Jump to content
Attention: In order to reply to messages, create topics, have access to other features of the community you must sign up for an account.
Sign in to follow this  
lilbluefoxie

Old Rollsign Font (Before Akzidenz and Helvetica)

Recommended Posts

Anyone know the font used on the original rollsigns? the ALL CAPS ones on the R10-R38 like:

 

WORLDS FAIR

 

TIMES SQUARE

 

< LOCAL-EXP >

 

Im talking about the font before Akzidenz Grotesk and Helvetica came along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anyone know the font used on the original rollsigns? the ALL CAPS ones on the R10-R38 like:

 

WORLDS FAIR

 

TIMES SQUARE

 

< LOCAL-EXP >

 

Im talking about the font before Akzidenz Grotesk and Helvetica came along.

 

It probably isn't an actual "font" that would be standard with your computer or used as a publication's typeface. I doubt there's even much documented about what was used back then. I'm sure you could a font that resembles it closely if you were making a reproduction ... but I doubt you could ever find the exact one. I could be wrong, though.

I should also note, the forgotten-ny guy seems to be big with fonts (including ones used in the subway) as he often describes and writes about them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Correct, i believe the signs have a unique typeface.

 

I still find it hilarious that they used a typeface called "Akzidenz Grotesk" on a mass transit system! :eek:

 

- A

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Correct, i believe the signs have a unique typeface.

 

I still find it hilarious that they used a typeface called "Akzidenz Grotesk" on a mass transit system! :eek:

 

- A

 

Why though? Because it's hard to pronounce??? :confused:

It also goes by "Standard" as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Because it sounds like "accidents grotesque". :confused:

 

- A

 

Lmao!

 

Like I said though, it's also called "Standard". If people were to call it by it's real name, they'd go nuts! Even I was in a bizarre state when I first heard of the font.

 

That's basically how it's said, "accidenz grotesque". Weird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard it translates to "Lithographer's Gothic".

 

As for the old rollsign fonts, when I try to imitate one of them on my page, down by "T", I use a series of alternatives of Compacta, Impact, or Haettenschweiler).

 

I often wonder if it might be the same font as the old Greyhound fleet numbers (which seem to be no longer used), because of the way the end of the "6" was cut (at an angle).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the victorian era signs were very ornamental, or very industrial and easy to read (high contrast clear script).

 

- A

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, although those rollsigns were garishly oversized at times, they were much more legible than some of the tiny AG (as I think of it) style typefaces that were later retrofitted into the R-32 thru 40s and others. And going a little off-topic, I think the IND style station signage on both the signs and pillars were also superior to much of the hard to read small print on signs in stations today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with the currrent signs is theres too many words, I would lay them out like this, the first line saying if its local or express, the second line the last stop, and the third line, the boro.

 

(it messed up my formatting)

 

Uptown & (1) Local to

The Bronx 242 St-Van Cortlandt Park

Bronx

 

 

(a panel with two routes)

 

Downton & (F) Local to (V) Local to

Brooklyn Coney Island 2 Av-Houston St

Brooklyn Manhattan

 

write in small text under the logo if its a part itme line, such as Weekends Only.

 

The big change would be no more mentioning of the line names, the colors already express the lines and its not really in the lexicon of the average straphanger, nor the tourist who wouldn't know the names anyway. I see it as the second stage of an evolution past the old days to the Subway being a unified system. the first was to abandon the use of the IRT/BMT/IND names.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Because it sounds like "accidents grotesque". :confused:

 

- A

 

but there have been "accidents grotesque" :P

 

lilbluefoxie: that should be

 

 

(1) Local

242 St-Van Cortlandt Park

Bronx

 

even shorter :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree, the line names are more important than the destinations in some respects since most riders aren't riding to the last stop anyhow. Since the (NYCT) created a loosely defined color coordinated system, it doesn't help indicate what line the train will run on particularly outside of Manhattan and would certainly mean little to a tourist.

 

Even in the case of IRT/BMT/IND ... as I understand it, they were still commonplace even into the early 1990s. The old BMT names such as the West End, Sea Beach, and Brighton had been eliminated and replaced with the name of the Manhattan trunk route in the 1960s (Ex: Sea Beach Exp was renamed 70(N) Broadway Exp) indicating the Brooklyn route solely by a letter. AFAIK, they did not reappear on modern signage until the GOH rollsigns such as those seen on the R-32s and obviously they are continuing to be used on station signage and R-160 displays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone know the font used on the original rollsigns? the ALL CAPS ones on the R10-R38 like:

 

WORLDS FAIR

 

TIMES SQUARE

 

< LOCAL-EXP >

 

Im talking about the font before Akzidenz Grotesk and Helvetica came along.

The Hunter Illuminated Car Sign Company (which I.I.N.M., made those rollsigns for the single R33's and R36WF's) did not have any name designation for the type they used, that I know of.

 

However, Transign, which made rollsigns for subway cars beginning with the R32 / R32A order of 1964-65, called their type family "Transign Standard" (per a 1984 Transign manual).  There were, from what I could see, five (or six) "widths" of that font - extended, expanded, regular, condensed and extra condensed - although if they got real small, the extended version was replaced with Venus Bold Extended (as seen on so many '8th's, for example, on 25" wide rollsigns mentioning the lettered routes).  I am much fonder of Transign's font family than, say, Hunter's or Teleweld's or Trans-Lite's.  A shame there hasn't been an attempt to replicate those typefaces digitally, the way there has with, say, Group W's typesetting as used for their TV and radio stations starting in 1963.  (There is a computer-type version of the Standard Medium typeface used for years starting in the late 1960's with the Vignelli coloring scheme - it's called AG Old Face Bold.)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.