UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > General Vintage Technology > General Vintage Technology Discussions

Notices

General Vintage Technology Discussions For general discussions about vintage radio and other vintage electronics etc.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 13th Oct 2016, 9:46 pm   #1
Chris55000
Heptode
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Walsall Wood, Aldridge, Walsall, UK.
Posts: 546
Default Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Hi!

I realise I've mentioned this before, but has anyone ever attempted to turn the lettering-styles used by the UK radio/television/electronics construction magazines into a PC font that could be used on circuit/EDA/PCB packages?

I know there were four basic styles, and all appear to have been made using UNO Sencils made by A West and Partners!

The four styles used were:-

1) Upright Block capitals/lower case letters and a '3' with a round top and a '7' with a straight angled downward stroke - this was used in Radio Constructor's diagrams from the mid '50s right up to the magazine's closure in August 1981, and also in "Short Wave Magazine" throughout the '60s;

2) Upright Condensed Capitals/lower-case letters with a flat-topped '3' and a '7' with a slightly curved downward stroke - this was used by "Wireless World" on it's diagrams from about 1945 till about mid 1968.

Quite a number of Manufacturers used this style throughout their service manuals, Bush for instance during the 1960s.

3) Sloping block capitals/lower-case lettering with a flat-topped '3' and a '7' with a straight downward stroke - this was used by Practical Wireless and Practical Television from 1950 till about mid 1961.

Altho' this sloping style seemed to go out of fashion when PW/PT stopped using it it was still in use by Thorn/BRC for use as test-points/voltage readings/PCB connection points in their manuals until the dreadful ISO lettering came in from the early-to-mid 80s!

4) Square block capitals/lower-case letters with a 'primary-school' straight lower-case 't', a flat-topped '3' and a straight '7' and a figure '9' that looked a bit between the curly '9' used on typefaces and the straight 'primary-school' figure '9' - this lettering was used in Reddifusion/Doric's Service Manuals throughout their period of exsistence - even the Sharp-designed Mk. 5 Colour Portable CTV had a manual published in Doric's house-style!

If you look at (for example) a Thorn/BRC 1970s/early 1980s Audio manual you find examples of all of the first three lettering styles all used together on the same circuit diagram!

I've tried to reproduce these lettering forms myself but my hand isn't steady enough!

(I have a deadly hatred of ISO/Continental-style lettering styles and in my opinion, as well as preserving the technology, we should also preserve the styles of drawing in use then to reproduce on this forum for illustrative purposes!)

Opinions & Comments?

Chris Williams
__________________
It's an enigma, that's what it is! This thing's not fixed because it doesn't want to be fixed!

Last edited by Chris55000; 13th Oct 2016 at 9:51 pm.
Chris55000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th Oct 2016, 10:02 pm   #2
paulsherwin
Moderator
 
paulsherwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 17,496
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

These will have been standard fonts. You just need to find out what they were, and then find a similar one and install it on your computer.

Here's a nice 40s style sans serif font to start with: http://www.dafont.com/keep-calm.font

Gill Sans was widely used, but it is a commercial font and you have to pay to use it. Free clones are available. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gill_Sans
paulsherwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th Oct 2016, 11:01 pm   #3
Chris55000
Heptode
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Walsall Wood, Aldridge, Walsall, UK.
Posts: 546
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Hi!

I've seen nothing remotely resembling these letter-forms on any of the free font sites - Gill Sans comes with some versions of Microsoft Office, Microgramma used by Elektor on it's earlier PCBs up to the mid-80s or so is fairly easy to obtain in both free and commercial variants, but the letter-forms on the circuit-diagrams are unique, the only place you'd find them printed are on A West's Stencil catalogues and the magazines I mentioned in my first post!

I think the letter-forms used "across the pond" in, (for example!) "Radio-Electronics" magazine (American Radio History Website!) are also totally unique as well!

Chris Williams
__________________
It's an enigma, that's what it is! This thing's not fixed because it doesn't want to be fixed!
Chris55000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th Oct 2016, 11:48 pm   #4
Dai Corner
Pentode
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Newport, South Wales, UK.
Posts: 215
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

There are websites which attempt to identify the fonts used in images you upload, such as https://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/

There are lots more but this was the first that came up whe I Googled font finder
Dai Corner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Oct 2016, 1:09 am   #5
Terry_VK5TM
Heptode
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Tintinara, South Australia, Australia
Posts: 680
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Searching for 'old style engineering fonts' will bring a few that are close.

Alternatively you could make your own.

Here is a site with software to make your own:

https://fontforge.github.io/en-US/

I haven't tried it, so don't know how much effort is involved, but it is free.

Terry VK5TM
Terry_VK5TM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Oct 2016, 6:11 am   #6
mole42uk
Octode
 
mole42uk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bristol, UK
Posts: 1,595
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

When I was a circuit draughtsman in the mid-70s, all of us in the development section drawing office hand-lettered our work. Each had their own version of the company style, so those in the drawing office could always tell who had lettered that particular drawing.
That was before we "upgraded" to ISO stencils!
__________________
Richard

Index:
recursive loop: see recursive loop
mole42uk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Oct 2016, 8:27 pm   #7
OscarFoxtrot
Heptode
 
OscarFoxtrot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Edinburgh, UK.
Posts: 639
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

There is also an online converter here
http://www.fonts101.com/handwriting_convert
And the original Uno Stencils are still available on ebay.
OscarFoxtrot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Oct 2016, 10:23 pm   #8
McMurdo
Dekatron
 
McMurdo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Staffordshire Moorlands, UK.
Posts: 3,329
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Your description of these fonts (typefaces?) sounds to me mind-boggling to envisage. Do you have picture examples?

Coming from an industrial background I've worked with most electrical diagrams from most countries starting with hand drawn block lettering (as taught in technical drawing at school).
__________________
Kevin
McMurdo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th Oct 2016, 12:24 am   #9
suebutcher
Heptode
 
suebutcher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Daylesford, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 509
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Seconded. I'm interested in typography and I'd like to see examples.
__________________
The Waves That Rule Britannia
suebutcher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th Oct 2016, 10:21 am   #10
G8HQP Dave
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Solihull, West Midlands, UK.
Posts: 4,635
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Metafont is another way of making your own fonts. If you have ever used TeX or LaTeX for technical publishing then you were probably using fonts defined by Metafont.
G8HQP Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th Oct 2016, 10:47 am   #11
M0FYA Andy
Octode
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Preston, Lancashire, UK.
Posts: 1,694
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Are you sure that there aren't suitable fonts already available?

I recently completely redrew a quite complex circuit of an RAF Indicator Unit originally drawn in the 1950s. I had an original in appalling condition which I scanned and then totally reconstructed in MS paint. I wanted the end result to look as identical in style to the original as possible, including fonts. From the enormous choice available in Paint I found suitable ones which I was quite pleased with.

Andy
M0FYA Andy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Oct 2016, 8:47 pm   #12
Chris55000
Heptode
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Walsall Wood, Aldridge, Walsall, UK.
Posts: 546
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Hi!

Here are samples of the letters produced, taken from A. West's "Uno Stencil Technical List":-

Picture 1 is the upright Block Capitals & lower case used by Radio Constructor from about mid 1962 up until the magazine's closure in August 1981.

It can also be found in the RSGB's publications up until about 1969 and in "Electronic Engineering" magazine;

Picture 2 is the sloping letters used by PW & PT from 1948 to mid 1961 - it is also used by Thorn/BRC in Audio/TV Service manuals during the 60s/70s for Voltage readings, Test Point Markers and PCB Connection points;

Picture 3 is very similar to (but not quite totally identical!) the upright lettering used by PW/PT from mid 1961 till about mid 1977 when Continental-style lettering replaced this;

Picture 4 is Wireless World's Condensed Upright Lettering used from 1948 to mid 1968 - it is used by Thorn/BRC on their Audio/TV Circuit Diagrams for Component Reference Nos and the Component Values, and many Test Equipment Manuals (Cossor, etc.,) use it;

Picture 5 is Reddifusion/Doric's Upright Block lettering with a "primary-school" lower-case 't' - nearly all of RD's Service Manuals were produced using it!

These styles of lettering are NOT all identical by any means and no-one, to my knowledge, has produced an exact form as a ready-to-use PC TTF!

Chris Williams
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161016_202534237[1].jpg
Views:	209
Size:	36.6 KB
ID:	131394   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161016_202723774[1].jpg
Views:	192
Size:	50.2 KB
ID:	131397   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161016_202756096[1].jpg
Views:	160
Size:	43.5 KB
ID:	131398   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161016_202607196[1].jpg
Views:	180
Size:	55.0 KB
ID:	131400   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161016_202636621[1].jpg
Views:	154
Size:	49.9 KB
ID:	131402  

__________________
It's an enigma, that's what it is! This thing's not fixed because it doesn't want to be fixed!

Last edited by Chris55000; 16th Oct 2016 at 9:09 pm.
Chris55000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Oct 2016, 8:59 pm   #13
paulsherwin
Moderator
 
paulsherwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 17,496
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

That looks very like Gill Sans to me, but I'm not a typographer.
paulsherwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Oct 2016, 9:15 pm   #14
mole42uk
Octode
 
mole42uk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bristol, UK
Posts: 1,595
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

It's not Gill Sans, the B and the J are very different and Gill has sharp ends to the strokes, not rounded like this one.
__________________
Richard

Index:
recursive loop: see recursive loop
mole42uk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Oct 2016, 9:22 pm   #15
Chris55000
Heptode
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Walsall Wood, Aldridge, Walsall, UK.
Posts: 546
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Hi!

As a PS to the above, these styles of lettering were (and still are!) used by the railways as well - have a look at the signal number-plates in this pic of Banbury Station taken after the recent resignalling just over a month ago - you'll see the similarity between the "Wireless World" style letters/numbers in Picture 4 above and the font NR uses for it's signal-post numbers and speed indicator signage!

Chris Williams
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20161016_142130777[1].jpg
Views:	162
Size:	87.3 KB
ID:	131403  
__________________
It's an enigma, that's what it is! This thing's not fixed because it doesn't want to be fixed!
Chris55000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Oct 2016, 9:33 pm   #16
Oldcodger
Octode
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: West Midlands, UK.
Posts: 1,175
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

i've just had a look at the fonts on my copy of Word 2003 and there's several different versions of GILL **** fonts on there.
Oldcodger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Oct 2016, 9:37 pm   #17
paulsherwin
Moderator
 
paulsherwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 17,496
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mole42uk View Post
It's not Gill Sans, the B and the J are very different and Gill has sharp ends to the strokes, not rounded like this one.
The ends of the strokes are rounded because they are a stencil. I agree that the font isn't GS, but it's very similar and may be adapted from it.

British Railways used GS extensively for their public signage before they switched to Rail Alphabet in the mid 60s, though the numbers on the signals are obviously not GS or RA. Presumably they are also a stencil font of some sort.
paulsherwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th Oct 2016, 1:00 am   #18
suebutcher
Heptode
 
suebutcher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Daylesford, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 509
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Thanks for the scans. Those look very British. If it were me, I'd use Photoshop to cut and paste the letters. It wouldn't be much slower than using a pen and stencil.
__________________
The Waves That Rule Britannia
suebutcher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th Oct 2016, 1:09 pm   #19
SurreyNick
Heptode
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Wigton, Cumbria, UK.
Posts: 717
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

Almost any graphic design company that regularly uses topography will be able to give you crisp images of those letters which you can then convert into a TTF for PC and one for Mac. There are lots of solo-designers out there who might do it at an affordable price and if you can find a few fellow enthusiasts to chip in you might have yourself a solution. You can always then offer the new font as a 'paid-for' font on the various font sites. You might even make your money back.
SurreyNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th Oct 2016, 11:26 am   #20
JohnBG8JMB
Tetrode
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Poole, Dorset, UK.
Posts: 58
Default Re: Vintage Circuit-Diagram Lettering!

If I can upload it this should do - best in 18 point or larger
Looks like UNO stencil

JohnB.

ps - Can't upload a .ttf file "invalid file type" - how do I send this?
JohnBG8JMB is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 3:58 pm.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2018, Paul Stenning.