminds me of a question I have had for awhile:
Was the type style used by the FGE/WFE/BRE System truly known as
"Optic?" I think my knowledge of this font comes from a Sunshine PDS,
but I have seen other references to Optic, although I cannot remember
where. I have certainly seen this name used on this list and I have
used it in my various handouts. I have seen this style used on other
earlier freight cars--NC&StL and curiously the Armour owned Fruit
Growers Express circa 1904 are two examples.

Bill, the problem is that today people think of "fonts" as a commodity item... run down to the store and pick up a sack of Helvetica for me, will ya?

Back in the days before desktop publishing, printer's type was printer's type, sign painters painted billboard lettering, and the two seldom met. I'm searching through "Southern Railway Equipment Drawings and Photographs" by George Eichelburger, Published by the SRHA, and while I see lots of drawings of letters and numbers, I don't see a single "font" name. The drawings all have names like SF-5075 12" LETTERS "SOUTHERN" and SF-40401 3" LETTERS "CAPY". These aren't fonts. Websters defines font as "an assortment or set of type or characters all of one style and sometimes one size." Common usage usually assumes at least the complete alphabet. These drawings aren't complete alphabets, they are simply drawings of specific stencils.

When industrial design firms began to do railroad work, this began to change, because these firms promoted the concept of unity of image, where the lettering on the menu was somehow related to the lettering on the outside of the diner, so yes, the big lettering on the sides of Santa Fe diesels really was Cooper Black, because that's where the design team pulled it from, Cooper Black printers type. But this is a relatively modern concept, and there is no reason to think that most of our historic lettering bears any relationship to anything other than the drawing where it was defined.

Dennis


Re: Optic style lettering

water.kresse@...
 

In the early 1950s Allan Cripe, from the post-WW2 C&O Office of Research and Design in Cleveland, then under Ken Browne, an aeronautical engineer, and Allan an Industrial Design graduate from U of Cincinnati talked the C&O's PR department into using the latest European fonts or styles of lettering: Futura.  On brown box cars they played initially with yellow Futura Medium but later switched to white Semi-bold . . . . after getting complaints from clerks having to read info on the fly.  Therefore, from Bauhaus to house-car.



Al Kresse

----- Original Message -----
From: "soolinehistory" <destorzek@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:20:12 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Optic style lettering



--- In STMFC@..., Bill Welch <fgexbill@...> wrote:

All of the decal talk reminds me of a question I have had for awhile:  
Was the type style used by the FGE/WFE/BRE System truly known as  
"Optic?" I think my knowledge of this font comes from a Sunshine PDS,  
but I have seen other references to Optic, although I cannot remember  
where. I have certainly seen this name used on this list and I have  
used it in my various handouts. I have seen this style used on other  
earlier freight cars--NC&StL and curiously the Armour owned Fruit  
Growers Express circa 1904 are two examples.

Bill, the problem is that today people think of "fonts" as a commodity item... run down to the store and pick up a sack of Helvetica for me, will ya?

Back in the days before desktop publishing, printer's type was printer's type, sign painters painted billboard lettering, and the two seldom met. I'm searching through "Southern Railway Equipment Drawings and Photographs" by George Eichelburger, Published by the SRHA, and while I see lots of drawings of letters and numbers, I don't see a single "font" name. The drawings all have names like SF-5075 12" LETTERS "SOUTHERN" and SF-40401 3" LETTERS "CAPY". These aren't fonts. Websters defines font as "an assortment or set of type or characters all of one style and sometimes one size." Common usage usually assumes at least the complete alphabet. These drawings aren't complete alphabets, they are simply drawings of specific stencils.

When industrial design firms began to do railroad work, this began to change, because these firms promoted the concept of unity of image, where the lettering on the menu was somehow related to the lettering on the outside of the diner, so yes, the big lettering on the sides of Santa Fe diesels really was Cooper Black, because that's where the design team pulled it from, Cooper Black printers type. But this is a relatively modern concept, and there is no reason to think that most of our historic lettering bears any relationship to anything other than the drawing where it was defined.

Dennis



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Color of Southern hoppers

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

We are having a debate this morning. Looking of the photo of a triple hopper in the 1953 CBC, Southern 70080, and can't find confirmation of what color it should be. I know, I know, it's graytone, because color wasn't invented until 1959, but if color had been invented, what color would the car have been?

Dennis


Re: Optic style lettering

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Bill Welch <fgexbill@...> wrote:

All of the decal talk reminds me of a question I have had for awhile:
Was the type style used by the FGE/WFE/BRE System truly known as
"Optic?" I think my knowledge of this font comes from a Sunshine PDS,
but I have seen other references to Optic, although I cannot remember
where. I have certainly seen this name used on this list and I have
used it in my various handouts. I have seen this style used on other
earlier freight cars--NC&StL and curiously the Armour owned Fruit
Growers Express circa 1904 are two examples.

Bill, the problem is that today people think of "fonts" as a commodity item... run down to the store and pick up a sack of Helvetica for me, will ya?

Back in the days before desktop publishing, printer's type was printer's type, sign painters painted billboard lettering, and the two seldom met. I'm searching through "Southern Railway Equipment Drawings and Photographs" by George Eichelburger, Published by the SRHA, and while I see lots of drawings of letters and numbers, I don't see a single "font" name. The drawings all have names like SF-5075 12" LETTERS "SOUTHERN" and SF-40401 3" LETTERS "CAPY". These aren't fonts. Websters defines font as "an assortment or set of type or characters all of one style and sometimes one size." Common usage usually assumes at least the complete alphabet. These drawings aren't complete alphabets, they are simply drawings of specific stencils.

When industrial design firms began to do railroad work, this began to change, because these firms promoted the concept of unity of image, where the lettering on the menu was somehow related to the lettering on the outside of the diner, so yes, the big lettering on the sides of Santa Fe diesels really was Cooper Black, because that's where the design team pulled it from, Cooper Black printers type. But this is a relatively modern concept, and there is no reason to think that most of our historic lettering bears any relationship to anything other than the drawing where it was defined.

Dennis


Re: decals

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:

Dennis, are you sure that is why? From what I've seen of decal manufacture using
silkscreens, the artwork is only the first step in the process. I thought Champ used
a "letter press" and used some kind of printing plates to make the decals, so there
may be cost and complexity involved in converting the Champ IP to silkscreen decals.
For that matter do we even know that the Champ artwork still exists? As far as I
know, once George Bishop (Accucals, MLW) had used his artwork (original paste-ups)
to make the photo masks for the silkscreens, he only kept the masks.
Maybe Rich only kept the plates?
Tim,

Anyone would be a fool to invest time and effort in a product line, then not save the materials that ensure production. Printing plates are consumable. Most plates used for printing graphics (as opposed to hard type set either by hand or an a Linotype machine) are photo etched using a film to expose the etching resist, so at least the films are kept on file. These films could be scanned, and those scans could be manipulated as needed.

The problem is, given fifty years worth of films with little or no supporting documentation, you wouldn't know which were passable, and which were kludges, without researching each and every set. Once you invest that amount of work, building a new set from scratch is just a bit more work.

I have a whole drawing cabinet in my office filled with camera ready art from early Accurail releases, but we scrapped the camera maybe ten or twelve years ago. We still occasionally go back to the hand drawn heralds, etc. and scan portions as the basis for new work, but this happens less and less as time goes by. When we became aware that Champ was for sale, we gave a serious look at what value the art would have to use, both as a source of graphic material, and as the basis for continuing the decal line. We never progressed to the point of making an official inquiry, but Tony has confirmed my gut feeling that what we were willing to offer would have been regarded as an insult, so that's where the project ended.

Dennis


Re: Optic style lettering

water.kresse@...
 

I was afraid to ask that same question myself.  You can find  Futura in all its variances with no problem . . . but Optic or Optik ?  Was it used by a specific eye machine manufacturer (prob German?) initially?



Al Kresse

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Welch " < fgexbill @ tampabay . rr .com>
To: STMFC @ yahoogroups .com
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 8:39:21 AM
Subject: [ STMFC ] Optic style lettering

All of the decal talk reminds me of a question I have had for awhile:  
Was the type style used by the FGE / WFE / BRE System truly known as  
"Optic?" I think my knowledge of this font comes from a Sunshine PDS ,  
but I have seen other references to Optic, although I cannot remember  
where. I have certainly seen this name used on this list and I have  
used it in my various handouts. I have seen this style used on other  
earlier freight cars--NC& StL and curiously the Armour owned Fruit  
Growers Express circa 1904 are two examples.

This morning I tried Googling the name but nothing productive or  
definitive came up. I am curious if anyone on this list has any  
authoritative knowledge about this type design and if we are using  
the correct name for it?

As I work on my book about these companies, I am trying to make sure  
I do not perpetuate errors and misconceptions. I must also confess  
that one of my hopes is to find a source for this style since it is  
so distinctively associated with FGE / WFE / BRE , I would like to use it  
for chapter headings and page numbering in my book.

Any clarity on this will be appreciated.
Bill Welch
2225 Nursery Road; #20-104
Clearwater , FL 33764-7622
727.470.9930
fgexbill @ tampabay . rr .com







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Optic style lettering

Bill Welch
 

All of the decal talk reminds me of a question I have had for awhile:
Was the type style used by the FGE/WFE/BRE System truly known as
"Optic?" I think my knowledge of this font comes from a Sunshine PDS,
but I have seen other references to Optic, although I cannot remember
where. I have certainly seen this name used on this list and I have
used it in my various handouts. I have seen this style used on other
earlier freight cars--NC&StL and curiously the Armour owned Fruit
Growers Express circa 1904 are two examples.

This morning I tried Googling the name but nothing productive or
definitive came up. I am curious if anyone on this list has any
authoritative knowledge about this type design and if we are using
the correct name for it?

As I work on my book about these companies, I am trying to make sure
I do not perpetuate errors and misconceptions. I must also confess
that one of my hopes is to find a source for this style since it is
so distinctively associated with FGE/WFE/BRE, I would like to use it
for chapter headings and page numbering in my book.

Any clarity on this will be appreciated.
Bill Welch
2225 Nursery Road; #20-104
Clearwater, FL 33764-7622
727.470.9930
fgexbill@...


Re: decals

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Paul Lyons wrote:
Signature Press and Decals---it has a nice ring Tony (G)
But sadly, probably not the name of the business. Would have had to call it "gold-plated decals." <g>

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: decals

Tim O'Connor
 

Dennis Storzek wrote

> And, all of this adds up to why there were no takers for the Champ Decal line...
> the art is very dated, and has no value if its source can't be documented. Dennis


Dennis, are you sure that is why? From what I've seen of decal manufacture using
silkscreens, the artwork is only the first step in the process. I thought Champ used
a "letter press" and used some kind of printing plates to make the decals, so there
may be cost and complexity involved in converting the Champ IP to silkscreen decals.
For that matter do we even know that the Champ artwork still exists? As far as I
know, once George Bishop (Accucals, MLW) had used his artwork (original paste-ups)
to make the photo masks for the silkscreens, he only kept the masks. Maybe Rich only
kept the plates? Of course, later on George did the artwork on a computer, so he
could keep those files forever.

The Herald King decal line was sold, and has many errors in size, color, style, etc.

Many Champ sets were produced in the 1990's, and some after 2000. That doesn't seem
so "dated" to me.

Tim O'Connor