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Elements of Lettering 


Sign Painting 


The International Correspondence Schools 


A Treatise on the History, Ct^assification, and Practical 

Application of the Various Styles of Letters 

OF THE Alphabet 

. . . also . . . 

The Latest Improved Methods and Processes Used in Sign 

Painting, and the Handling of Colors, 

Brushes, and Tools 






Library of Congr9l% 
Office f th« 

JAN 20 1900 

Register of Copyrlglitft 



Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1899, 

By The Colliery Engineer Company, 
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


Printed by 
The Colliery Engineer ('(impany. 





The bound volumes of our Courses in Lettering have been 
prepared on somewhat different lines from those of our other 
Courses. Believing that the plates would be of more value to 
the student if he could handle each one separately than if they 
were bound together in one large volume, we have printed them 
in folio form, with a plate on one leaf and the instructions for 
drawing it on the other. All the plates belonging to each 
Course have been placed in a handsome and durable portfolio, 
which is sent to the student instead of a bound volume. The 
students in those Courses that give instruction in Sign Painting 
receive, in addition to the plates, two Instruction Papers, with 
their accompanying Question Papers, entitled "Elements of 
Lettering ' ' and ' ' Lettering and Sign Painting. ' ' 

The first, ' ' Elements of Lettering, ' ' contains the instruction 
necessary to enable the student to properly apply his knowledge 
of letters and their formation to suit every requirement, both in 
treatment and modification, and also in their various arrange- 
ment in all forms of inscription and combination designs. This 
Paper gives a complete education in the art of lettering in all 
its branches wherein a knowledge of colors is not necessary. 
The second Paper, "Lettering and Sign Painting," gives the 
student a complete knowledge of all tools, appliances, and 
materials used by the advanced sign painter. It includes also 
instruction in the use of the brush for all purposes, and the 
preparation, combination, and practical application of colors to 
all materials." It contains all the methods, processes, and 
formulas for producing letters on such surfaces as metal and 
glass by the use of acids, and also instruction for the prepara- 
tion of all surfaces on which lettering is to be placed. The 
present volume contains these Instruction Papers. 

These C(jurses in Lettering have been prepared by a gentleman 
who has had a very wide experience in studying the origin of 



letter formation and in teaching the art of lettering, and one 
who is a thorough master of the subject in all its branches. 
Great care has been exercised in the selection of the plates 
containing the various styles of the alphabet. We feel con- 
fident that nothing equal to these plates has ever before been 
published. The utmost pains have been taken to give the 
student the true form of the various styles of letters shown 
on the plates. The Courses have been carefully arranged to 
meet the requirements of every one engaged in any business 
whatever that demands a knowledge of letters and their 
construction. Only such instruction and plates are given as 
have a direct connection with the particular Course selected by 
the student. 

The International Correspondence Schools. 


Elements of Lettering. 

Section. Page. 

Introduction 1 1 

History of the Alphabet 1 2 

General Rules 1 10 

Mechanical and Freehand Lettering 1 12 

Component Parts of a Letter 1 13 

Spacing of Letters 1 14 

Punctuation 1 18 

Rules for Punctuation 1 19 

Shading 1 22 

Letter- Face Lighting and Shading 1 25 

The Highlight 1 27 

Cutting In Letters 1 27 

Classification of Letters 1 29 

Ornamental Letters 1 29 

Grotesque Letters 1 31 

Illuminated Capitals 1 32 

Effects in Lettering 1 35 

Condensing, Elongating, Telescoping, and 

Interlacing 1 35 

Outlining and Filling In 1 38 

Designing 1 39 

Ribbons 1 40 

Panels 1 42 

Inscription Designing 1 46 

Stencil Patterns 1 48 

Purpose of Stencils 1 48 

Material for Stencils 1 49 


Section. Page. 

Geometrical Figures 1 52 

Triangles 1 52 

Circles 1 53 

Ornamental Curves 1 54 

The Ellipse 1 55 

Modifications of the Fundamental Styles ... 1 56 

Mechanical Lettering 1 62 

How the Work Should be Sent 1 74 

Plates 1 75 

Lettering and Sign P.\inting. 

Introduction 2 1 

Practice and Material 2 2 

Tools Necessary 2 3 

General Tools and Appliances 2 3 

Brushes 2 4 

The T Square 2 6 

Position of Hands 2 6 

Striping 2 9 

Colors 2 10 

Classification of Colors 2 10 

Handling of Colors 2 12 

Harmony and Contrast 2 12 

Ground Finishes 2 13 

Smalting 2 13 

Variegated Grounds 2 15 

Preparation of Surfaces 2 16 

Sizes for Gilding 2 18 

Gilding Water 2 18 

Size for Oil Gilding 2 19 

Gilding 2 21 

Gilding on Glass 2 21 

Gilding on Wood or Metal 2 23 

Pearl Filling and Etruscan Gilding 2 24 

Embossing 2 26 

Embossing on Brass Plates 2 26 

Embossing on Glass 2 29 


Section. Page. 

Letter Shading 2 30 

Colors Used 2 30 

The Preparation of Colors 2 32 

Application to Various Materials 2 32 

Relief Letters 2 34 

Wood, Metal, and Glass 2 34 

Elements of Lettering. 

Elements of Lettering. 


1. Purpose of This Course. — It is the purpose of this 
course of instruction to combine the classical with the practical 
so as to meet the needs of all students desirous of studying the 
esthetic and antique, as well as the plain and simple, styles of 
lettering. The plates are therefore arranged and classified on a 
simple but progressive system, calculated to lead the student 
gradually from the plain and simple to the most difficult styles^ 
but omitting from the course all such as are obsolete or not in 
common use. 

Before requiring the student to apply himself to a knowledge 
of the present forms and classifications of the letters of our 
alphabet, he should become familiar with their history and the 
primitive forms of writing. He should also note the important 
national changes that have caused a transition from one form 
into another, until our present advanced era has been reached 
with its great variety of styles, distinctively different in 
character one from another, and each arising from some 
important period in the world's history in which the funda- 
mental or parent style was closely allied to a corresponding 
style of architecture. 

In order that the student may derive the greatest benefit from 
this course in lettering, he should not rest content with merely 
reading this Instruction Paper carefully once or twice, but 
should study its contents carefully throughout his entire course. 
It is only by practice and steady progress in acquiring a knowl- 
edge of the styles and formation of letters that the real value 
and importance of much of the instruction given in this Paper 
can be rightly understood and its full meaning appreciated. 



2. Classifleatioii. — The wonderful achievements in the 
arts of printing, photo-engraving, hthography, etc. have been 
the means of transforming the letters of the alphal)et into a 
variety of forms or styles, which may be classified nnder three 
general heads : Plain, Ornamental, and Grotesque. The history 
of our alphabet and of the forms known as the fundamental 
styles will be found not only of interest but also of great profit 
to one who is to devote himself to the art of lettering. The 
degree of perfection attained in the alphabet, not only in 
phonetic value, but also in simplicity and conipleteness, makes 
it a monument of the intellectual advancement of the present 
day — a condition to which the people of all ages have contrib- 
uted — although the reader may never have considered its 
source nor the many changes necessary to its growth and per- 
fection. The twenty-six signs, or letters, that we call the 
alphabet are separated into two classes : those representing no 
syllabic sounds in themselves, which are called consonants ; and 
those possessing two or more such sounds, called vowels. The 
latter in some cases are scarcely more tlian a l)reath sound, but 
each has a clear phonetic value, and fills an important place in 
our written language. By means of other characters placed 
above the vowels, every Avord may be written to express its 
proper sounds. We are, therefore, enjoying today the fruits of 
the achievements of the human intellect through forty centuries 
of development ; for, in tracing the origin of the alphabet and 
the signs that led to its construction, Ave are compelled to go 
back to the dispersion of the human race through a period of 
over four thousand years, each epoch of which furnishes inter- 
esting developments in the growth of our letters. It Avill be 
impossible in this short treatise to fully consider this interesting 
history and groAvth, or give more than a passing glance at the 
Avorld's primitive history ; although in it is to be found the 
source of the forms whose transitions from one system of char- 
acters to another give us our present alphabet. Nor can Ave 
dwell even on the relation these characters bear to one another. 
The degree of intelligence attained in each jieriod of Innnan 


history is marked by the progress made in the methods of 
writing, which enabled its people to record events, impart 
knowledge, and transmit messages to one another. 

3. Ideograms. — The Scriptures inform us that when Baby- 
lon and Nineveh were built all people were of one language, and 
the similarity of the Babylonian, Egyptian, and Assyrian sign 
languages gives some evidence of this fact. The descendants of 
Noah are supposed to have occupied these localities after the 
dispersion : Shem, that of Babylon and Eastward ; Ham, North- 
eastern Africa ; and Japheth, Western Assyria and Asia Minor. 

Each system of writing began with rude pictures of objects, 
more or less conventional, which gradually became the repre- 
sentatives of words, afterwards becoming the symbols of letters, 
or elementary sounds. We can, therefore, trace the transition 
from the ideogram, or expression of thoughts by means of pic- 
tures, to the 'phonogram, or expression of sounds by means of 
drawn or written symbols. Many ideograms are in common 
use at the present day, which proves that the Egyptian method 
■\vas not without some merit. For instance, the sign $ is derived 
from the monogram U. S. The barber's pole — the red stripe of 
which symbolizes a "blood-letter" (a custom of past ages) — 
the three balls used by the pawnbroker, the American flag, 
the sign per cent. (%), the algebraic signs, and many others 
are all ideograms. 

4. Ctmeiforni Writing. — The letters of our alphabet are 
the outgrowth of the ancient Hebrew alphabet and Egyptian 
hieroglyphics (the earliest form of writing), as well as of the 
Assyrian cuneiform characters. In tracing to its origin the 
form of each letter, we are surprised at the marvelous trans- 
formations these characters have undergone before reaching 
the simplicity that marks their present construction. While 
alphabetic systems have become simplified, the Chinese system, 
on the other hand, which is not alphabetic, has growai more 
and more complicated, and affords an example of how a people, 
isolated for four thousand years from the rest of the world, 
were unable to advance beyond the ancient system of ideo- 
graphic writing. The Chinese system is evidently the outgro\\'th 


of the cuneiform characters, which are wedge-shaped, and are 
arranged in groups to express a thought. The simplicity of 
our alphabet system compared with the Chinese may be appre- 
ciated when we consider that a boy ten years old, in an Ameri- 
can school, has acquired the same facility in reading and 
writing English that would take a Chinese student twenty-five 
years to accomplish in the study of Chinese characters. 

5. The Arabic and Roman IS^iimerals. — Without a 
general knowledge of ancient history it is impossible to form a 
clear outline of the history of writing, as one is inseparable 
from the other. From the confusion of tongues to the exodus 
of the Israelites from Egypt, a period of several centuries, we 
know that the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa 
were largely peopled ; and, though Chinese legends point to 
periods much earlier than this, the system by which they have 
come to us, being based on object pictures, produces no evi- 
dence as to their reliability. The Hebrew writing, supposed 
by some authorities to be the outgrowth of the so-called Semitic 
writing, does not owe its origin to this early jjeriod ; for there 
is sufficient evidence to show that the Hebrew alphabet did not 
come into existence until later. In the middle of this Semitic 
period, however, occurs the birth of Ishmael, from whom the 
Arabian race is descended, and to this race we are indebted for 
our present numeral characters 1, 2, 3, etc. The system known 
as the Roman was in use much earlier, and probably originated 
in ideographic writing. The digits I, II, III, IIII were origi- 
nally pictures of the fingers ; the V was shown by the wliole 
hand, the fingers collected and the thumb spread apart. The 
X was expressed by both hands together, each being in the 
position used to indicate the V. The increase or decrease of 
value was indicated by placing a digit before or after the V or 
X. This system is still in use for certain purposes, one of 
which is the numbering of the hours on the clock dial. 

6. The Hebre>v Alphabet. — The progress and develop- 
ment of all systems of writing are marked by national changes, 
and, therefore, when entering on a second historical period of 
about a thousand years, beginning with the exodus from Egypt 


and reaching to the captivity of Israel and Judah, we find a 
nation of at least 4,000,000 people leaving Egypt and afterward 
forming a most important element of the divisions of nations 
and one strongly influencing the many systems of writing. To 
this great people, it is believed, was given an alphabet, and a 
language in laws and commandments, embodying civil as well 
as ecclesiastical polity. The purity of this alphabet has 
remained to the present time, surviving thirty centuries, the 
only changes being the present Hebrew characters, which 
assume more of the square construction than the originals. 
From this nation also springs another system or alphabet — that 
of the Samaritans — but before considering this let us turn our 
attention to another country and people, the Phenicians. The 
Israelites occupying Palestine were neighbors of this aggressive 
and thrifty people, and were brought into harmonious relations 
with them. The chief cities of Phenicia, Tyre and Sidon, were, 
during the reign of Solomon, maritime centers of great activity. 
It is assumed, therefore, that the Greek alphabet came directly 
from the Hebrew and Phenician, while the Phenician in turn 
was evolved from the Assyrian, Egyptian, and Moabitish. 

7. Tlie Samaritan Alphabet. — We find that the Samari- 
tan alphabet has Hebrew as a base, with a strong interspersion 
of Assyrian and Chaldaic. Israel, about the middle of this 
period, was divided into two kingdoms, the two tribes constitu- 
ting the kingdom of Judah and the ten tribes that of Israel. 
The latter, as well as the Egyptians and Phenicians, suf- 
fered severely from the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions. 
These powerful eastern empires took captive the ten tribes of 
Israel, thereby causing their complete downfall and loss of 
national identity. The Mosaic laws prescribed that the soul 
that did not observe certain ceremonies after eight days would 
be cut off from Israel ; the ten tribes failed to observe these 
ceremonies as a nation, and therefore lost their indentity in the 
Hebrew family. They returned to Samaria subsequently, how- 
ever, and held to a revised Pentateuch — hence the lost ten tribes 
of Israel and their relation to the Jews. Mention is made of 
this to assist the student in locating the origin of the Samaritan 




alphabet, which is so made up of others tjiat little or no 
reference is usually made in regard to its origin, bearing as it 
does so close a resemblance to the primitive Hebrew. The 
only examples of the earliest alphabets are to be found on 
monuments or tabulated inscriptions, on coins, and on frag- 
ments of utensils. Among these the principal ones during this 
period are the Baal-Lebanon Bowl, 10th century B. C. ; the 

Fl(i. 1. 

Moabite Stone, 9th centur}^ B. C. ; and the Siloam Inscription, 
7th century B. C. This period closes with the captivity of the 
remaining two tribes in Babylon 588 B. C. 

8. The Phenlciaii Alphabet. — The Phenician, as previ- 
ously stated, is the source of our phonetic alphabet ; and the 
ascendency and decline of the Grecian empire and the establish- 
ment of the Roman marks another period, during which the 
alphabet characters attained their present development, as 
shown by the inscription on the Arch of Titus, built 70 A. D., 
a cut of which is shown in Fig. L In recapitulating what has 


thus far been stated, we have satisfactory proof that our 
phonetic alphabet came from the Hebrew, but descended 
through the Phenician branch. 

9. The alphabet characters have slowly evolved from 
hieroglyphic writings, first from syllabic signs, and these forms 
must have been developed from verbal phonograms. The 
verbal phonograms were adopted from ideograms, which could 
have originated only from picture writing. Surrounded by 
such advantages as the Hebrew and the Egyptian characters, 
and all other forms of writing, it is not surprising that the 
Phenicians should have constructed an alphabet of clear 
phonetic value, Avhich afterward gave birth to the classic Greek. 
The name of every letter of the Hebrew has a significant 
meaning, while the Greek names, though similar, are meaning- 
less. For instance, the first four letters of the Hebrew and 
Greek alphabet are as follows : 

Aleph (ox) Alpha 

Beth (house) Beta 

Gimel (camel) Gamma 

Daleth (door) Delta 

10. The Greek Alphabet. — Several centuries of the 
Hebrew period elapse before the Greek alphabet becomes an 
important factor in the formation of our alphabet, in fact not 
until after the fall of Greece as a universal empire. But as 
early as 880 B. C. there came with the birth of the Greek 
alphabet a most intellectual conception of literature, art, and 
architecture, of which subsequently the Latins Avere only 

1 1 . Tlie Latin Alphabet. — Although the Greek alphabet 
still remains, evolution continues as long as the imperfect exists, 
and with the fourth universal empire comes the Latin alphabet. 
As the Roman empire was composed of almost the entire 
civilized world, their alphabet formed tlie base, or was the 
mother of all modern styles of writing. The Roman alphabet 


characters of the first century are practically the same as the 
ones in use today known by the name of Egyptian, Antique 
Egyptian, and French Roman. 

12. The Renaissance. — From the beginning of the 
Christian era there seems to have been no apparent growth of 
the alphabet for many centuries. The dark ages were evidently 
a germinating or budding period, and until the loth century 
brings us to an era historically known as the Renaissance, or 
revival of art, we find no progress whatever. About the middle 
of this century (1443) printing was invented, but it was many 
years before this important discovery accomplished much to 
benefit mankind ; for it must be remembered there was no cheap 
material on which to print, the parchment used to engross on 
being far too expensive for the purposes of printing. The 
process of printing had a very beneficial influence on the 
methods of writing, however, and incidentally on the alphabet 
itself. The letters had become so elaborate by this time as to 
appear almost like ornamental enigmas. The process of print- 
ing necessarily required for the separate types the simplest 
forms of characters, and the printers were compelled, therefore, 
to return to the forms used during the first century ; the Latin 
and Western Roman styles were therefore used, the former 
being known at the present day as Antique Egyptian and the 
latter as French Roman. 

13. It should he borne in mind that ornamentation in 
lettering such as marked the period just prior to the 15th 
century is not an improvement in style. The first principles to 
be observed in forming letters is simplicity, as the most impor- 
tant qualifications of the letters should be their legibility. 
Ornamentation when resorted to is always an evidence of 
failure to produce the perfect letter, for if the perfect is attained 
the additional work is superfluous. 

14. Results of tlie Renaissance. — The Germans during 
the 15th century, then located in Northern Italy, were not slow 
to become imbued with the spirit of this new development in 
art, and Spain, France, England, and in fact all Europe was 


affected by the great impulse, largely on account of the achieve- 
ments of an Italian family known as the Medici. Previous to 
this, the art of lettering was confined almost exclusively within 
the monasteries. The ecclesiastical devotees or monks were 
skilful in the art of calligraphy, and exhibited wonderful dex- 
terity in their work of designing and illuminating capital letters 
on their manuscripts, many of which are extant today ; some 
dating back as far as the 5th or the 6th century are especially 
clever. It is to be regretted, however, that these early monks 
possessed a knowledge of chemicals for removing the inscrip- 
tions from earlier manuscripts from which they copied, thereby 
depriving the world of records far more valuable than their 
own. During this whole period prior to printing there were 
many varieties or styles of the alphabet originated. The style 
known at present as the Egyptian was originally known as the 
plain Roman, or the style in which the early Greek and Latin 
alphabets were written ; while the Roman letter of the present 
day is almost identical with the Medieval Roman of the period 
indicated by its name. The Gothic, the earliest specimen of 
which dates to 1349 A. D. , was possibly the next style and 
derived its origin from the ogival or pointed arch, character- 
istic of the Gothic style of architecture. 

15. The Old English, 1400 A. D. (specimens of which are 
still in Westminster Abbey), was possibly the outgrowth of the 
8th centur}' Romanesque, the Old German letters following 
closely on the Old English. There are many of the German 
and Italian Renaissance styles that still remain. The Script 
writing (the ordinary cursive kind), out of which has developed 
the most graceful and classic curves possible to produce, was of 
Anglo-Saxon origin. The style known as French Roman, 
having the horizontal strokes considerably narrower than the 
vertical, the extremities of these being finished with an antique 
spur, were of first-century origin, and were used by the Western 
Roman provinces. The Italic script is a modern interpretation 
of the Medieval Italian print. There are several forms of the 
Church Texts, which originated from the Old German as well 
as the Old English. 


16. Modern Styles. — Of the styles of more recent date, 

the style known as Rund-Schrift (round-writing), which is an 
adaptation of the Gernjan Renaissance, was the invention of a 
German. Aside from this we name with much pride several 
styles known the world over as American writing ; these are 
the Full Block, Half Block, both plain and antique, Railroad 
Block, Round Full Block, Spencerian Script, and Shippers' Box 
Marking. These styles are used chiefly by letterers, while the 
varieties in type which are of purely American origin are so 
numerous that we Avould not attempt to classify or name them. 
Their form and style are peculiarly identified with printing, 
and are seldom if ever used by letterers ; while to the art of 
printing under its many heads is due all progress made in the 
invention of styles of writing since the 15th centur}'. 


17. The few general rules following are very important to 
the student, and it is necessary, therefore, that they should be 
carefully observed and followed. 

1. Do not attempt any form or style of letter other than the 
style furnished for each lesson. 

2. Do not allow the eye to dwell on that which is inartistic ; 
for, just as truly as " evil associations corrupt good manners," 
just so surely does association of the eye with that which is out 
of proportion, distorted, or irregular, leave an impression which 
is lasting in its eflfect on, and by no means easy to dispel from, 
the mind. When the student has advanced to the study of 
inscription designing and ornamentation, he will better appre- 
ciate the importance of this advice. 

3. Do not become discouraged if you do not make as rapid 
progress as you should like to. The assertion is often made 
that "it is not possible for one to become a master of an art 
or profession, without a natural talent for it " ; this may be true 
along some lines, but it is not true in regard to lettering, 
especially if behind the effort there is persistent will power and 
a patient determination to succeed. Concentration of thought 
and constant practice must of necessity follow these qualities. 


4. Give as much time to practice as possible ; do not be 
satisfied to make a letter several times only, but practice each 
letter until 3^ou have mastered it, and have learned perfectly 
all the rules governing its construction in every characteristic 
line and stroke. 

5. Be sure you thoroughly understand all of the instruction 
pertaining to each plate before beginning to practice. Study 
the instructions carefully with the plate before you. 

Strive to excel ; despise mediocrit}'. 
The advantages offered in this course should induce every 
student to aim above a general knowledge of letters only, and 
to seek to attain a position equal to that occupied by the few 
that fully understand the many forms of alphabetic characters 
and all their applications. 

18. Materials Required. — When practicing in the eve- 
ning, use a good steady light, and place this directly in the 
rear of the table on which you are working, and from 12 to 18 
inches above the w^ork, while the eyes should always be pro- 
tected from it by means of an eye shade. The student will 
need the following materials : 

Drawing instruments 1 velvet rubber; 1 Faber's im- 
Drawing board, 16 in. X 21 in. proved ink eraser 

T square, 222 inclies J doz. sheets Whatman's drawing 
2 triangles, 45° and 60° paper, 12 in. X 19 in.; A royal 

1 scale size 

2 doz. thumbtacks 2 red sable brushes, Nos. 3 and 4 
Drawing pencil 1 pad ruled paper, 2 in. X 7 in. 
Ifoz. bottle waterproof drawing ink 

19. Draftsmen and other students interested in a similar 
class of work will find these tools sufficient for practice and 
specimen work. But for the benefit of the students that wish 
to apply a knowledge of lettering to sign painting we would 
advise that the practice work be done on cardboard or Manila 
pattern paper, using a camel' s-hair brush, and card black, the 
preparation of Avhich will be given hereafter. By this process 
the letters can be made any size, but the plate sent in for 
correction must invariably be 8^ in. X 15 in., inside the border 
lines, which are 1^ inches from the edge of the paper. 




20. Instrumental and Freehand Drawing; Defi- 
nitions. — Drawing is the art of representing objects on a 
convenient surface, such as paper, by means of lines or colors, 
or both. The representation of an object in this manner is 
called a draiving. If the pencil, brush, pen, or marker by 
which a drawing is made, is guided wholly or partly by instru- 
ments, as, for example, by a straightedge or by compasses, the 
drawing is called an instrumental or mechanical drawing. If no 
instruments are used, the lines drawn by the free hand, and all 
dimensions laid off by eye only, the drawing is called a free- 
hand drawing. A preliminary rough or unfinished drawing 
is usually called a sketch. 

2 1 . Purpose of a Drawing. — The purpose of a drawing 

is either to assist the memory or to convey to others an idea of 
the shape, size, combination, form, color, or appearance of some 
object. Drawings also aid us in perfecting ideas when we are 
designing or inventing. The practice of freehand drawing 
trains both the hand and the eye. It enables one to estimate 
distances and lay them off on a drawing correctly, and to com- 
pare the relative sizes of angles, lines, and figures in general. 
It thus trains the hand to draw quicker and better with instru- 
ments. The ability to draw well freehand is one of the ]nost 
useful of accomplishments. 

22. There are but two plates or styles in this course that 
are in the true sense mechanical styles, that is, made exclusively 
with the aid of a straightedge and other instruments. These 
are the Full-Block Plate and the Half- Block Plate. The 
others are made up of straight lines and curves. These curves, 
though slight in many cases, are all drawn by the free use of 
the hand, and therefore, so long as freehand drawing enters into 
their construction, we have chosen to classify them under this 
head. We advise the use of the straightedge, however, in 


making all straight lines, whether in mechanical or freelmnd 
styles, but do not recommend the use of the compasses in 
making curves in freehand letter styles, unless a perfect circle 
is required. 


23. Stroke. — The stroke is the term applied to the width 
between the outlines forming the letter ; when applied to 
letters possessing more, than one width between its outlines, it 
always refers to the greatest width, and usually the vertical 
portion of the letter, as distinguished from the "fine line." 

24. Fine liine. — The fine line is the line connecting the 
strokes or lines attached to them, forming a part of the letter, 
and is usually a horizontal line. 

25. Spur. — The spur is a small projection from the 
extremity of a letter, and exists in several varieties, according 
to the style of letter on which it is used. 

26. Face. — The face of a letter usually includes all the 
space forming a rectangle enclosing the extremities of the 
letter, but is often applied to the surface within the outline 
of the letter. 

27. Shade. — This term is used to describe the treatment 
or finish of a letter, and is apj^lied to a letter to give it the 
appearance of relief from the background ; also to cause one 
part of the stroke to appear projected or depressed from 
the surface. 

28. Block. — This is similar to the shade in effect, and is 
used to give a letter thickness, or, as its name expresses, to give 
it a solid block effect, in -which case the shade also is sometimes 
used beyond the block in the form of a natural shadow. 

29. Outline. — The outline of a letter is the line that 
forms the letter, leaving the body of the stroke open. 

30. Width. — The width of letters always applies to the 
space occupied between the vertical lines to the extreme right 
and left, and never refers to the height. 


31. Background. — The background is the surface on 
which the lettering is placed ; it is also sometimes called the 
ground, or Jield. 

32. Condensing. — Condensing is a term applied to the 
closer spacing of the letters, or to making them narrower than 
normal width. 

33. Elongating. — Elongating is the term applied when 
the letters are draAvn out to a greater Avidth than the normal. 
This term should not be confvised with the appearance of a con- 
densed letter, with the relation of its height to its width. 

34. C.vnia. — The cyma is a character employed to equalize 
the spacing of irregular letters by placing it where the space is 
open and requires something more than the plain letter to 
make the word appear solid. This character derives its name 
from the Greek, its undulating form resembling a wave. The 
cyma is usually attached to the letters A, L, M, W, etc. ; it is 
used in but few styles of lettering, while in some styles it forms 
a part of the letter itself. 


35. Importance of Spacing. — Next in importance to 
the formation of letters stands the art of arranging them in 
words in a way calculated to make the word not onl}^ legible 
but symmetrical ; this is called spacing. Nothing will destroy 
the harmony of a line of perfectly formed letters more effect- 
ively than a disregard of this art. Aside from a few general 
rules, the letterer must depend on his own good judgment, and 
cultivate the ability to proportion all spaces according to the 
coml)inations of letters. Irregular combinations occur in many 
ways, but true proportion must always reign in a word accu- 
rately spaced, so that its regularity is apparent to the eye at a 
glance. To accomplish this, special attention must be given to 
the following rules : 

36. Correct and Incorrect Spacing. — Make the inter- 
spacings equal to one another, or as nearly so as possible. To 
do this may require the shortening of some extended letters, 
and the spreading apart of letters having vertical or parallel 


lines. This is shown by Figs. 2 and 3, in which the right and 
the wrong spacing can be seen. The L in Fig. 2 is shortened a 
full stroke in width instead of one-half stroke, which is the 
normal width of the letter ; and the space between the A and 
the W is about one-half the width of the letter A at its base. 
At the top of the A is shown the cyma used to relieve the space 
which cannot be equalized. The cyma is also often used in a 


Fig. 2. Fig. 3. 

vertical position on the L, the point almost resting on the lower 
right-hand spur. Fig. 3 shows the effect of the rule followed by 
some letterers, who allow the same space between the extremities 
of all letters, and make no allowance for unequal-sized inter- 
spaces. The parallel strokes of the A and the W are the same 
distance apart as the L and the A, leaving the L full width. 
Many such combinations occur, and unless we observe this 
rule we may expect no better effects than in Fig. 3. Two 
projecting letters, either L's or T's, often occur together, as 
in such words as "millinery," "butter," etc., and at the 
same time in connection with letters that are full face or 
occupying full width top and bottom, as shown in Fig. 4. In 
such cases the L should be made the width of the stroke 


Fig. 4. Fig 5. 

narrower than the full-face letters, and the spaces between the 
latter and the right-hand letters next to them should be one- 
half the width of the stroke. There should be a space of the 
full width of the stroke between parallel-stroke letters, as the I 
and the L. In Fig. 5 the T's are shortened only one-half the 
width of the stroke, allowing the same space between them and 
the letters on each side as allowed in Fig. 4 between the end of 



the right L and the stroke of the N. The letters, therefore, 
with which we shall experience the most difficulty in spacing, 
are the slanting- stroke letters A, K, V, W, and Y and the pro- 
jecting letters F, J, L, and T. 

37. Full Block and Roman. — When spacing such 
styles as the Full Block and Roman observe the following 
rules : When two letters having spurs come together, as 

leave the Avidth of the stroke of the letter between the spurs. 
When a spur and a plain-stroke letter come together, as 


leave H width of stroke between body or stroke of letters. 
When two spurless letters, as 

come together, leave space of one stroke 1)etween them. Slant- 
ing-stroke letters, such as the W and the Y, leave the half-nStroke 
space between the spurs, and the same space if the next letter 
be a spurless letter. 

38. Egyptian, Half Block, and Frencli Roman. — The 

Egyptian, Half Block, and French Roman can be spaced by the 
following rules : Leave width of stroke between all parallel- 
stroke letters, and one-half this width between projecting letters. 
Between round letters coming together on rounded sides, as 


leave J stroke. Between words never allow less than the space 


of a full-sized letter, including spurs ; and, if possible, leave 
li spaces. Never allow letters to touch each other, except 
shaded letters, and not then unless it is unavoidable. Two 
round letters coming together, such as 


in condensed styles, having no spurs, may be allowed to almost 
touch each other without having the effect of doing so ; while 
such letters as 


produce the effect of being closer together than they really are. 

39. Care must always be exercised in selecting a style of 
letter to suit a space as well as a word. The placing of a word 
in a given space not appropriate to it will cause the letters to 
be either so separated by spaces or so condensed for want of 
space as to make them unsightly and difficult to read. Under 
the heading of "Inscription Designing," the subject of the 


selection of styles to meet all requirement is fully treated. 
The appearance of the spacing of letters is similar to that of a 
company of soldiers. If a portion of the company be separated 
by a space greater than the manual prescribes, it has the 
appearance of a separate detachment and is noticeable at a 
glance. In the same manner, if a word is spaced properly 
throughout with but one exception, it has the appearance of 
two words. For example, take the word Semite shown in 
Fig. 6, where the space between the N and the A gives it the 
effect of two words. 



40. There is seldom sufficient attention paid to this impor- 
tant subject among letterers, as may be observed on the signs 
on ahnost any pubhc street. 

41. Origin of the Aposti-oplie. — The apostrophe is fre- 
quently misplaced in the plural possessive case. To fully 
understand the rule governing the possessive case and the 
origin of the mark used to denote possession, we should first 
know that the apostrophe is used to indicate that something 
has been omitted. If we should look on the fly leaf of some 
very old book, we would see the name of the owner, "John 
Smith," and underneath, the words "his book," which was 
the early form of expressing the possessive. Later, it became a 
custom to contract the name • and article possessed — thus, 
"John Smith's book" — and to insert the apostrophe to indi- 
cate that the "his" was omitted. By bearing in mind this 
simple custom, one can always locate the proper place for the 
apostrophe, according to the location of the pronoun. To 
further illustrate, take, for example, the words "men's and 
boys' clothing." To use the method of our ancestors we 
would express it, "men, their clothing, and boys, their cloth- 
ing." According to the rule, the apostrophe and final "s" 
should be substitvited for the pronoun, making the phrase read 
"men's and boys' clothing." Thus, the letter "s" would not 
be necessary after the apostrophe in the word "men's," as the 
pronoun "their," which has no final "s, " is used; but for 
euphony, or to obviate harshness of sound, the " s " is often 
added after many words, and also omitted from words ending 
with " s " for the same reason. 

42. The Comma. — The comma is frequently used where 
the period is the mark required. For instance, the words 
"John Smith. Law Office." make two complete and inde- 
pendent statements, and each should be terminated I)}' a ■ 
period. However, if the words used were "John Smith, 
Lawj^er." the case would have been different, as there is but 
one statement, which should be terminated by the period. 



43. Period. — The period is put at the end of every 
word, phrase, or sentence that is complete by itself, and 
not interrogative or exclamatory. It is also placed after 
all abbreviations. 

Quit yourselves like meu. The M. D. addressed his letter to James 
Howard, LL. D. 

44. Colon. — The colon is an intermediate point between 
the semicolon and the period, and is used as follows : 

L After words that promise a series or statement of some- 
thing important. 

His accomplishments, he said, were not many : a stout heart, a firm 
resolve, and — fifty cents. 

2. Before an important remark added to a sentence, espe- 
cially when it sums up the sentence, or presents the meaning 
in another form. 

Avoid evil doers : in such society an honest man may become 
ashamed of himself. 

45. The Semicolon. — The semicolon is used to separate 
clauses that are themselves divided l)y the comma, or that 
require a point greater than a comma and less than a colon ; or 
to separate the parts of a loose series. 

He was courteous, not cringing, to superiors ; affable, not familiar, to 
equals ; and kind, but not condescending or supercilious, to inferiors. 

46. Comma. — The comma is the most frequently used of 
all the punctuation marks. The chief purposes for which it is 
used are the following : 

1. To separate the terms of a closely related series, or two 
such terms when the connective is omitted. 

Hedges, groves, gardens. 

It was a dark, desolate region. 

2. To separate terms that are contrasted or otherwise dis- 
tinguished, and terms of which a part in one might be referred 
improperly to the other. 

He is poor, but honest. 


3. To set. off ^ word, phrase, or clause that is parenthetic, or 
that comes between other parts and breaks their connection. 

You will then, however, be in no better condition. 

4. To set off a modifying word, phrase, or clause that is not 
closely connected with what it modifies, or that is removed from 
it by inversion. 

Behold the emblem of thy state in flowers, which bloom and die. By 
Americans generally, the liero of the Battle of Manila Bay is beloved. 

5. To set off words or phrases used independently or 

Ristalfo, give me what is mine, and that right quickly. 

6. To separate the predicate from its subject, when the 
subject is very long, and has a clause, or consists of punctu- 
ated parts. 

The fact that he is allowed to go unpunished, makes him more 
insolent than ever. 

7. To separate clauses that are neither very closely nor very 
loosely connected. 

There mountains rise, and circling rivers flow. 

8. Short simple sentences or clauses seldom require a point 
within them ; and phrases or clauses that stand in close connec- 
tion with that on which they depend seldom require a i3oint 
before them. 

Tell me when it was that you saw him after he returned. 

47. Interrogation Point. — The interrogation point is 
placed after every complete direct question, whether it forms a 
complete sentence or only a part of a sentence. 

What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow? 

— Julius Grsar. 

48. Exclamation Point. — The exclamation point is 
placed after a word, phrase, clause, or sentence that indicates 
great surprise, grief, joy, or other emotion in the speaker. 

Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! 

49. Dasli. — The dash is chiefly used for the following 
purposes : 


1. To show omission caused by interruption. 

Cassius. Yet I fear him : 

For in the ingrafted love he bears to 
Caesar — 
Brutus. Alas ! good Cassius, do not think of him. 

2. To show emphasis or suppressed feeling, or to show an 
unexpected turn in thought or style. 

Heaven gives to its favorites — early death. 

3. To set off . a parenthetical phrase, especially when 
emphatic or when there are other points within it. 

To render the Constitution perpetual — which God grant it may be — 
it is necessary that its benefits should be practically felt by all parts of 
the country. — D. Webster. 

4. Before echoes, or where the words "that is" or 
' ' namely ' ' are understood. 

The four greatest names in English poetry are almost the first we 
come to — Chaucer, Spencer, Shakespeare, and Milton. 

50. Parentliesis. — The parenthesis is used to enclose 
some incidental remark or explanation that breaks the regular 
construction of the sentence and can be omitted without injur- 
ing the grammatical sense. 

Know then this truth (enough for man to know), 
Virtue alone is happiness below. — Pojic. 

51. Qiiotatioii Marks. — Quotation marks are used to 
enclose words taken from the saying or writing of another person. 

The doctor made the sage remark, " while there's life, there's hope." 

52. Apostrophe. — The apostrophe is used to denote the 
omission of one or more letters. 

'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print ; 
A book's a book, although there's nothing in 't. 

— Cliatterton. 

53. Hyphen. — The hyphen (-) is used (1) at the close 
of a syllable that ends a line when the remaining part of the 
word must be carried to the next line ; (2) to join the parts of 
compound words. 



54. Ditto Marks. — The ditto marks (" ) are used to avoid 
the repetition of the word or expression directly above them. 

55. Underscore. — The underscore is a line drawn under 
words in manuscript or copy to give them special emphasis, 
showing that they are to be printed in Italic or capitals, one 
line denoting Italic, two lines denoting small capitals, and three 
lines large capitals. 


56. Sliacling on the Ijeft Side. — Shading is used to 
cause the letter to appear in relief, and thereby take away the 
flat or plain appearance. Shading may be placed on the top, 
bottom, or either side of a letter, but it should at first always 
be placed on the bottom and left side ; as, for several reasons, 
it is best not to try to shade a letter on the right side until the 
student is familiar with the left, as he will use this side for all 
practical purposes. The reasons for giving this side the prefer- 
ence are : (1) Regularity and symmetry of the shade occurs 

Fig. 7. 

Fig. 8. 

in more of the letters when shaded on the left side, such as the 
S, E, C, R, etc. Fig. 7 illustrates this advantage, and shows the 
single stroke on the left at (a), and the broken shade from the 
stroke on the right side at (b). (2) By shading to the left, 
the letterer can accomplish more in a given length of time, and 
produce a better effect in his work when finished. (3) The 
majority of strokes in shading to the left are drawn towards 
the letterer, while in shading on the right the brush is j^ushed 
to the right, Avhich in itself is a strong argument in favor 
of the former. 




5T. Shading should always be executed on the assumption 

that the light falls on the letter at an angle of 45°. This 
principle can best be shown by reference to Fig. 8. The maxi- 
mum width of the shade occurs at a, a, midway between the two 
lines b, b, and then diminishes to lines 6, b, where it is com- 
pleted. The tendency of the average letterer is to give too much 
thickness where shade begins or finishes. All letters must be 
shaded "on the same angle at every point, and, after practice, 
this angle becomes as well established with the letterer as the 
horizontal or vertical lines. Every characteristic point of 
the letter must be shown in the shade, as at a, Fig. 9, and all 

Fig. 9. 

Fig. 10. 

must be of equal widtli in all letters except the round charac- 
ters, whereon the shade reaches this width only at the maxi- 
mum i^oint of thickness in the letter. 

58. Block Shade. — There are many methods of obtain- 
ing beautiful effects in shading, which will be considered sepa- 
rately. The block shade, as its name indicates, consists of the 
effect of making the letter appear to have thickness. This is 
done by the use of two shades, the dark, or stronger, one being 
used underneath all horizontal strokes, and the lighter tint on 
the side of all vertical strokes. The block shade can be placed 
on the top or right side of the letter, in which case the block, 
as well as the letter itself, is shaded as shown in Fig. 10. Here 
the shade has below and to the left of the letter the appearance 
of a cast shadow. 

59. Cast Shado^v. — The cast shadow is also used in con- 
nection with heavy-stroke letters, Ijlock shading, etc. , giving the 



letter the appearance of standing upright, either on a level or 
on a slanting surface. The top of the shade is on a line about 
one-fifth of the height of the letter below the top. The shade 
is made on an angle of 30° to the left, the point resting on the 

Fig. 11. 

lower left corner of the letter, as in Fig. 11, where (a) shows 
the letter with a block shade and cast shadow, and (6) shows 
the simple outlined letter and cast shadow. The shade is 
sometimes used l;)y duplicating the letter in the form of a 
shadow cast on the background, one-fifth of the height of the 
letter below the top, and on the same angle (45°) as the 
regular shade, as shown in Fio-. 12. 

60. Relief Shade. — Relief shade is obtained by leaving a 
space between the letter and the shade on the same angle as 

Fig. 12. 

Fig. 13. 

the shade, as shown in Fig. 13, making the space and shade of 
uniform width. When used in connection with block shade, 
it is often of the nature of the natural shade, and is added to 
the block shading without any line or space between. The 



relief shade when used as a natural shade on a white or tinted 
ground is made to represent the strength of the shadow cast 
from an object on the ground on which the letters are placed. 
This shade is produced with the pen by means of lines, but 
more effectively by the brush and transparent color. 


61. Importance of Subject. — The treatment of the face 
of the letter is a very important consideration. The letterer 
often finds himself confronted with a line of extremel}' plain let- 
tering that, even after it is shaded, remains flat and unsatis- 
factory. This effect can sometimes be overcome by the addition 
of lights and shades placed directly on the letter face itself. 
The face of the letter may be variegated or blended from a light 
to a dark shade, in which case a sharp outline must surround 
the entire letter, as shown in Fig. 14. Lighting and shading 

Fig. 14. 

Fig. 15. 

Fig. 16. 

are used with best results on heavy-faced letters, as all treat- 
ment of the face of a letter by shading has the tendency to 
considerably reduce the apparent width of the stroke. 

62. Effects Produced. — Another effect is produced by 
running bars of color across the center of the letter, and dimin- 
ishing these bars in width to a point midway from center to top 
and bottom, as in Fig. 15. Diminishing circles are also used on 
letters of lighter face, such as the Roman, and can be made to 
occupy the entire face, or, as is shown in Fig. 16, terminating at 
a given point, which must be regularly observed throughout the 
line of letters. 




63. Heavy Iligliliglit. — The heavy highlight is used in 
the treatment of the face of the letter by making the upper half 
of the letter a uniform tint, either by lining, as shown in 
Fig. 17, or with colors. The darker shade b is placed on the 
lower half of the letter, allowing a highlight on this equal in 
strength to a, or the upper half. The highlight c on the upper 
half of the letter is left white. By a combination of the shades 
of colors many beautiful effects can be produced by this means, 
using such colors for a as blue, green, gray, or gold color, the 
last of which combines with sienna for the lower portion, and 
with cream color for the upper highlight. Blue or green when 
used should have tint and shade of the same color. 

64. Beveled Shading. — Shading on the face of a letter to 
represent a beveled appearance is another treatment that gives 
a line of lettering a finished and pleasing effect. In this 

Fig. 17. 

Fig. 18. 

process it is necessary only to observe the rules of light and 
shadow, as shown in Fig. IS, by shading the letter on the left 
and bottom sides from a line drawn through the center of the 
face of the letter. This form of shading is often used on a 
gold or silver letter by the use of transparent colors such as 
varnish stained with asphaltum, which is used on gold, and 
varnish darkened with lampblack is used on silver letters. 
There are many other methods of treating the face of letters by 
the use of ornament, whereby it loses its identity as a plain 
and becomes an ornamented letter. 





65. As its name indicates, the highlight is used to illumi- 
nate or light up a letter, which it does with wonderful effect. 
The highlight is placed on the edge of the letter, opposite the 
shade," or on the right and top of the strokes. It is always a 
fine line of either gold, silver, white, or cream, according to the 
color of the letter on which it is to be placed. If the letter is a 
colored letter, gold or silver can be used. If the letter is gold, 
nothing will serve the purpose of a highlight so well as cream 
or white. On silver or aluminum, white only can be used. 
To be most effectual this highlight must be a fine, even line. 
The heavy highlight is used in letter-face lighting and shading, 
and is explained under that head. 


GG, Uses of Cut-in iietters. — This term is applied to 
that style of treatment wherein the letters are drawn in outline, 
and the background is filled in around them. In inscription 
designing this method is resorted to frequently, in order to 

Fig. 19. 

break the monotony of several lines of plain lettering. The 
insertion of a panel or ribbon, on which the letters are "cut in," 
provides a colored background, against which the letters are 
outlined, allowing the same color for the letters as the main 
ground of the inscription design, as shown in Fig. 19. The 
color of the panel and background will govern very largely the 
character of letter to be cut in. If the general ground is white 
or any light color, and the cutting-in, or outline, color is very 
dark, a heavy-faced letter may be used without causing any 




appearance of clumsiness or ill proportion. But should the 
letters be in gold, a much lighter-faced letter would be neces- 
sary^, as the effect of the gold luster is to make the letter appear 
larger than it actually is. A very fine line of gold on a black 
ground can be readily distinguished even at a great distance, 

and a white letter on a blue ground can be read at a greater 
distance than any other combination of colors. 

67. Points to be Observed. — In the practice of cutting 
in letters the student should begin on the plainer styles, such as 
the Full Block, Half Block, etc., before endeavoring to execute 
the Roman or Script. Fig. 19 shows the letters in outline, 
and also with the background filled in. In order to insure 
uniformity of width in the horizontal elements of the letters, 
faint lines may be drawn through the entire word by means of 
a thread or string charged with charcoal, chalk, or other material 
that afterwards may be readily dusted off. Cut-in letters may 

Fig. 21. 

Fig. 22. 

usually be permitted to stand closer than other styles of work, 
as they are seldom shaded, though when they are shaded, the 
regular spacing should be used. 

68. Irregiilar-Sxirface Ijettering-.— AMiere letters are 
cut in on an irregular surface, such as a ribbon, as in Fig. 20, 




they must be maintained at a uniform angle and not changed 
to suit the angle of the ribbon, as at a. The importance of this 
will be considered more fully later on, but its connection with 
the subject now under discussion must not be overlooked. 
AMien letters are cut in on an inclined panel or ribbon the let- 
ters should be maintained in a vertical position, as in Fig. 21, 
or perpendicular to the lines of the panel, as in Fig. 22, 



69. Scope of the Subject. — The plain letters include all 

alphabets in which no line 

or curve enters that is not 

absolutely necessary to 

show their form or outline ; 

a line thus added may 

place them among the orna- 
mental letters. Although 

it will be impossible to go 

over the entire ground 

covered by this subject, 

as there are endless vari- 
eties of ornamental letters, 

the styles found to be most essential will be considered. There 

^=.„===^=^=- ^^6 many letters into which 

ornamental construction 
enters but slightly, while 
others are composed en- 
tirely of ornamental forms. 
The ornamental letters of 
most value to the student 
are those on the face of 
which the ornament ap- 
pears, either in the form 

of relief scrolls, geometrical figures, or designs in arabesque. 

Fig. 23. 

Fig. 24. 





70. Ornamental Forms. — Letters classified as ornamen- 
tal are of so great a variety that such as are used in connection 

with the shade to produce 
a bent or rounded effect, as 
shown in Figs. 23-24, might 
be classed with this style. 
Fig. 23 shows the ground 
to be a plane surface and 
the letter bent or warped, 
while Fig. 24 shows the 
letter to be perfectly 
straight, and fastened with 
screws, while the ground has the effect of being bent or warped. 

71. A letter that in itself is perfectly plain but surrounded 
by ornamentation, as shown in Fig. 25, is called an orna- 

mental letter also, though as a matter of fact the letter itself 
may be perfectly plain. 

72. Other Forms. — Other ornamental forms are as fol- 
lows : The relief-ornament letters 
shown in Fig. 26 can be made in 
various ways. The whole form 
of the letter may be treated in 
this manner, as at (a), or by 
simply suggesting it in the middle 
or edge of the letter, as in (h), 
(c), and (f/). A letter may be 
plain, so far as its face is concerned, but on account of its 

Fig. 27. 




form and construction it may be classified as ornamental, 
as shown in Fig. 27. 

There are many forms of designs used in letter-face orna- 
mentation, either filigree work, geometrical designs, or a com- 

bination of both. In Fig. 28 are shown three letters of the 
face-ornament class, the one at (a) being decorated with filigree 
work, while (b) shows a geometrical design, and (c) simply 
tlie cross-line shading. 


73. All letters, as previously stated (Art. 2), are either 
plain, ornamental, or grotesque. The first two classes follow in 
their outline construction the forms of the fundamental styles 
and their many variations, but this third class is entirely 
different. The grotesque letters have no recognized or classical 
form, such as would place them among 
the styles of the alphabet, but are made 
by using natural objects, which are arranged 
so as to conform to anj^ regular or irregular 
shape that will cause them to represent a 
letter, and any form, therefore, is allowable 
so long as the letter may be recognized. 
To accomplish this, objects such as a 
human figure, a piece of rope or ribbon, 
l)roken boards, leaves, vines, and trunk of the tree, are used. 

Of the three latter forms, the rustic letters are made. The 
leaves, tendrils, stump, and trunk of the tree form the material 
used for an entire alphabet, one letter of which is shown in 
Fig. 29. These letters can l)e made very artistic, and show 

Fig. 29. 




great skill in their arrangement. And, while they may be 
pleasing to the eye, they are of no practical importance to the 
student in the study of the forms of the letters, as their pro- 
portions are purely arbitrary. Fig. 30 shows the forms of 



Fig. 30. 

some of the grotesque letters, in which (a) is formed by a 
human figure, (6) by broken boards, and (c) with a piece of 
rope. Any alphabet may be constructed of these forms as the 
fancy of any artist may dictate, even though he may be 
ignorant of the true form or proportion of the simplest style 
of the alphabet. 


74. History and General Use. — The monks of the 
Middle Ages were the first to make use of this art, many 
sjjecimens of Avhich Avould indicate that they must have spent 
days in designing and executing a single letter. In treating 
this subject here, our purpose is simply to call attention to the 
most simi^litied forms of illuminating, especially those forms 
designed for the use of the average letterer. The practical use 
of this art is now confined to lithographing, engrossing, card 
work, and ecclesiastical decorations. The printing and litho- 
graphing artists have displayed wonderful skill in recent years 
in illuminated work, especially on show-bill designs. The use 
of colors to light up the capital letter gives a surprising effect 
to a complete line of lettering, and is done by a simple combi- 
nation of designs of most harmonious colors with the letter 
executed, and by using colors of striking contrast to the tints 
used to form the background. Such colors as can be com- 
bined to give a brilliant effect are used in the form of a plaque. 




part panel or both, on which the letter is brought out most con- 
sj^icuously, as shown in Fig. 31. The illumination practiced 
by engrossers is usually of such a nature as to produce a 
finished'and pleasing effect without resorting to colors. There 
are many ways by which tliis can be accomplished. One 
method is simply by the use of a pen and black ink, as shown 
in Fig. 32, outlining the letter first, then making the orna- 

FlG. 31. 

mentation surrounding it conform to any desired design, 
thereby giving the letter prominence. Great care should be 
taken that the ornamentation is not made more pronounced 
than the letter, but rather tliat the former is used as a means to 
bring out or illuminate the letter. 

75. Card Work. — For card work, the illuminating of capi- 
tals gives tone and finish, and relieves a shoAV card of extreme 




plainness. For practical purposes, such as attractive adver- 
tising cards, banners, etc., the illuminating of capitals will be 
found to hold an important place, and is coming into favor and 

more general use. There are also 
many forms and designs employed 
as a panel, on which illuminated 
capitals are placed, in a solid or 
outlined letter ; the outline letter, 
however, being the most convenient, 
is most frequently used, especially 
when either the panel or the letter, 
or both, are to be treated in water 
colors. The letter outlined is some- 
times filled in with carmine or other 
bright color, Avhile the panel sur- 
rounds it with a tint of cream-white, yelloAV, or green. Two or 
three shades of color are sometimes used, either variegated or in 
the form of line work on top of tint, as in Fig. 33. 

7(5. Ecclesiastical Decorations. — For ecclesiastical 
decorations, such as wall j^anels containing inscriptions, wbich 

are usually in the Old English, Gothic, or Church Text style of 
letter, as Avell as for display mottoes in schools, halls, etc., where 
the Old English or other suitable lettering is used, the first 




capital (and sometimes all capitals) is illuminated, either on 
a panel of gold, silver, or color. In all cases the panel is made 

Fig. 34. 

to conform in a general way to the letter, as Fig. 34 shows. If 
gold or silver is used for a ground, the letter must be a dark 
color. If a colored ground (which is preferable) is used, a 
gold or silver letter will be 
found to light up with colors 
and produce a most satis- 
fac'tory result. 

77. Heraldic Sliield. 

An heraldic shield is often 
In-ought into use, on which the 
illuminated capital is placed. 
There are many designs or 
forms of this shield, which 
can be changed to suit any form of a letter, as shown in Fig. 35. 

Flu. 35. 



78. Condensing Xjetters. — In conforming letters to till 
a required space, we are often compelled to resort to various 
means of accomplishing our purpose, without making the 
inscription appear distorted or out of proportion, ^^l^en 
the panel or space to be lettered is much shorter than would 
admit of a regularly proportioned letter, we are compelled to 
resort to the condensing of the letters, observing generally the 


rules of their proportionate width. All styles of letters can 
be condensed except Railroad Block, which Avas invented 
exclusively for the opposite purpose. To illustrate more fully, 


the word Company is used to show the two forms of condensing, 
as well as the two forms of elongating. 

79. Example of Condensed tietter. — In Fig. 36 is 
shown the condensed form, as may l)e seen by comparing 
the proportions of the letters with those of the Half Block 

Plate. The letterer may condense 

his letters to the width of those of 

Fig. 36, and find they are still too 

large for the required space ; the 

vertical strokes can then he reduced 

to one-half the regular width, and 

^"■'' '^^' the horizontal strokes maintained at 

the regular, or even greater, width, and less space allowed 

between letters, as in Fig. 37. This reduces the word to 

almost one-third that of Fig. 36. 

80. Elongating Letters. — To elongate the same word in 
the same style of letter, make the height, for convenience, one- 
half that of Fig. 36 ; thus it will be observed that if this 
elongated letter were twice the height it is in Fig. 38, it would 

the proportions of the 



Fig. RS. 

occupy a space almost four times that of Fig. 36. To further 
elongate this word, reverse the rules of Fig. 37, by reducing 




the horizontal strokes one-half the regular width, keeping the 
vertical' strokes regular width ; or these may be increased to 
twice their regular width if desired, also giving more space 
]>etween the letters, as sliown in Fig. 39. By this means a word 


Fig. 30. 

can be made to fill a space much too long for the regular 
proportion given this style of letter. 

81. Telescoping. — Telescoping is not of so much prac- 
tical advantage as condensing or elongating, and is used mostly 
to produce a relief effect. This is done by giving the letters 
the appearance of overlapping one another, as shown in Fig. 40, 

Fig. 40. 

Every alternate letter is dropped enough below the line to 
prevent confusion of horizontal lines and to preserve the com- 
plete identity of each. These letters can be shaded on the 
liackground but not on the face, as this would tend to destroy 
their legibilit}'. 

82. Interlacing. — Interlacing to its fullest extent enters 
into the construction of a monogram ; but the ionn of inter- 
lacing at present under consideration is somewhat different, 
and includes the interlacing of an entire word. This is very 
often resorted to by the designer, especially in the use of 
eccentric letters, which are made to extend far beyond the 
limits of the fundamental styles from which they are derived, 
as shown in Fig. 4L 





83. Water Colors. — Water colors are used for all classes 
of designing, and especially in commercial advertising work, as 
a small quantity of lithographic or printed work executed in 
black outline can be very economically colored or filled in with 
water colors by hand. A knowledge of the handling of water 
colors is, therefore, a necessity to the letterer. Dry color in 
powdered form is used when large areas of blended color are 
required. This is applied with a wad of cotton, with which the 


dry color is spread evenly over the surface by gentle rubbing. 
The outline of the design is the guide for all water-color work 
in lettering panels, floral designs, etc. The wider this outline is 
made, the easier will be the work of flowing the color evenl}^ 
and the less the liability of running over the line ; the fine 
outline, however, is used in many places, especially for 
floral designs, etc. 

84. Use of AYater Colors. — Water colors are used to the 
best advantage on white show cards, having a dull finish, which 
readily absorb the moisture. The outline is made with the 
glossy black to which the water color will not adhere, but flows 
to the edge and stops. By this outline niethod, beautiful 
designs in flowers and highly illuminated effects can be pro- 
duced. Water colors also serve the purpose of shading or 


tinting borders of cards outside of the fine line. For shading 
the letters, a brush is used that will as nearly as possible make 
the shade Avith one stroke, as water color cannot be worked over, 
when once applied, without showing brush marks. Therefore, 
the color must be flowed on evenly with a quick, well-directed 
stroke, using care not to apply the brush again over a shaded 
part when the excess water has been absorbed by the card. 

85. Scope and Impoi-tance. — The subject of designing 
is an almost inexhaustible one, and covers a broad field. There 
are, however, many general rules and many commonly accepted 
forms, which establish a foundation on which new ideas ma}' 
be built. Designing will ever be an art that, aside from these 
general rules, involves the faculty for producing original con- 
ceptions or combinations which must conform to the dictates 
or system of a recognized class or school. Very few letterers 
are designers in the full sense of the word, and few of our best 
designers are good letterers. Students in this course should 
cultivate a knowledge of this most important subject. An 
inscription of several lines of lettering, arranged so as to show 
intelligence in design, proves that the letterer has accomplished 
that which is of as much importance as a knowledge of the 
proper formation of letters. The first thing, therefore, is to 
study the underlying principles of designing from the curve, 
which forms the first departure from a plain line of letters, to 
the combination, pictorial, and the wide field of original designs, 
the possibilities of which lie beyond the limits of this Instruction 
Paper. In showing the many Avays in which curved lines are 
used for inscriptions, we will not attempt to make lines of 
letters, but allow the curves and straight lines to represent these. 

86. Some Simple Combinations. — In Fig. 42 is shown 
the combination of the plain curve and straight line. The 
Roman letter or some light-stroke style is used on the curved- 
line, block, or other heavy-stroke letters on the straight line. 
The letters on the curve must be either vertical or parallel with 
the radius of the curve. 


Next in importance is the compound curve, or ogee, which is 
used when the inscription is composed of two words of about 
equal length, as in Fig. 43. Here, two ogee curves are used 

Fig. 42. Fig. 43. Fig. 44. 

under a single curve and above a straight line. Where one 
word occurs, we use the double ogee, which is made by uniting 
two ogee curves, as shown in Fig. 44. 

In many designs, the inclined straight lines are used, as 
shown in (a) of Fig. 45, or diminished in widtli from the 
outside to the center of the inscription, as shown in (b) of 
the same figure. 

While these and many other lines and curves are used in 
designing an inscription, several straight lines of lettering 

in) Fig. 45. (b) 

require a great amount of skill in equalizing and arranging 
them properly, even in straight lines. In such designs only 
one style of letter (but made of various sizes, as the arrange- 
ment may require) is often used throughout the inscription. 


87. The Ribbon. — The ril)bon is used in many forms, 
and can be made to suit almost any style of inscription by 
folding or extending. When folded, the part representing the 
back of the rilibon is called the return, and must be shown by 
color or shading. The ribbon is made either in a regular curve 
or with irregular and broken edges. Fig. 46 shows the ribbon 
in some of its many forms, of which the names of its component 
parts are as follows : a, the bow ; b, the broken band ; c, the 
regular band ; d, the returning band ; e, the streamer ; and 
/, the roll. 




The ribbon is used also in a square or geometrical form, in 
, wliich case the graceful and natural Avave does not enter, as 
shown in Fig. 47. This form of ribbon serves its place in con- 
ventional or set designs. 

The ribbon is used also in the same form as the double ogee, 
and when thus used it must be made symmetrical on both ends. 
The fold can also be made in middle of ogee, as shown in 
Fig. 48, without distorting its symmetrical effect, but rather 

giving it ease and grace, which sliould always be the aim 
of the designer. 

88. Shading the Ribbon. — In shading a ribbon, to 
make it appear natural always observe the law of light and 

shade. If the light should strike on one part of the ribbon, 
the opposite side corres])onding with it must necessarily be 
in shadow. 

The study of light and shade is the first princi]de of design, 




and has been considered with reference to individual letters 
under the head of "Shading." In designing, as in drawing 
from nature, strict adherence to this law is absolutel}^ necessary, 
as the slightest disregard of it is noticeable to the skilled eye. 
We have seen the advantage of shading single letters to the left, 
and it is well to practice the shading of designs on the left also, 
in order to avoid such mistakes as are likely to occur, by show- 
ing a shade on two opposite sides of an 
object or of several objects, when they are 
mm- combined to form one single design. 

89. Reflected Light. — In the sha- 
ding of ribbons or any rounded object, there 
occurs what is called the reflected light. 
It shows the edge or line which, without 
the observance of this principle, would 
otherwise be lost where the darkest shaded 
parts conie together. Fig. 49 shows this principle of reflected 
liglit, the greatest strength of the shade being somewhat removed 
from the extreme edge of the object, as at «, while the shadow 
cast by the object itself is strongest against the edge at h. 

Fic. -JO. 


90. Heetangiilar Panels. — The panel has more forms 
tlian tlie ril^bon, and is made to serve many puri)Oses. The 




Fir.. 50. 

simplest form is that of a rectangle, within which is sometimes 
drawn an inner panel of the same, or different, shape shown 
in Fig. 50. The surroundings of the panel can be made either 




simple or elaborate, as the material at hand in this style of 
design is inexhaustible. One of the many forms of the exterior 
of the panel is such as shown in Fig. 5L This work may be 

Fig. 51. 

so elaborated that the inner panel on which our lettering is to 
be placed becomes of minor importance, as shown in Fig. 52. 
This, of course, is not such a design as should be used to dis- 
play a conspicuous inscription. We must, therefore, keep in 

Fig. 52. 

mind the fact that the inscription, if important, is of greater 
value than the ornamentation, the latter being employed only 
to embellii^h it, without detracting from its prominence. 




91. Part Panels. — Another form of panel is that which 
is combined with some other design, in which the panel is not 
in the foreground of our design, as shown in Fig. 53. When 
the panel is left unfinished on one end, as in Fig. 53, it is 
known as a part panel, and many beautiful effects can be 
produced by its use. In this the damask principle is used, the 
panel being blended into the ground by means of color or with 
the pen. The lettering is also blended ; the extreme of light 
color is thus contrasted against the darkest part of the panel. 

Fig. 53. 

and the dark lettering is continued on the light ground 
outside of the panel. 

92. Elliptical and lloiiiid Panels. — Elliptical and 
round panels are also used and can 1)e made extremely orna- 
mental. A touch of simple ornament in a design will often 
counterbalance a quantity of plain work, and give a general 
effect of ornamentation throughout. Fig. 54 shows an ellip- 
tical design, with simply a frame of ornamentation, which is 
sufiicient for the purpose of ornamenting a design ; when such 
work is placed on other plainer material in a design, it gives 
the whole the appearance of completeness. 

93. Rococo Panels. — Another style of panel that has 
come into our modern designs is the rococo panel ; not only is 
the scrollwork used for the panel itself, but it is frequently 
applied to the embellishment of many parts of the design. 




Fig. 55 shows one of the great variety of shapes the rococo 
panel assumes, as this style can be made to conform to the 

Fig. 54. 

lines of any inscription, or to form a part of nearly any 
style of a design. 

The same style of scroll is frequently used for the purpose of 
filling up an open space in a design, although this is done also 
through the employment of natural forms, such as palms, olive 
or laurel branches, flow- 
ers, leaves, and conven- 
tional objects, vases, 


lamps, lions, griffins, etc. , 
and, in fact, any object 
pertaining to, or in har- 
mony with, the inscrip- 
tion. If the inscription 
of a design pertains to 
music, the lyre may be 
used to embellish the 
design ; if it pertains to 
the trades, such tools as 
are identified with the 
trades may appear in the 
design. If literature or science is the subject, symbolic objects" 

Fig. 55. 



can be used in a variety of ways. A large collection of choice 
designs should always be on hand for reference, from a review 
of which a suggestion may often be obtained that leads the 
designer's thought into an original channel, which, as we have 
stated before, is the chief aim of the designer. 


94. Proportion. — A piece of lettered work, no matter how 
artistic or elaborate it may be in itself, is not satisfactory if 
imjiroperly proportioned or balanced. The tendency in design- 

^ Permanent 



ing is to distribute the strength over the entire surface. If we 
keep in mind tbe law of art in a picture, it will help us in 
designing. The foreground should l;)e the strength of a picture, 


the middle distance should be the semistrength, while the distance 
should be indistinct. This is the key not only to successful 
designing, but also to satisfactory lettering. The top and bot- 
tom lines of the design shown in Fig. 56 are Roman ; the words 
"permanent" and "association" are styles of heavier face, 
while the strength of the inscription is centered in the two 
middle lines. The selection of the proper style of letters to suit 
each requirement should be carefully studied. A single word 
or line of letters can be made of any form or st3de, but as soon 
as another line is added the letterer is compelled to study their 
combinations, and to make their relation to each other har- 
monious to the eye and in proper proportion. In an inscrip- 



Fig. 57. 

tion of several words, the most important should be displayed 
in the most prominent style of letters, such as the Block or 
Egyptian, while the less important should be of smaller letters, 
and of such styles as one-stroke letter, or caps and lower case of 
the Roman or other styles. This rule does not interfere with 
the general effect produced in Fig. 56. If it should happen 
that the inscription cannot be made to conform to one rule in 
designing, it is best to change the design accordingly. In 
Fig. 57 is shown a design of an inscription in which the first 
and last words are most important, and from which eight 
words therefore could be taken, and still in effect, the principal 
feature of the whole inscription would remain "Brown's 
Shoes"; these words, therefore, should have the greatest 
prominence liy making them large and of a solid-stroke letter. 




95. Hietter Stencils. — The letterer is sometimes forced 
into competition with tlie printer, especially when handling a 
large order for advertising signs ; the method of hand work, 
therefore, must be laid aside for something that will have the 
effect of hand work, and still be accomplished with more 
rapidity, observing, at the same time, cleanliness and finish 
when the work is completed. The stencil pattern most effectu- 
ally fills this place, and is made to stencil either the letter or 
the background. The stencil for the former purpose is made by 
cutting out of paper or other material the greater portion of the 
letter, but allowing parts called "t/es" to remain, as these tie 
the inside of the letter and parts likely to curl uj) when in use. 
A second stencil is also required, which is laid over the work 
done by the first stencil when it has dried, thereby covering up 
the spaces left by the ties, and thus making a solid and com- 
plete letter. The same rule is observed in regard to the ' ' cut- 
ting-in" stencils, which are used to make the background, and 
leave the letters the original color of the surface on which the 
color is spread. Large ties are used for ' ' cutting-in ' ' stencils, 
reaching from the letter to the edge of the stencil or border. 
A second stencil, so cut as to overlap the edges of the ties, is 
also used, thereby completing the entire background, leaving 
the letter clear and distinct. 

96. Variegated Groiiiitls for Stenciled Ijetters. — The 

ground having been prepared and the inscription designed, 
the spaces occupied by each line of letters can be blended — a 
process known among letterers as variegated stenciling. This is 
accomplished by laying various colors on a ground, and blend- 
ing them together. As colors are too strong for this jiurpose, 
two or three delicate tints are used, and are laid on hori- 
zontally, and without regard to where the color is placed, 
except where the letters show. In all cases, the selection of 


the tints used to variegate the letters should be governed by the 
color to be used for the background, according to the rules of 
harmony and contrast. 


97. Paper. — The toughest medium-weight Manila paper 
should be used for stencils, oiled thoroughly with boiled linseed 
oil, and allowed to stand at least twenty-four hours before 
coating both side's thinly Avith orange shellac. If a light 
quality of fiber board is used, no preparation is necessary. A 
sheet of glass laid on a perfectly even table provides a surface 
on which the stencil can be cut with a good steel knife 
sharpened to a thin point. It is well to mark the ties with 
some bright color, to avoid cutting through them, as a single tie 
cut through destroys the whole stencil, and an imperfect stencil 
will cause more bother in its use than it is Avorth. It is best, 
therefore, never to use a patched or repaired stencil. 

98. Tin-Foil Stencils. — Tin-foil stencils for glass sign 
printing are designed and cut in the same Avay as the paper. 
A roller only is used in operating this stencil, Avhile either brush 
or roller can be used Avith the paper stencil. A large soft 
brush Avill produce better results than a stiff brush, and be less 
likely to destroy the pattern. In dipping the brush in color, 
great care should be used to rub it out Avell, so that but little 
remains before applying to the stencil. This is the secret of 
cleanliness in stenciling. 

99. Cutting Stencils. — Figs. 58 and 59 show one method 
of cutting stencils. First, Fig. 58 shows the stencil that makes 
the letter, allowing ties to remain where most strength is needed 
for the preservation of the stencil. This stencil being com- 
pleted, a small triangle is cut in each corner, shown at a, called 
the register, or guide, by Avhich the stencil can always be placed 
in proper position. This stencil is placed on material prepared 
for the No. 2 stencil, as shown in Fig. 59. Letters are either 
marked or stenciled with a brush, which should be almost free 
from color, so that the second stencil for the ties can be cut out. 



allowing enough lap to fully insure its covering the open space, 
as shown in Fig. 59. Register, or guide, marks are cut in this 
stencil also, though these marks are never used except where a 
border color is to be placed afterwards, and serve only for 

Fig. rs. 

Fig. 59. 

a second stencil. The edge or corner of a sign will, in most 
cases, serve as a guide in stenciling. Ties should always be cut 
so as to do away with jDoints or projections as well as to secure 
strength where n-^-eded. If these rules are not followed, serious 
difficulty will be experienced when using a stencil, and may 
necessitate the making of a new stencil before the first one has 
been made to fully serve its purpose. 

100. Backgroxincl Stencils 

To make stencils for back- 
grounds, everything is 
reversed from the first 
form. The letters must 
be covered, and all ties 
cut so as to keep these 
letters av h e r e they 
belong. If a border is 
required, we must treat 
it the same as a letter. 
The ties must be cut 

wider on border edge, 

^'''•^°- as they thereby give 

more strength where needed. In making this stencil it is 


better to have too many ties than leave one place weak. 
The general tendency is to leave one or more such places 
in this form of stencil. Fig. 60 shows two letters R, O, and 
the ties necessary for strength and protection. Fig. 61 shows 
the No. 2 stencil, or the one to be used to cover spaces left 
by the ties of No. 1 ; the j^arts to be cut out are represented by 
the shaded spaces. 

101. Sign Stenciling. — Stenciled signs are often relieved 
by a few touches of hand work, either in outlining the letters 
or by artistically using some bright coloring that produces the 
effect of study and labor. This is often accomj^lished by shading 
or ornamentation. For stencil work, a color must be used of a 
slow-drying nature, otherwise the stencil will soon become 
clogged and more liable to become broken. There is also 
danger of using color too thin, and thus causing it to flow 
underneath the edge of the letter, thereby destroying the 
cleanliness of the work. 

102. Cleaning Stencils. — The stencil must be cleaned 
often when in use. Not more than five or six signs should be 
stenciled before cleaning the stencil, which may be done by 

laying it face down on 

a clean board or other vr — —j V~^il V — \" ' ''! 'i | ||7 
surface and rubbing well V— i^M \ _ — |/ 

on back with a cloth L., 

rolled in ball shajje. I I 

The stencil must be j 

thoroughly cleaned with i i 

benzine after using, and r' ' ■ j 

never put away with / ■„ i ,,,n,,:,, | „ | ,uM; . 

any color remaining on lllllllllllilllllllillll 

it. This if neglected 

will either cause the 
stencil to break easily, or the color to flow underneath by the 
extra thickness of the dried color. Color left to dry on 
the stencil often warps it so as to render it practically useless, 
or cause the letterer much unnecessarv trouble. 

Fig. ni. 





103, Definition of Triangle. — A triangle is a closed 
figure having three angles and three straight sides. 

104. Isosceles Ti-iangles. — An isosceles triangle has 
two equal sides and two equal angles (Fig. 62). The length of 

Fig. 62. 

Fig. 63. 

the third side is usually different from that of the two equal 
sides, and is called the base. The term base is, however, 
applied without distinction to any side on which a triangle is 
supposed to stand. 

105. Altitixde. — Whatever side is taken as the base of a 
triangle, the altitude, or height, of the triangle is the perpen- 

FiG. 64. Fig. 65. 

dicular distance from the base to the vertex of the opposite 
angle. That vertex is also called the apex of the triangle. 

106. Angular Pediment. — AVhen the height of an 
isosceles triangle is short in comparison with the base, the 
triangle is called an angular pediment (Fig. 63). 

107. Gable. — A gable is an isosceles triangle whose equal 
sides differ but little from the third side (see Fig. 64). Gables, 
however, may also have the shape of Fig. 65. 


elp:ments of lettering. 


108. Equilateral Triangle. — An equilateral triangle 
lias three equal sides and three angles, as in Fig. 66, which is 
made up of equilateral triangles. 

109. llig-ht-Ang-lecl Triangle. — A right-angled triangle 

is one having one right angle 
(Fig. 67). The side ojiposite the 
right angle is the longest, and is 
called the Jujpotenuse. 

Fig. 66. 

Fig. 67. 

A triangle cannot have more than one right angle, nor more 
than one obtuse angle ; that is, if one of the angles is either 
right or obtuse, the others must be acute. 


110. Definition of Circle. — A circje is a closed figure, 
all the points of whose outline are at the same distance from a 
point Avithin called the center (Fig. 68). The term circle is 
applied both to the curved outline of the figure and to the 
space enclosed by it ; but the curved outline 
is more commonly called the circumference of ^^'^ 


the circle. 



Fig. 68 

111. Radius and Diameter. — The dis- 
tance from the center of a circle to any point 
on the circumference is called the radius of 
the circle. 

A line through the center of a circle, and having its ends 
on the circumference, is called a diameter. In Fig. 69, is the 
center of the circle, OB, D, A, and C are radii, A B and 
CD are diameters. 




Every diameter is equal to two radii, and divides the circle 
into two equal parts, or semicircles, and the circumference into 
two semi-circumferences. 

Two diameters, perpendicular to each other as A B and CD, 
divide the circumference into four equal parts called quadrants. 

112, A Curve. — A curved line, or a curve, is a line no 
part of which is straight ; it may be 
imagined to be formed by the bending 
of a straight line. Any portion of a 
curve is called an arc. 

113. A Circular Arc. — A circular 
arc is any part of a circumference. 
Circular arcs having the same center, 
Init different radii, are called parallel arcs. 
They are inside one another. They are 
also called concentric^ wliich means "with the same center." 


114. All Ogee. — An ogee is a line curved in two ways, 
having, approximately, the form of the letter S, either in its 

Fig. 70. 

Fig. 71, 

natural position, as in Fig. 70, or turned over, as in Fig. 71. 
The two parts of an ogee may be circular arcs, but arcs of other 

curves give a better effect, 
and is called a swell line. 

Fig. 74. 

Fig. 72 is made up of two ogees, 


115. A Scroll. — A scroll is a winding curve, such as 

shown in Fig. 73. 

IIG. A i/oop. — A loop (Fig. 74) consists of two curves 
similar to the corresponding parts of right and left scrolls, 
connected as shown. 


IIT. Methods of Describing an Ellipse. — There are 
many ways of making or describing an ellipse, some of which 
are quite complicated. For designing purposes, exclusive of 
architectural work, a knowledge of two or three methods will 
serve every purpose, and fill the needs of the average letterer 
and designer. The simplest method is by means of two tacks 
and a string ; or, if needed for landscape gardening or other 
large-proportioned work, use hemp cord and nails or pegs. 
Draw a horizontal line, and intersect equally with a vertical 
line ; point off on the horizontal line the length of ellipse 
desired ; divide the horizontal line, from this point to the verti- 
cal line, into four equal parts, and place the tack on the third 
point from the vertical on 
either side ; place the other 
tack also in a corresponding 
position opposite ; place a 
string arovmd both tacks, 
and tie the ends together 
at the point farthest from 
the vertical on the hori- 
zontal line ; place lead pencil 
inside and follow around, 
and we have a perfect ellipse 

^ ^ . Fig. 75. 

as a result, as shown in 

Fig. 75. By moving the tacks farther away from the vertical 

line, the ellipse is elongated, if the same string he used. 

118. To draw the ellipse shown in Fig. 76, construct two 
squares, and draw lines from the corners intersecting in the cen- 
ter of each square ; from this point of intersection, describe the 




Fig. 7G. 

arcs, with compass from a to b ; from the points c, describe 
upper and lower hnes from a to a and b to b. 

119. Another simple form of the ellipse is made by 

descril:)ing two circles, which 
together form the length 
of the ellipse, and drawing 
a horizontal line through 
the centers of both circles, 
as in Fig. 77 ; each semi- 
circle is then divided into 
three equal i^arts, as at 
a, a, a, a, and a line is 
drawn from each through 
the center of each circle, 
meeting at the point b ; from this point describe the curve 
from a to a, top and bot- 
tom, and the resulting 
figure will be an apj^roxi- 
mate ellipse. The ellipse 
is sometimes spoken of as 
an oval. This word, how- 
ever, is a misnomer, as the 
oval derives its name from 
the Latin ovum, meaning 
"an egg," and its shape 
is the outline of an egg. 
Never refer to the oval there- 
fore as an egg-shaped oval, 
for the statement would be equivalent to speaking of a 
round circle. 

modificatio:ns of the fuxdame:ntal 

120. The various styles of alphabet included in this course 
are known as the fundamental styles, from which arise other 
styles that, though they resemble the above somewhat, have so 
little characteristic modification that they are scarcely worth 
our present consideration. Moreover, these alphabets are of 


little advantage to the student, but to avoid the danger of con- 
fusion, we will briefly refer to a few of the principal varieties. 

121. Ijatin Roman.— The characteristic feature of the 
original Latin Roman alphabet was its irregularit}', which is 
plainly shown on the Arch of Titus, Fig. 1. No space is 
allowed between the words, the separation being implied by a 
dot on a line with the center of the letter. The tail of the R 
and the Q often projects the full width of the letter. The 
letter V was also employed to express the sound of U, but its 
modern use in that capacity by some designers is erroneous. 
The other sound of this character in Latin resembles that of 
our W, having somewhat the sound of the V instead of the 
LT. Hence, the origin of the W, which is not derived from 
L^ but from V, and originally written VV, expressed by two 
separate characters. 

122. Ancient Roman. — The Ancient Roman is the 
prototype of our present French Roman, but in many ways is 
so departed from in modern practice that some of the modified 
forms of letters have become more familiar than the originals. 

A H 

(a) 0>> 

Fig. 78. 

This can 1)6 readily seen in the letter A, Fig. 78, Avhere (a) is 
the original form and (h) the modification. 

123. Antique Egyptian. — There are several forms of 
each letter of the Antique Egyptian, which if seen by the 
student in connection with the regular or normal letter would 
tend to confuse him, or at least cause him to inquire why 
he should observe any system or regularity of form. The law 
of uniformity is, in lettering, what the order is in architecture ; 
each must be closely followed, or to the skilled eye the work is 
sul^ject to criticism. These styles, therefore, must not be con- 
fused. If one form is adopted there must be strict adherence 



to that form throughout the lettering of the design. This may 
be more clearly shown by two or three of these forms of the 
capital letters and their corresponding lower case. When 

the slanting stroke is 

^\ I ^\ ^^ /^STl ^^^^'^ "^ ^^^*^^ letters as 

/ M ^^ f A Vj I H, M, N, and V, it also 

^ ^ ^^^1- ^^1- '^. V occurs in many of the 

^i°- ■'9- lower-case letters, as a, d, 

h, m, n, and u, as the letters N, a, d, in Fig. 79, will show. 
The letter o is sometimes used in this style, as here shown, 
and the letter t is crossed above the line. 

124. Otlier Forins of Antique Egyptian. — ^ Another 
form of the Antique Egyptian style is shown in the curved 
stroke, in jilace of the horizontal middle stroke, of many capital 

Fig. so. 

Fig. 81. 

and lower-case letters, as in the E and t in Fig. 80; while a 
change in the spur of the horizontal strokes changes the charac- 
ter of the entire letter, as shown in the letters L and T, Fig. 8L 
There are many other slight departures 
from the normal style, one of which occurs 
in the middle bar of the A and H, as 
shown in Fig. 82. 

There is still another form of letter that 
belongs to the Plain Egyptian style. This 
form is simple in its construction, and does 
not bear sufficient distinction to classify it 
with the fundamental styles ; but in one respect, this form of 
letter is closely alhed to the French Roman, and the similarity 
is shown in its having the heavy and light line, as shown 
in Fig. 83. 


A few letters of this style are therefore shown to give the 
student an idea of the comparative width of the stroke and 
fine line. The latter should not exceed ^ that of the stroke. 
There is almost unlimited license granted in forming these 


Fig. 83. 

letters, as shown in the two letters T and E. In making 
these letters never j^lace a spur on any part of the letter, as this 
at once throws the characteristic feature of the style in favor of 
the French Roman ; and to widen the fine line to nearl}^ that 
of the stroke brings it within classification limits of the 
Egyptian. Never show a suggestion of a straight line on 
the inside of the round letters, but always make a perfect ellipse 
or a symmetrical curve. This letter holds an important place 
with our modern designers, but a knowledge of the Egyptian 
and French Roman only is necessary to produce this modifi- 
cation. This is likewise true of all letters used. By a thorough 
knowledge of the few fundamental styles, the student can readily 
trace all variations arising from these to their parent style. 

125. Boston Roman. — The Boston Roman has a slight 
variation from the normal form shown in 
Plate 14 Avhich occurs in the spur only, 
but Avhich gives it a marked difference in 
appearance from the regular style. The 
spur, instead of being finished on the end, 
as shown in Plate entitled Boston Roman, 

is cut off on an angle of about 45°, as shown in Fig. 84. 

126. Antique Half Block. — A third style, known as the 
Antique Half Block, has two or three varieties. Such of 
the capitals, as Avell as the small letters, as possess a middle 
stroke have this stroke changed to an angle of 60°. In one 



variety the short strokes of the lower-case letters are cut on the 
same angle as the middle stroke, as phown in Fig. -So, the angle 

Peas Fear 

Fig. 85. 

Fig. 86. 

of the s being directly opposite. Another variety of this letter 
is the same as Fig. 85, except that the short strokes are altered 
in appearance, and arc finished with a fine line and a dot, as 


Fig. S7. 

shown in Fig. 86. This form of letter can be spaced more 
closely than the regular style used in condensed spaces, and 
the variety shown in Fig. 87 recjuires even less space than either 




Fig. 81 


of the others ; and, as the corners are not cut off, tlie letter 
possesses a square, compact appearance, somewhat relieved of 
severity by the finishing of the corners with a slight spur. The 




same rule of formation applies to capitals as Avell as to lower- 
case letters, except the middle bars of E and F, which are 
always horizontal. 

127. French Roman. — The French Roman is also in 
turn slightly changed, giving rise to several distinct varieties, as 
shown in Fig. 88. In the letter E, shown at (a), the only 
difference from the Ancient Roman style 
is the spur that projects at a right angle 
from the horizontal lines top and bottom. 
In the letter shown at (b) the spurs 
are the same as at (a), except those of 
the main upright strokes, which are 
finished with a flat end. The round 
letter of this style is shown at (c). 

128. The Flemish.— The Flemish 
or Dutch, so closely resembling the Ger- 
man Text, is another style that will not 
be considered in this course. The characteristic feature of this 
alphabet is the diamond, dot, and plain vertical stroke and fine 
line, as shown in Fig. 89, its other features being practically the 
same as the German style. In the lower-case very little change 

Fig. 89. 

Fig. 90.- 

occurs except the ball, which is added to many of the long- 
stroke letters, as shown in the figure. 

129. Variations. — There are so many styles of letters, 
arising from some simple idea, that any student of lettering may 
apply to a fundamental style ; and such ideas are so numerous, 
that it will be impossible to call attention to more than one or 
two of these in conclusion. 




The curved stroke is one such style, and is shown by the 
letters D, R, U, G, in Fie;. 90. Another of these styles is pro- 


Fig. 91. 
duced l^y curving the spur and horizontal strokes forming the 
block letters, especially the full block, as shown in Fig. 9L 

Note. — The modifications considcnd in the foregoing pages of this Instruc- 
tion Paper refer to fundamental sttjli^, iiKt n ij of which the student will not have 
occasion to refer to, or mahe comparisons with until well advanced in his 
course, we woidd advise, therefore, that a study of these variations be deferred 
until the plates mentioned in this connection hare been received, and the funda- 
mental styles hare become familiar to the student. 

mecha:nical lettering. 

130. When instruments such as the T square, triangles, 
compasses, etc. are used to execute lettering, it is called 
mechanical lettering, as distinguished from freehand lettering, 


Fig. 92. 

which is executed with the pen or brush, unaided by anything 
except the judgment of the eye. 




131. All the instruments and materials required for this 
course in lettering are mentioned in the following descriptions : 

The dra^ving "board should be made of well-seasoned 
straight-grained inne, the grain running lengthwise. For this 
course, the student Avill need a board of about the following 
dimensions : length over all, 21 inches ; width, 16 inches ; the 
thickness may be made about -i inch. There should be two 
end-pieces If inches wide, as shown in Fig. 92, which are fast- 
ened to the board proper by means of nails or screws. One or 
both of these pieces should be perfectly straight. 

Fig. 93. 

A better board is shown in Fig. 93 ; here the end-pieces are 
fastened to the board by a glued matched joint in addition to 
the nails or screws, and there are two cleats on the bottom 
1 inch by ^ inch, extending the whole width of the board. 
The cleats raise the board from the table and make it easier to 
change in position. The board is placed so that a straight end- 
piece is at the left of the draftsman, as shown in Fig. 93. 

132. The T square is used for drawing horizontal straight 
lines. The head A is placed against the left-hand edge of the 




board, as shown in Fig. 94. The upper edge G of the blade B 
is brought very near to the point through which it is desired to 
pass the hne, so that the straight edge C of the blade may be 



Fig. 94. 

used as a guide for the pen or pencil. It is evident that all 
lines drawn in this manner Avill be parallel. 

Vertical lines are drawn by means of triangles. The triangles 
most generally used are shown in Figs. 95 and 96. Each has 
one right angle, marked 90° in the figures. Fig. 95 has two 

Fiu. 95. 

angles of 45° each, and Fig. 96 one of 60° and one of 30°. 
They are called 4-5° and 60° triangles, respectively. To draw a 
vertical line, place the T square in position to draw a horizontal 
line, and lay the triangle against it, so as to form a right angle. 



Hold both T square and triangle lightly with the left hand, so 

as to keep them from slipping, and draw the line with the pen 

or pencil held in the right hand, and against the edge of the 

triangle. Fig. 97 shows the 

& It • IlltJilo ojll 

triangles and T square m "' '' 


133. For drawing par- 
allel lines that are neither 
vertical nor horizontal, the 
simplest and best way, 
when the lines are near 
together, is to place one 
edge of a triangle, as ah, 
Fig. 98, on the given line cd, and lay the other triangle, as B, 
against one of the two edges, holding it fast with the left hand ; 
then move the triangle A along the edge of B. The edge a b will 
be parallel to the line cd ; and when the edge ab reaches the 
point g, through which it is desired to draw the parallel line, 
hold both triangles stationary with the left hand, and draw the 
line cf by passing the pencil along the edge ab. Should 

Fig. 98. 

the triangle A extend too far beyond the edge of the triangle B 
after a number of lines have been drawn, hold vl stationary with 
the left hand and shift B along the edge of A with the right 
hand, and then proceed as before. 




134. A line may be drawn at right angles to another line 
which is neither vertical nor horizontal, as illustrated in Fig. 99. 
Let cd be the given line (shown at the left-hand side). Place 
one of the shorter edges, as ab, of the triangle B so that it will 
coincide Avith the line cd; then, keeping the triangle in this 
position, place the triangle A so that its long edge will come 
against the long edge of B. Now, holding A securely in place 
with the left hand, slide B along the edge of A with the right 
hand, when the lines h i, m n, etc. may be drawn perpendicular 
to cd along the edge bf of the triangle B. The dotted lines 

Fig. 99. 

show the position of the triangle B when moved along the 
edge of ^4. 

135. The right-hand portion of Fig. 99 shows another 
method of accomplishing the same result, and illustrates how 
the triangles may be used for drawing a rectangular figure, 
when the sides of the figure make an angle with the T square 
such that the latter cannot be used. 

Let the side cd of the figure be given. Place the long side of 
the triangle B so as to coincide with the line cd, and bring the 
triangle A into position against the lower side of B, as shown. 
Now, holding the triangle A in place with the left hand, revolve 
B so that its other short edge will rest against the long edge A, 




as shoAvu in the dotted i30sition at B'. The parallel lines ce 
and (If may now be drawn through the points c and d by sliding 
the triangle B on the triangle A, as described in connection 
with Fig. 98. Measure off the required width of the figure on 
the line ce, reverse the triangle B again to its original position, 
still holding the triangle A in a fixed position with the left 
hand, and slide B upon A until the long edge of B passes 
through e. Draw the line ef through the point e, and ef will 
be parallel to cd. The student should practice with his 
triangles before beginning drawing. 

136. The comijasses, next to the T square and triangles, 
arc used more than any other 
instrument. A pencil and a pen 
point are provided, as shown in 
Fig. 100, either of which may be 
inserted into a socket in one leg 
of the instrument, for the draw- 
ing of circles in pencil or ink. 
The other leg is fitted with a 
needle point, which acts as the 
center al:)Out which the circle is 
drawn. In all good instruments, 
the needle point itself is a sepa- 
rate piece of round steel wire, 
held in place in a socket pro- 
vided at the end of the leg. 
The wire should have a square 
shoulder at its lower end, below 
which a fine, needle-like point 
projects. The lengthening bar, also 
shown in the figure, is used to 
extend the leg carrying the pen 
and the pencil points when circles 
of large radii are to be drawn. 

The joint at the top of the compasses should hold tlie legs 
firmly in any position, and at the same time should permit their 
being opened, or closed with one hand. The joint may be 




tightened or loosened by means of a screwdriver or wrench, 
which accompanies the compasses. 

It will be noticed in Fig. 100 that each leg of the compasses 
is jointed ; this is done so that the compass points may always 
be kept perpendicular to the paper when drawing circles, as in . 
Fig. 102. 

137. The following suggestions for handling the compasses 
should be carefully observed by those that are beginning the 
subject of drawing. Any draftsman or letterer that handles 
his instruments awkwardly will create a bad impression, no 

Fig. 101. 

matter how good a workman he may be. The tendency of all 
beginners is to use both hands for operating the compasses. 
This is to be avoided. The student should learn at the start to 
open and close them with one hand, holding them as shown in 
Fig. 101, with the needle-point leg resting between the thumb 
and the fourth finger, and the other leg between the middle 
finger and the forefinger. When drawing circles, hold the 
compasses lightly at the top between the thumb and forefinger, 
or thumb, forefinger, and middle finger, as in Fig. 102. Another 
case where both hands should not be used is in locating the 
needle point at a point on the drawing about which the circle is 
to be drawn, unless the left hand is used merely to steady the 
needle point. Hold the compasses as shown in Fig. 101, and 




incline them until the under side of the hand rests upon the 
paper. This will steady the hand so that the needle point can 
be brought to exactly the right place on the drawing. Having 
jilaced the needle at the desired point, and with it still resting 
on the paper, the pen or pencil point may be moved out or in 
to any desired radius, as indicated in Fig. lOL When the 
lengthening bar is used, both hands must be employed. 

138. The compasses must be handled in such a manner 
that the needle point will not dig large holes in the paper. 

Fig". 102. 

Keep the needle point adjusted so that it will be perpendicular 
to the paper, when drawing circles, and do not bear upon it. A 
slight pressure will be necessary on the pen or pencil point, hut 
not on the needle lioint. 

139. The dividers, shown in Fig. 103, are used for laying 
off distances upon a drawing, or for dividing straight lines or 
circles into parts. The points of the dividers should be very 
sharp, so that they will not punch holes in the paper larger 


than is absolutely necessary to be seen. Compasses are some- 
times furnished with two steel divider points, besides the pen 
and pencil points, so that the instrument may be used either as 
compasses or dividers. This is the kind illustrated in Fig. 103. 
When using the dividers to space a line or circle into a number 
of equal parts, hold them at the top between the thumb and the 
forefinger, as when using the compasses, and step off the spaces, 
turning the instrument alternately to the right and left. If the 
line or circle does not space exactly, vary the distance between 
the divider points and try again ; so continue until it is spaced 
equally. When spacing in tliis manner, great care must be 
exercii-ed not to press the divider points into the paper ; for, if 

Fk.. 103. 

the points enter the paper, the spacing can never be accurately 
done. The student should satisfy himself of the truth of this 
statement by actual trial. 

140. Drawing Paper and Pencils. — The drawing 
paper required for this series of lessons is Whatman's hot- 
pressed ^ Royal, the size of which is 12 in. X 19 in. It takes ink 
well, and withstands considerable erasing. The paper is 
secured to the drawing board by means of thumbtacks. Four 
are usually sufficient — one at each corner of the sheet. Place a 
piece of paper on the drawing .board, and press a thumbtack 
through one of the corners about ^ or f of an inch from each 
edge. Place the T square in position for drawing a horizontal 
line, as before explained, and straighten the paper so that its 
upper edge wall be parallel to the edge of the T-square blade. 
Pull the corner diagonally opposite that in which the thumb- 
tack was placed, so as to stretch the paper shghtly, and push in 
another thumbtack. Do the same with the remaining two 
corners. For drawing in pencil, a Dixon's Artists' H pencil, 
No. 217 (commonly called a No. 4 Dixon's Artists') may hv. 




used. The pencil should be sharpened to a medium point. 
Cut the wood away so as to leave about J or f of an inch of the 
lead projecting ; then finish the point by rubbing it against a 
fine file or a piece of fine emery cloth or sandpaper that has 
been fastened to a flat stick. The lead for the compasses should 
be sharpened to a flat or chisel-shaped point. Be sure that the 

compass lead is so secured that, tvhcn circles are struck in either 
direction, but one line will he draivn with the same radius and center. 

141. Inking-. — For draAving ink lines other than arcs of 
circles, the x-nling- pen (or right-line pen, as it is sometimes 
called) is used. It should be held as nearly perpendicular to 
the board as possible, Avith the hand in the position shown in 
Figs. 104 and 105, bearing lightly on the T square or triangle, 
against the edge of which the line is drawn. After a little 
practice, this position will become natural, and no difficulty 
will be experienced. 

142. The beginner will find that it is not always easy to 
make smooth lines. If the pen is held so that only one blade 
bears on the paper when drawing, the line will almost invariably 




be ragged on the edge where the blade does not bear. When 
held at right angles to the paper, as in Fig. 105, however, 
both blades will rest on the paper, and if the pen is in good con- 
dition, smooth lines will result. The pen must not be pressed 
against the edge of the T square or triangle, as the blades will 
then close together, making the line uneven. The edge should 
serve simply as a guide. 

In drawing circles with the compass pen, the same care 
should be taken to keep the blades perpendicular to the paper 

Fig. 105. 

by means of the adjustment at the joint. In botli the ruling 
pen and tlie compass pen, the width of tlie lines can be altered 
by means of the screw which holds the blades together. 

143. Drawing- Ink. — The ink used should be Higgins' 
waterproof liquid India ink. A quill is attached to the cork of 
every bottle of this ink, by means of Avhich the pen may be 
filled. Dip the quill into the ink, and then pass the end of it 
between the blades of the drawing pen. Do not put too much 
ink in the pen, not more than enough to fill it for a quarter of 
an inch along the blades, otherwise the ink is lia1)le to drop. 
Many draftsmen prefer to use stick India ink ; and, for lettering 


purposes, this is to be preferred to the prepared liquid ink 
recommended above. In case the stick ink is bought, put 
enough water in a shallow dish (a common individual butter 
plate will do) to make enough ink for the drawing ; then place 
one end of the stick in the water, and grind by giving the stick 
a circular motion. Do not bear hard upon the stick. Test the 
ink occasionally to see if it is black. Draw a fine line with the 
pen, and hold the paper in a strong light. If it shows brown 
(or gra}^), grind a while longer, and test again. Keep grinding 
until a fine line shows hiaclx., which will usually take from 
fifteen minutes to half an hour, depending on the quantity of 
water used. The ink should always be kept well covered with a 
flat plate of some kind, to keep out the dust and prevent evapo- 
ration. The drawing pen may be filled by dipping an ordinary 
writing pen into the ink and drawing it through the blades, as 
previously described when using the quill. If Higgins' ink is 
used, all the lines on all the drawings will be of the same color, 
and no time will be lost in grinding. If stick ink is used, it is 
poor economy to buy a cheap stick. A small stick of the best 
quality, costing, say, a dollar, will last as long, perhaps, as five 
dollars' worth of liquid ink. The only reason for using liquid 
ink is that all lines are then sure to be of equal blackness, and 
time is saved in grinding. 

Trouble will probably be caused by the ink drying between 
the blades and refusing to flow, especially when drawing fine 
lines. The only remedy is to wipe out the pen frequently with 
a wet cloth. Do not lay the pen down for any great length of 
time, when it contains ink ; wipe it out first. The ink may 
sometimes be started by moistening the end of the finger and 
touching it to the point, or by drawing a slip of paper between 
the ends of the blade. Always keep the bottle corked. 

144. To Sharpen the Drawing Pen. — When the 
ruling, or compass, pen becomes badly worn, it must be sharp- 
ened. For this purpose a fine oilstone should be used. If an 
oilstone is to be purchased, a small, flat, close-grained stone 
should be obtained, those having a triangular section being 
preferable, as the narrow edge can be used on the inside of the 


blades in case the latter are not made to swing apart so as to 
permit the use of a thicker edge. 

The first step in sharpening is to screw the blades together, 
and, holding the pen perpendicular to the oilstone, to draw it 
back and forth over the stone, changing the slope of the pen 
from downward and to the right to downward and to the left 
for each movement of the pen to the right and left. The object 
of this is to bring the blades to exactly the same length and 
shape, and to round them nicely at the point. 

This process, of course, makes the edges even duller than 
before. To sharpen, separate the points by means of the screw, 
and rub one of the blades to and from the operator in a straight 
line, giving the pen a slight twisting motion at the same time, 
and holding it at an angle of about 15° with the face of the 
stone. Repeat the process for the other blade. To be in good 
condition the edges should be fairly sharp and smooth, but not 
sharp enough to cut the paper. All the sharpening must be done 
on the outside of the blades. The inside of the blades should be 
rubbed on the stone only enough to remove any burr that may 
have been formed. Anything more than this will be likely to 
injure the pen. The whole operation must be done very 
carefully, bearing on lightly, as it is easy to spoil a pen in the 
process. Examine the points frequently, and keep at work 
until the pen Avill draw both fine lines and smooth heavy lines. 


145. For the letter plates of this Course, copies of the 
plates will be sent you as j'ou need them. The tube we send 
you with this Paper should be used by you for sending us your 
drawing of Plate I upon finishing it. Send one plate to us at 
a time. Thus, after you finish the first plate, send it to us, and 
then start on the second plate. In the meantime Ave will 
return the first plate to you. On your receiving back the first 
plate from us, you should carefully note all corrections and 
suggestions that may he sent with it, and observe them when 
drawing the succeeding plates. On no account send us the 
second plate until you have received the first one back. L^pon 


finishing the second plate, send this to lis and start on the third 
plate, and in the meantime we will return the second plate to 
you. Do this with all the drawing plates in the Course. 

It is very essential that you strictly comply with these direc- 
tions ; since, otherwise, it will be impossible for us to point out 
your mistakes to j^ou. This procedure should be strictly adhered 
to while you are drawing the first plates of the Course — it will 
enable you to make rapid progress. Do not be discouraged if 
there are a large number of corrections on your early plates ; 
we are merely pointing out ways in which the drawing or letter- 
ing can be improved, so that j^our later plates may be as nearly 
perfect as they can be made. No one can attain proficiency 
unless the work is criticized, and we are doing our best to help 
you to succeed. We should not be doing our duty if we did 
not point out the defects. The number of corrections is no 
indication of our appreciation of the merits of the drawing. 

On all plates that you send to us, write your name and 
address in full in lead pencil on the back of the plates. This 
should in no case be omitted, as delays in the return of your 
work will otherwise surely occur. 


146. Preliminary Directions. — The size of each plate 
over all will be 1\\ in. X 18;^ in. Whenever any dimensions are 
specified, they should be laid off as accurately as possible. All 
drawings should be made as neat as possible, and the penciling 
entirely finished l)efore inking in any part of it. The hands 
should be perfectly clean, and should not touch the paper 
except when necessary. No lines should be erased except 
when absolutely necessary ; for, whenever a line has once been 
erased, the dirt flying around in the air and constantly falling 
on the drawing will stick to any spot where an erasure has 
been made, and render it very difficult, if not impossible, to 
entirely remove it. For this reason, all construction lines that 
are to be removed, or that are liable to be changed, should be 
drawn lightly, that the finish of the paper may not be destroyed 
when erasing them, 



Sign Painting. 

Lettering and Sign Painting. 


1. Scope of Subject.— Sign painting does not consist 
merely of painting letters on sign boards or windows, but 
includes all classes of work, from the plain black lettering on 
the glass of an office door to the most artistic pictorial designs 
used on banners and other elaborate gold and silver signs. 
The sign painter must also be prepared to execute all manner 
of designs for the carver and stone cutter, and even portraiture 
enters into his industr}' for such purposes as campaign and 
society banners. 

2. Qualiflcatious Necessary. — The sign painter should 
be a master of the art of designing, for, as we have already 
stated, under this head is embraced a general knowledge of all 
that is considered artistic. He should be thoroughly familiar 
with the use of colors, having due regard for their harmony and 
contrast, and also the many effects that can be produced by 
their unlimited combinations ; he should also be familiar with 
the result of applying one color over another, when one has 
been prepared so as to dry slowly, and the other prepared to 
dry quickly and with the results produced by the varied 
preparation of the priming, groundwork, and finishing coats, 
the mixing of colors for certain backgrounds, or the treatment 
of the material on which he is to letter. These and a great 
many other subjects, which constantly arise, must be met and 
fully understood, to fulfil the demands made on the successful 
and up-to-date sign painter. 

3. Experience and Tlieory. — While theoretical knowl- 
edge is the basis of all proficiency in the arts, yet much remains 
to be learned from experience. The physician is graduated 
from his college with a full knowledge of his profession, but his 



year or two of hospital service is incumbent on him before he 
is fully qualified to engage in private practice. We have 
therefore given in the Elements of Lettering the knowledge 
necessary to qualify the student that desires to become a 
practical letterer. But the instruction contained in the follow- 
ing pages is of such a practical nature as to advance him in 
lettering ; so that he may enter the sign shop beyond the year 
or two of servitude required, and, by a complete knowledge of 
the methods and formulas employed, be fitted to become at 
once of practical assistance to his employer. 


4. Brush AVork. — It is necessary that the student 
desiring to apply his knowledge of lettering especially to sign 
painting should become accustomed to the use of the brush 
and paint, by confining his practice to these materials as much 
as possible. It is only by constant practice that the hand 
becomes skilled in the use of the brush in forming straight 
lines and curves with accuracy, in order to give to each letter 
its proportionate Avidth and uniform stroke. 

5. Brushes Required. — The brushes for practice work 
should be as follows : the small brush, capable of making a 
letter from 3 to 6 inches in height, having a quill y^^- inch in 
diameter, and hair f inch long ; and the large brush, with a 
quill I" inch in diameter, and hair ^ inch long. Cut off ^ 
length of quill, after softening in warm water to prevent it from 
splitting. This will allow the handle (which must be carefully 
fitted in quill) to turn freely in the fingers without touching 
the quill with the ends of the fingers, which Avould, on account 
of the imperfect quill, roll unevenly in the fingers and thus 
destroy a perfect line or curve. The brush should be cleaned 
in turpentine before, as well as after, using ; and, to prevent 
it from drying or hardening when not in use, it should be 
dipped in kerosene oil after cleaning. 

6. Card Black. — -The color known among letterers as 
card black will be found to be a good preparation for practice 


work. This color flows freely from the brush, is an intense 
black, and dries with a glossy surface a few moments after 
the application. It may be prepared by the student as follows : 
Use a vessel that will hold at least ^ pint ; in this put coach 
black (ground in japan), in bulk, equal to a large English 
walnut ; add three times this quantity of best asphaltum, 
also about a tablespoonful of best coach japan. Stir until 
thoroughly mixed, and thin this with a small quantity of 
turj^entine until it becomes equal to the consistency of cream, 
or so that it will flow freely from the brush. Put this mixture 
in a large-neck bottle with screw-cap or cork top. This should 
always be well shaken before it is used. Another preparation 
known as " Letterine" is also an excellent mixture. 

7. Papei*. — The light Manila paper, white cardboard, or 
the ordinary white flat papers will serve the purpose for 
practice work. With the exception of cardboard, these should 
be securely fastened to the drafting table before beginning 
to practice. 


TOOLS :n"ecessary. 


8. Principal Tools ISfecessary. — The principal tools 
necessary for sign painting and lettering are the T square, 
boxwood square, the compass with pencil attachment, straight- 
edge, yardstick, 30° and 45° triangles, easel, and drafting table. 
With these tools, one is prepared to letter all ordinary signs 
that may be executed within the shop ; while those on the 
sides of buildings, too high to be reached with an ordinary 
ladder, require the use of a swing scaffold, tackle blocks, and 
ropes. Trestle horses and plank are also used for work above 
the reach of the step-ladder. The T square with swivel top and 
thumbscrew can be adjusted to any angle, and will be found a 
very useful tool. Three compasses, at least, should be used ; 


the largest (the wood compass) should be capable of an expan- 
sion of 3 feet. The sign easel should be made of extra-heavy 
material, as the weight put Upon it is sometimes very heavy. 
The drafting table should be constructed high enough to avoid 
the necessity of the letterer getting into a stooping position 
when working. This table should be built 3 feet 2 inches high 
in front, and with the view of the letterer always standing up 
while working on it. For close work, which can be done as 
well, or better, while sitting, a lower table should be used, 
adjusted accordingly ; in either case the incline should not 
exceed 6 inches rise in 20 inches width. 

9. Improvised Appliances. — There are many tools and 
contrivances used in a sign shop that an inventive brain can 
always improvise, such as the arm rest, which is a strip about 
3 inches wide by 1 inch thick, with blocks underneath each 
end, thick enough to raise this rest above the sign on which the 
letterer is working ; the adjustable frame, on which cloth signs 
are stretched while being lettered, which is a frame usually 
fastened at each corner by setscrews ; the glass sign racks, used 
to hold glass signs and insure their safety during the process 
of lettering ; or the adjustable frame used to hold finished 
work, etc. The ordinary tools necessary in a sign shop, such 
as palette knives, palettes, etc. , are too well understood to need 
any description. A solid table, with a firm, level top, about 
18 in. X 24 in., covered with plate glass, will be found very 
useful in mixing colors ; if made light and portable, this can 
be used conveniently by placing it beside the work on which 
the letterer may be engaged. 


10. Caniel's-Haii* Bi'uslies. — We will first consider the 
brushes to be used for lettering. Of those used exclusively for 
this purpose, the most connnon variety is the ordinary camel' s- 
hair brush. These are the least expensive, and range in size 
from the 5-inch, known as No. 7, to the "swan quill," which is 
the most stocky quill brush in use for lettering. The "goose 


qnills" are made in four sizes, Nos. 7, 5, 3, 1. No. 1 is a l-inch 
(|uill v.'ith hair 1^ inches long. 

11. Ox-Hair "Writers. — The "ox-hair writers" are 
similar to the camel's hair in size and numbers, but are harder 
to "breik in," or bring into perfect working order, and are 
used to best advantage in heavy color, such as white lead. 

12. Superfine Bro'wn-Sable Writers. — The "superfine 
brown sable writers ' ' are also of four sizes. Their numbers are 
1, 4, 6, 8, and their lengths correspond with the camel' s-hair 
brushes. These will be found excellent brushes, and when 
thoroughly broken in will give good service ; while the camel's 
hair are unreliable in lasting equality, but serve the purpose 
where the brown sable are of no use. This is especially true 
when used for lettering on japanned tins, ■ glass, or other 
smooth surfaces. 

13. Retl-Sable Bruslies. — For lettering in water colors 
as well as oil, the long-handled red-sable brushes are preferable. 
These range in sizes numbered from 1 to 12, successively. The 
hair of No. 1 is ^ inch long, while that of No. 12 is -fg- inch 
long. These brushes are well made, and generally give satis- 
faction. The flat red-sable brushes are chisel-shaped, and for 
use in making a letter, such as the Old English, will be found 
of great advantage. 

14. Swan Quill. — The swan quill (camel's hair) referred 
to, will be found invaluable, both in lettering and striping, on 
account of the great amount of color it can be made to retain. 
These brushes are used with light flowing color only, and to use 
them in any color made with white lead would ruin them at 
once. They are made especially for sign painters, in two sizes, 
f inch and 1 inch long, and one size made for carriage stripers 
is 2 inches long. 

15. Other Bruslies. — The fitch and bristle varnish 
brushes are used for lettering on cloth signs, and other large 
letters ; and, on account of their size and chisel shape, can be 
used with great rapidity, and will give the work an appearance 
of neatness and cleanliness. The only other brushes used by 


the sign painter are the pound brush, which is necessary to coat 
sign boards or other plain surfaces ; the round and flat sash 
tools ; the fitch, or fiat bristle brush ; and the flat hearh-hair 
brush (made exclusively for varnishing purposes). These 
constitute all the brushes required for sign painting and letter- 
ing, except the round duster, the several varieties of gilding 
brushes, blenders, stipplers, etc. 


16. On all signs having either a square top or bottom, the 
T square can be used, not only for marking out the letters, but 
also for guiding the hand in using the brush, though to accom- 
plish this perfectly requires much practice. It will be advisable, 
therefore, that the student take pains to acquire this method, 
and become accustomed to the position of the hand, and the 
manner in which the brush should be held. Fig. 1 shows this 
position. The brush is held between the thumb and the first 
finger, the handle pointing towards the letterer, allowing the 
three fingers to guide the hand along the edge of the T-square 
blade. The left hand is used to secure the square in position, 
either by holding it firmly at the head when working on a 
narrow sign, or at the end of the blade when working on 
a wide sign, which will prevent the square from slipping if the 
forefinger is rested against the bottom of the sign board as 
shown. By the use of the T square and this method of striping, 
the letterer can draw all vertical and angle lines, having first, 
by the same method, striped all horizontal lines, using a 
straightedge for this purpose instead of the T square, but main- 
taining the same position of the hand and brush. The block, 
half- block, and all straight-line letters of any style can be made 
with great rapidity in this manner. 


17. The left hand should rest in an easy position, project- 
ing the little finger, to steady it ; this also gives a greater scope 
in making a stroke. The right hand should rest comfortably 



on the left, and be arranged in such a manner that the little 
finger of the right will come between the thumb and the 
forefinger of the left hand, holding the brush in the same 
position as in writing, as shown in Fig. 2. 

18. Although this may seem somewhat awkward at first, it 
will be found, on practicing- a little, that it is the most natural 
and comfortable position, as well as the one by which the best 
Avork can be accomplished. It allows perfect freedom of the 
hand in making all strokes of the letter, giving a greater scope 
in making large letters than any other position or method ; it 

Fig. 2. 

also forms a rest, giving the letterer entire control over his 
brush. By constant practice, a perfectly straight line may be 
drawn with the brush, either vertically or horizontally. When 
making letters under 1 inch in height, it is best to use but one 
hand in the position used while writing ; and a red-sable brush, 
from No. 1 to 5, according to the size of letter, will be found to 
fill the requirements for small lettering. 




19. There are but two methods of striping with a brush, 
both of which are employed by the sign painter. The first of 
these, and the one most generally used, is shown in Fig. 1. By 
this method, the brush is drawn over the surface, spreading its 
hairs somewhat, and touching with almost the entire brush 
length, the letterer at the same time being careful to keep the 
width uniform. In some cases, when striping by this method, 

Fig. 3. 

it is necessary only to observe the line made by the ))rush on 
one side, as in lettering or striping to the edge of the letter. 
This system the carriage painter uses exclusively, and for a 
brush he uses the one known as the swoi-d pencil, a long 
flat brush with which he can make the stripe called the fine 
line, which is almost a hair line. 

20. To accomplish the same results, the sign painter 
employs an entirely different method, producing equally as 
fine and perfect a stripe, but using the point of the lettering 
brush, or pencil, called also the writer, by holding the brush at 


a right angle with the surface on which he is working, and 
allowing the fingers to guide the hand. The brush used for 
this method must be one that is either drawn to a slight 
chisel-shaped end, and turned edgewise to produce the finest 
line possible, or one that possesses a good point, which will not 
allow any of the hairs to spread while using. 

21. Great care should be used in the selection of brushes 
for any class of work, either lettering or striping. Fig. 3 shows 
the other method of striping referred to. It will be good 
practice for the student to lay a straightedge on a sheet of 
cardboard, and draw the fine line, by observing the position 
shown in Fig. 3, until the perfectly straight hair line has been 
mastered. This will require considerable practice. Use the 
same brush, well filled with water or oil color, and practice the 
broad stripe by the method shown in Fig. 1. The brush for 
this purpose should be rather large, as a small one will not 
spread the color to the full width of the stripe desired. The 
effort to accomplish this by means of a brush that is too small 
will cause an irregular or wavy stripe ; while the large 
brush will make the broad stripe with the hair in its normal 
position, and no great pressure, therefore, is required. 



22. Tlie Primar.Y, Secondary, and Neutral Colors. 

Colors are divided into three classes, namely : primary, sec- 
ondary, and neutral. The semineutral, holding a place between 
the secondary and the neutral, is classed with the latter. 

The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. By a mixture 
of any two of these the secondary colors can be produced ; and, 
by the addition of white and black in combination with the 
primary or secondary colors, all neutral colors, shades, and 
tints are produced. A combination of red and yellow pro- 
duces the secondary orange. A combination of yellow and 
blue produces green. A combination of red and blue produces 
purple. The union of black and white produces lead color. 


A combination of the three primary colors produces a neiUral 
color, by using a proper quantity of each in proportion to its 
strength. A combination of the three primary in unequal 
proj)ortions produces colors known as tertiary colors. 

23. Color. — The trade term color always refers to any 
mixture that will produce each separate hue by compounding 
the primary and secondary colors ; while the spectrum shades of 
the colors always refer to the blending of the primary and 
secondary colors, in the following order : red, orange, yellow, 
green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colors make twenty- 
one distinct shades. 

24. Producing Sliades. — The various shades of a color 
are formed by mixing a strong primary or secondary color with 
white, making several shades of different strength until the 
color has become indistinct, when it is termed a tint. A com- 
bination of red and green produces brown. Of this color there 
are many shades. The burnt and raw umber, and burnt and 
raw sienna, when in their natural, or raw, state are brown 
pigments, but, by chemical treatment, the burnt, or darker, 
shade of each is produced. 

25. Semlneutral Colors. — Brown, gray, and maroon, 
also the color produced by mixing blue and green neutrally, 
give rise to the other classification, called the semineiUral colors. 
From the six principal colors come the great variety of colors 
into which each principal color is subdivided. 

26. Warm and Cold Colors. — Colors are in harmony 
with each other when they partake of the same general effect, 
such as the chrome yellow and sienna, chrome yellow and 
umber, or such colors or tints partaking of the red or yellow, 
called warm colors, or those of the opposite nature, which 
partake of gray, lead color, green, blue, etc. , producing colors or 
tints that are called cold in their effect or tone. 

27. Contrast. — Colors are in contrast when warm and 
cold colors are used in connection with each other, although 
all such colors may not be so used without producing a hetero- 
geneous effect, as certain shades of red and green, blue and green, 


blue and red, etc. are most discordant to the eye when placed 
close together. Coloring, therefore, is a study that can be accom- 
plished only by close observation and experiment. Just as the 
professional musician produces some combined sounds that 
thrill us, so the professional colorist produces effects that are 
beyond the comprehension of the unskilled. More particularly 
is this true of the coloring displayed by the artist that imitates 
nature. He may, by the art of coloring, not only deceive the 
eye but produce combinations that will be most pleasing to it. 



28. Scope of Subject. — The handling of colors, in the 
full sense of the word, does not mean simply the knowledge of 
the many ways colors can best be applied to a surface, but 
involves a knowledge of the nature of the colors themselves, the 
effect of the elements on each, and the relation they bear to one 
another. This relation in colors classifies them as either 
harmonizing or contrasting with one another. A colorist should 
understand the result and drying effects of placing one mixture 
on another, each having as a base an entirely different medium 
or liquid. All of these details must be considered by the 
painter, and many annoyances and serious complications can be 
avoided by bearing in mind the following important instructions. 

29. The Di-ying Qualities of Colors. — Colors mixed 
with slow-drying liquids, such as oils or varnishes, can be 
covered with a coat of the same color, when the first is dry, 
even though quite tacky. But to cover this surface, if not 
perfectly dry, with a color mixed with some quick-drying japan 
or varnish, will produce a crackled, pebbled, or uneven surface 
when it does chy. One color should be perfectly dry, therefore, 
before another is applied. The same result will be produced 
should a slow-drying color be placed over a quick, if the first 
coat is not perfectly dry before the second is applied. This 
can easily be understood, as the quick color possesses a 


contracting or shrinking character in drying, while the slow 
color, mixed with oil or varnish, is of a flowing or expanding 
nature. As the under color continues to dry out after being 
covered over, its contraction causes the result described above. 

30. Durability. — Colors mixed with the best coach varnish 
will stand longer when exposed to the weather than when mixed 
with any other material, and raw or boiled linseed oil stands 
next in value for the same purpose ; but japan or turpentine as 
a mixture will produce colors with little durability. English 
vermilion is a color that cannot be used for outside purposes 
with any assurance of its remaining long or holding its original 
brilliancy. This color is a pigment of mercury and sulphur, 
and when exposed to the elements bleaches out to a dull pink, 
about the strength of flesh color. The American, or aniline, 
vermilion is one of the many products of coal tar, and its effect 
is directly opposite to the English vermilion, for after exposure 
to the elements this vermilion turns a very dark brown. These 
effects may be somewhat compensated by mixing the two 
together in relative proportions to render them neutral, but at 
best the color is not one to be used freely for outside work. 

31. Lampblack will outwear all colors. It is often seen on 
signs that have stood many years of exposure, where the black 
has remained with a good surface, while the three or four coats 
of ground color have entirely disappeared, together with por- 
tions of the weather-beaten wood, giving the sign an embossed 
appearance. Blues as a rule are not lasting, while all other 
colors may be considered of about equal durability. 



32. Preparation. — Smalting consists of covering over a. 
freshly painted surface with fine sand that has been dyed a 
suitable color. This process, though simple, is of the greatest 
importance to the sign painter, as he can thereby produce a 
ground that gives a most finished appearance to his work, 


causing rough or uneven sign boards to present a smooth sur- 
face. The success of snmlting depends largely on the color 
upon which the smalt is to be placed. This color is called the 
"cutting-in color," and should always be mixed fresh and 
prepared as follows : The best refined lampblack is mixed with 
boiled linseed oil, and ground on a marble or plate-glass table, 
with a palette knife, until all lumps and specks have disappeared. 
The mixture should be thick enough to grind easily, and not 
flow or spread out on the table surface. To each half cup of 
color, add a lump of white lead equal in size to an English 
walnut, and add to this equal parts of boiled oil and coach 
ja2:)an, so as to give the mixture a consistency that will allow it 
to flow freely from the brush, but still retain a good body. 
This mixture can be used for black, blue, or dark-green smalt 
without changing. For brown smalt, twice the quantity of 
white lead should be added, colored strongly with Indian red. 
For light-green smalt, green or yellow should be used in place 
of Indian red. 

33. Metliocl of Application. — After the letters are cut 
in on the sign, this color is spread evenly over the ground, 
care being exercised not to allow any ridges of color to form 
at the edge of the Ijrush. A small pencil brush can be used 
to cut in the letters, no matter how large they may be, and 
a flat soft brush is afterwards used for filling in the back- 
ground, the latter varying in size according to the sign. After 
the sign is filled in, strips of Manila paper or enamel cloth 
are spread on the table or floor, and the sign is so laid over 
them that one edge is on the paper ^or cloth. The smalt is 
then sifted on evenly over the entire surface through a small- 
mesh wire sieve. After remaining a few moments, all the sur- 
plus smalt is removed by tipping the sign edgewise and shaking 
the smalt on the paper. 

Black smalt is used more than any other color, but is more 
likely to show defects. The use of smalt that has been kept in 
a damp place for some time without first drying thoroughly, 
will cause streaks of gray to appear in the finished sign, for 
which there is no remedy. In smalting, care should always be 


exercised not to cover the sign thickly enough to break the 
edge of the letter by its weight, when the surplus is tipped 
or thrown off. 

The edge or band of a smalted sign should invariably be 
painted with colors mixed with varnish, giving a glossy finish 
to it. Black is usually used for this purpose, especially on 
signs smalted with black or dark blue. 

34. Flock. — On signs exposed to the weather, smalt is the 
only material that can be used for this purpose. For inside 
signs, however, a material known as "flock" is used; this is 
a ground cloth that can be obtained in several colors, although 
the maroon and black are most commonly used. Flock is 
applied to signs in the same manner as smalt, but the cutting- in 
color on which the maroon is placed must be made to match 
the color of the flock as nearly as possible. 


35. Variegated grounds are often used on large advertising 
signs, as well as on many kinds of stenciled signs. The color of 
the background when the sign is finished must govern the 
selection of the variegating colors. If the ground when finished 
is to be blue, cream and lemon tints, with possibly a touch of 
sienna or orange, may be used. If the ground is to be black, 
two or three shades of green, or, in fact, almost any color can be 
used. A maroon ground, with a variegated blue letter, makes a 
most pleasing combination. 

36. Two coats of white lead are applied to the ground 
before the variegating colors are applied, and then three colors 
are laid on lengthwise of the line to be lettered, giving equal 
surface to each color. The top is white, the bottom is a 
medium shade of the variegating color, and the intermediate 
shade is placed between these, and is then blended where the 
colors come together, beginning with the lightest. When 
the sign is "cut in" and finished, each letter will appear as 
though it were shaded separately. 



37. Foundation AYork.— There are many kinds of sur- 
faces to be dealt with in lettering, for the letterer may be called 
on to place letters upon any solid material known. A sign 
board when first turned over to the sign painter from the sign 
carpenter may possess solid knots or streaks of pitch, either of 
which will show through man}^ coats of color unless their 
penetrating quality is destroyed. This is done with orange 
shellac, applied after the board has been thoroughly dusted off. 
When the shellac is dry, the sign is ready for the first coat of 
l^aint, called the priming coat. This must invariably be white 
lead mixed with boiled linseed oil only. When this has been 
dried and the board has been run over lightly Avith sandpaper 
and dusted, all nail holes or other defects are filled with putty, 
after which the second coat is applied, and should be mixed 
with one-fourth turpentine to three-fourths boiled oil. This 
coat is sandpapered also, and the third, or finishing, coat is 
then applied, which is a mixture quite reversed from that used 
for the second coat. The third coat should consist of about 
two-thirds turpentine to one- third boiled oil, and will insure a 
flat- or dull-finished surface to work on. 

38. Defects.— A glossy surface might cause trouble, if 
allowed to stand some time before being lettered, as the placing 
of one oil color upon another is liable to cause the second one 
to creep, that is, to leave the ground surface, causing large or 
small pitted spots to appear. This may be avoided by 
rubbing the surface with curled hair, or with pumice stone 
and water, or by dusting a small quantity of whiting over it. 
White enameled oilcloth is used extensively for lettering pur- 
poses ; to insure against the above difficulty, benzine or 
turpentine should be rubbed on the surface with cotton cloth 
or batting. 

39. French Enamel WMte Finisli. — If a French 
enamel white finish is desired, the sign should be painted 
evenly with two coats as above, but the third coat should be of 
white "rough stuff," applied as paint. This should be rubbed 
down to a smooth surface with white i)umice stone and water 


the day following its application. Three coats of I'ough stuff 
are necessary, one each day, repeating the rubbing process after 
each. For finishing this surface, equal parts of Florence and 
zinc white are mixed in special light rubbing varnish, prepared 
especially for white. One coat of this mixture is applied, and 
the day following is again rubbed with the groiind pumice. If 
not evenly covered, a second coat of the zinc and Florence white 
is necessary and also another rubbing, after which one coat of 
light English finishing varnish, colored well with the zinc and 
Florence white, is flowed on, enough only of the white being 
used to change the color of the varnish, but not enough to make 
it a solid color. 

40. Carriag-e- or Piano-Body Finish. — To make a 
carriage- or piano- body finish, the sign is painted with two 
coats of lead, as previously directed, adding black enough to 
produce a lead color, after which the surface is given a coat of 
ordinary ^^ rough stuff ^^ the following day. After this has 
remained twenty-four hours it is rubbed with lump pumice and 
water. To insure a j)erfect surface, at least four coats of rough 
stuff should be applied (one each day), after which the sign is 
ready for the finishing coats. If a black finish is desired, the 
surface is given a coat of coach black ground in japan. This 
is followed with two coats of rubbing varnish, colored well with 
black, each coat being rubbed with ground pumice and water 
(using the curled hair for the rubbing). One coat of best 
coach finishing varnish is then flowed on in a room of high 
temperature and free from dust or draft. When the sign is 
dry, it possesses the finest finish possible to produce, if the 
work has been properly done. Should any color other than 
black be desired, the color may be substituted in place of the 
black on the first coat after the rough stuff, and rubbing varnish 
should be colored accordingly. This process can be used on 
all sheet-metal or iron surfaces, on which the roughness may be 
overcome by filling well with a putty made of white lead and 
whiting laid on with a wide-l)lade putty knife. 

■41. Frosting on Glass. — This is a process by which 
lettering is made to show in a conspicuous manner, and also 


serves the purpose of a door transparency, or it is often placed 
on windows opening into a hall or area. By the nse of sour 
beer and Epsom salt, a frosting may be produced that closely 
resembles the fantastic marking of the natural frost on the 
window pane ; but the frosting usually applied by the sign 
painter is produced by the use of sugar of lead (in tube) or 
white lead. The former, having less body (or substance), is 
made to imitate more closely the frosting produced by the 
sand-blast pr-ocess, and is applied with a brush as thin and 
evenly as possible, and stippled with a brush made especially 
for this purpose, or with a pad of unsized cotton cloth filled 
with cotton batting. White lead used for this purpose should 
be mixed with 2 parts boiled oil to 1 part turpentine, and 
applied in the same way as sugar of lead. When it is desired 
to show the lettering most prominently, the white lead is used, it 
being when applied opaque, and much whiter than sugar of lead. 


gil,lh:n^g water. 

42. In the preparation of size for gilding on glass, the 
greatest care must be observed to avoid the existence of the 
smallest particle of oil in the vessel in which it is made. In 
fact, the most scru^julous cleanliness is necessary throughout 
the preparation of the size, as the faintest trace of any foreign 
matter will materially injure the gilding. 

Size for glass gilding is prepared by dissolving, in a pint of 
pure water, a piece of Russian isinglass about the size of a 
silver dime. The vessel containing the water is then placed 
over a gas stove, coal fire, or other device that will heat it 
rapidly to the boiling point. After boiling about thirty seconds 
it is removed from the fire, and allowed to cool ; it should then 
be strained through a perfectly clean piece of muslin, after 
which it is ready for use. This gilding water or size must be 
prepared fresh every day, as it is practically useless after 
twenty-four hours, and should always be made with distilled, 
rain, or melted-ice water, the first being preferred. 



43. Sizes for gilding on wood or metal are of two kinds, 
known as slow size and quick size. The former is used when 
the sign or surface to be gilded is large, and will require con- 
siderable time to complete the gilding ; while the latter is used 
on small zinc or japanned iron signs, where the letters are small 
and the entire gilding can be completed in from one to five hours. 

44. Slow Size. — Slow size is made from boiled linseed 
oil. The oil is allowed to stand in a warm place until it is of 
about the consistency of molasses, and is then called fat oil. 
Equal quantities of fresh boiled oil and coachmakers' japan are 
mixed together ; this mixture and the fat oil are then united 
in equal proportions, together with a sufl&cient quantity of 
chrome yellow to render it easily seen during its application to 
the surface to be gilded. These, when thoroughly stirred 
together, will form a size that will stand from fifteen to twenty- 
four hours. The drying qualities of the slow size are influenced 
by the temperature in which it is allowed to stand. 

45. Use of Slow Size. — In using this slow size, it must 
not be allowed to flow thickly over the surface, but should be 
brushed out evenly to cover the entire surface, to which it is 
applied to an even depth. If one part is more thickly coated 
than another, it will not dry to the surface of the sign, and will 
afterward break through the gilding when the surplus gold leaf 
is being removed, or when the gold is burnished. This size will 
keep ready for use for a long period if placed in a corked bottle 
or tightly capped jar. 

46. Quick Size. — Quick size is made in several ways, 
according to the length of time required for it to dry. This is 
of course governed largely by the amount of work ahead of the 
letterer to be gilded. About 30 drops of boiled oil added to 
^ ounce of Hedden & Wheeler's japan gold size will prepare a 
size that will dry in about two hours. This can be made 
(juicker drying by reducing the quantity of oil. But to add 
oil in excess of the quantity prescribed above will produce an 


unreliable mixture, so that another preparation is necessary for 
slower size. The above size should be colored with a little 
orange or lemon chrome yellowy well mixed together on a glass 
surface by the use of a palette knife. 

47. A Medium-Slow Size. — Another size that Avill stand 
longer than the above is prepared by stirring, in ^ ounce of 
coach finishing varnish, about 30 drops of coachmakers' japan. 
This will stand four or five hours. In all work of importance 
it is advisable to test the size upon a piece of the material to be 
gilded, in order that the length of time it will stand may be 
accurately known. Different surfaces require different sizes. 
Some work requires a size that will stand for twenty-four hours, 
while on another material it should be ready to gild in three 
hours or sooner. The reason for this is that slow size cannot 
be made to produce an even or sharp edge on smooth surfaces. 
This size may be preserved in a tight jar in the same manner 
as the one previously described, though it has a much stronger 
tendency to become thickened. Better work can be produced 
with quick size, freshly prepared, as it not only flows from the 
brush more freely, but is also more reliable in drying. Either 
of the foregoing quick sizes may be thinned, if necessary, with 
a little turpentine, but too much turpentine will destroy the 
luster of the gold. 

48. Proper Materials ]S"ecessary. — It will be observed, 
b}' one familiar with the action of the elements on certain 
colors, that size used for signs on the exterior of buildings will 
show the effect of the elements very soon after its exposure to 
the weather, if it has been improperly prepared. A common 
mistake is the use of yellow size for aluminum leaf or bronze, 
which is likely to show through the face of this metal. Size 
for such materials should be made with about 2 ounces of 
light coach varnish, to which is added a piece of pure white 
lead as large as an English walnut, and about a spoonful oi 
japan gold size and the same quantity of turpentine. The leaf 
or bronze should be applied while the size holds a strong tacky 
surface, and is just dry enough so that bronze will not show an 
uneven surface when applied. The bronze must always be put 


on the surface in large quantities, with a chamois-skin pad filled 
with cotton. If used too sparingly, the surface will present a 
clouded appearance, which cannot be overcome or remedied. 

49. The size for gold bronze should be the same as that 
used for gold leaf, but colored with lemon chrome yellow. 
For copper bronze, use orange chrome, darkened with a little 
Indian red, which produces a color resembling somewhat the 
copper bronze. 



50. Gold Leaf. — The gold leaf used for this purpose 
should be of the best quality. The gold beater usually pre- 
pares two grades of leaf ; that used for this purpose is not 
beaten as thin as the ordinary leaf used on wood. The thin 
leaf will break easily in the process of laying on glass, not 
only causing considerable annoyance, but also involving 
extra expense. It is therefore desirable that the leaf made 
especially for this purpose should be obtained direct from 
the manufacturer. 

51. Tools and Materials Necessary. — To lay gold leaf 
on glass several things are necessary : first^ the tip, which is a 
long-hair brush, capable of holding a full-sized leaf of gold ; 
second, the gilding brush, which is a soft camel' s-hair brush, 
about 1^ inches wide ; and third, a handful of soft well-carded 
cotton batting for rubbing the gold. Tlie tip will not pick up 
the leaf from the book unless prepared first to do so. This is 
done by drawing the tip across the head, at the same time 
pressing the hair of the tip so as to allow some of the 
natural oil of the human hair to adhere to it. Gold leaf being 
extremely sensitive to the touch, the most trifling amount of 
adhesive is all that is necessary, as too much will give rise to 
serious trouble by causing the leaf to adhere to the tip too 
persistently, or by the oil coming in contact with the surface 
of the glass, and destroying the luster of the gold, or even by 


preventing it from adhering to the glass at all. Gold leaf is 
ver}^ frail material to handle, and therefore great caution is 
necessary in its application. 

52. Method of Procedure. — The design or inscription 

to ))e gilded is placed on the reverse side of the glass hy means 
of a perforated pattern, through which whiting is pounced, thus 
showing the outline of the letters or parts to be gilded ; or the 
design may be marked out with ordinary white chalk or the 
lithographer's black crayon pencil, which Avill readily leave a 
mark on a glass surface. The surface on which the gilding is to 
be done must be perfectly cleaned by removing all possibility of 
oil or even finger marks. The book of gold leaf is laid on a flat 
surface, with the opening toward the right. One leaf of the 
book is folded back and creased with the left hand, thus 
exposing the gold. The cutting of the leaf is then accomplished 
with the little-finger nail of the right hand, by running the 
nail along on the gold, using the folded book leaf for a guide. 
The piece of gold so cut is picked up with the tip (which is 
held in the hand during the cutting process) and laid on the 
glass lightly, after having first covered the part to receive the 
gold with a copious coat of the size, the preparation of which 
is treated under heading ' ' Gilding Water. ' ' The brush used 
in the size is usually a l-|-inch flat camel' s-h air. All letters 
should be covered with a liberal supply of gold leaf, allowing 
it to overlap the marking. When the size under the gold is 
perfectly dry, the surface should be well rubbed with cotton 
batting, which will remove all scrap leaf that has not adhered 
or that has overlapped, and will expose to view any spaces or 
parts that have not been properly covered. The size is then 
flowed all over the work (beginning at the bottom), and gold 
is laid on all spaces that have not been previously covered. 
When this is dry, a second rubbing with the cotton will remove 
the surplus. A third or fourth washing of size does no harm 
to the gold, and when diluted with warm water, produces a 
brilliant burnished effect. 

53. Sheet-Glass Signs. — if gilding has been done on a 
sheet of glass to be used for a framed sign, the pattern must 


again be pounced with whiting over the gold leaf, which 
furnishes a guide, showing the place occupied by the letters. 
To prepare a paint to letter over gold leaf on a window that is 
exposed to frost (the great enemy of window gilding), a slow- 
drying varnish, colored well with lemon or orange chrome 
yellow, should be used, and when dry the gold leaf extending 
beyond the letters can be cleaned off easily with water, a little 
whiting, and cotton batting. For a backing or lettering color 
for framed glass signs, a quick-drying varnish or asphaltum 
black can be used. As these signs are not exposed to the 
elements, almost any color can be used on them. A color is 
preferaljle, however, that is made the shade of the gold leaf, and 
that will not be seen when the sign is finished, should any 
small cracks or spots have been left in the gilding that would 
be considered too small to regild. 


54. Metliod. of Procedure. — Having considered the use 
of the tip and handling of gold leaf for gilding on glass, we will 
now consider its application to a wood or metal surface. 

The manner in which the gold is laid on these materials 
differs. The slow^ size will allow us to cover the whole sign 
with gold leaf, before rubbing down to a burnished surface ; 
and, if the letters are large enough to take the whole leaf with- 
out much waste, the letters can be gilded from the book Avithout 
the use of the tip, by turning the leaf back and placing the 
book face downwards on the size, rolling the leaf on gradually, 
so as not to Ijreak it. When the. sign is entirely covered, a 2-inch 
bear's-hair brush is used to remove the surplus, and the whole 
gilded surface is well rubbed. This will take the superfluous 
scrap, carrying it along the letters, filling in all cracks or small 
spots that may have been overlooked, and, if these are not too 
large, will not show when the gold is burnished. After rubbing 
with the brush, a handful of cotton batting should be used, and 
the gold rubbed with this until no laps or spots are seen. 

55. Gilding on Quick Size. — To gild on quick size, gild 
the first two letters rapidly, rubbing down the first letter only j 


proceed immediately to gild the third, afterwards rubbing down 
the second, and so on until the sign is gilded. The reason for 
doing this is that, if the gold were allowed to remain too long 
on quick size before burnishing, it would have a wrinkled 
appearance, caused by the action of the size while drying, and 
thereby drawing the gold, which is prevented when the surface 
is covered evenly with gold and burnished. Aluminum leaf, 
which is considerably tougher than gold leaf, can be applied on 
several letters before burnishing. 

56. Outside Gilding. — For outside gilding, or gilding 
in places where the wind is strong enough to prevent both the 
use of the tip and the process of gilding from the book, another 
method is followed. This is accomplished by cutting wax 
paper in sheets large enough to leave a margin of ^ inch beyond 
the edge of the gold leaf, which is applied to the wax paper by 
carefully laying the wax paper on it and pressing it evenly. 
The waxed gold leaf is then placed in an empty book and is 
ready for use. The size being more tacky than the wax surface 
of the paper, the leaf of gold will leave the paper and adhere to 
the size by pressing the waxed leaf with the hand. After the 
letters have been entirely covered, they should be rubbed down 
as described, using the bear's-hair rubbing brush and cotton 
batting, as in other gilding. 


57. Pcai'l Filling-. — The pearl filling often seen in the 
most elaborate window lettering is not in such general use 
today as in former years, as it has been supplanted somewhat 
by the Etruscan gilding, which consists of a dull or chased 
filling within an outline of bright gold. The material used for 
pearl filling must be the best quality mother of pearl in 
perfectly flat and thin pieces, and applied after the letters are 
gilded, shaded, and otherwise finished. The open strokes of 
the letters are coated with a light-colored coach varnish (to 
which a few drops of japan gold size have been added), over- 
lapping the edge of the strokes, but without covering the shade. 


especially if the shade is of semitransparent colors. The 
varnish is then allowed to stand a few moments until it will 
take the pearl without danger of slipping. The pieces are then 
fitted to fill the space within the letters as nearly as possible. 
After one letter is covered, and before beginning on another, 
well-crumpled tin-foil is taken and covered over the entire 
back of the letters, and is pressed in well with the fingers, so as 
to force the foil in contact with the varnished surface of the 
glass. Do not finish more than one or two letters at a time, 
unless, however, there is positive surety of the drying qualities 
of the varnish. The tin-foil filling gives the appearance of a 
solid pearl letter. 

58. Etruscan Gilding. — The Etruscan gilding produces 
a chased-gold or silver effect, and is accomplished by a simpler 
method than the foregoing. There have been many kinds of 
size suggested for this purpose, but the one producing the best 
results is sour beer, although either glucose water that has been 
allowed to stand some time, or a few drops of turpentine in 
ordinary gilding water may be used. The beer size is applied 
in the same manner as regular gilding water size, but the gilding 
must not be rubbed with cotton. To cover all places that may 
have been left in the first gilding, the part already gilded is 
covered with a second application of the beer size after the 
former has thoroughly dried, and any open spaces are then 
gilded over. When dry, this should be painted over with a 
varnish color, somewhat of the same shade as the gold. 

59. Finishing Coat. — All lettering on glass should be 
well backed with a varnish color as a finishing coat, both to 
protect it from frost and from the wear caused by cleaning the 
glass. It is impossible to protect lettering on glass from even- 
tually peeling off, especially when certain conditions obtain ; 
but with extra caution, window-glass lettering may be made to 
stand for years. A coat of best coach varnish, overlapping the 
edge of the letters about y^ of an inch on the clear glass, will 
prevent frost from penetrating underneath the edge of the 
letters, and thus hastening their tendency to peel. 




60. Imijortance. — This work requires a greater amount 
of caution than any other branch of sign painting. Not only- 
are the materials expensive and mistakes costly, but the chem- 
icals with which the work is done are dangerous, and any 
improper use of them would be likely to impair the health or 
even destroy the eyes of the operator. Embossing on brass 
includes not only the preparation of the plate, but the etching 
and finishing of the brass. The best grade of engraving brass 
is required for this process, and gauge No. 16 is the thickness 
in most frequent use. This is y^ of an inch thick. The plate 
must be well buffed before lettering. The design should be 
made on medium-thick Manila pattern paper, and transferred 
to the brass plate by means of carbon transfer paper. After 
the design is transferred on to the plate, it is ready to cut in, 
preparatory to the etching process. 

61. Material Used for Resisting Acid. — Asphaltum 
black is used to protect the plate while in the acid bath, and 
must be applied with an even, solid surface, and not thinned 
more than is absolutely necessary. Use only the best quality 
of asphaltum, and thin with equal parts of coachmakers' japan 
and coach finishing varnish. The letters and other designs are 
cut in with this color, leaving the letter and stripes clear. The 
entire sign is then covered evenly to the edge, and allowed to 
dry twenty-four hours at least. The marks made by the 
tracing should then be removed with water. A new cotton 
cloth is then used to rub the entire surface, which is done to 
destroy the glossy surface of the first coat, in order that the 
second may be seen, after, which a second coat of the asphaltum 
is applied with care, to keep as close to the edge of the first one 
as possible. The second coat is allowed to stand forty-eight 
hours, after which the sign is ready for the etching bath. 

A coating of beeswax is also used as a resist, and is applied 
to the brass, silver, or white-metal plate when hot. When this 
material is used, the design is traced through it on the surface 




of the metal by means of a stylus. The wax is used only 
when a line etching is desired, and is therefore more especially 
adapted to small work, on which the letters are of miniature size. 

62. Etching. — The etching should be done in a room set 
apart for this exclusive purpose, as the fumes and gases given 
off during the process are extremely unwholesome, and in fact 
very poisonous, and should never be inhaled. The sign to be 
etched is laid on a table, the top of which has been rendered 

perfectly level, and over it is suspended a funnel-shaped hood, 
to collect the fumes and carry them off to the outside air or to 
a chimney flue. This arrangement is shown in Fig. 4, where 
h is the etching table under the hood a. At c is shown the 
vent that carries off the obnoxious vapors. 

63. Beeswax Dam. — The sign is now prepared by bank- 
ing up the edges with beeswax, all around the four sides, so as 
to give it the form of a shallow tray. The beeswax is prepared 
by melting together over a slow fire ^ pound of beeswax and 
h pound of rosin, and adding about 3 fluid ounces of boiled oil. 
When thoroughly melted, this mixture is poured into a vessel 
of cold water, and is then ready for use. Should the mixture 
become too hard, by standing, to work easily (it should be 
about the consistency of putty), it may be remelted and a little 
more oil added. 


64. Use of tlie Acids. — Within the rim of wax, and over 
the entire surface of the sign, a mixture of 1 part nitric acid 
to 2 parts water is now poured to a depth of about J inch. 
The Uquid will immediately begin to effervesce, and strong 
pungent fumes of a yellowish color Avill rise from the surface. 
The hood should now be adjusted to receive and carry off these 
fumes, and the action of the acid be permitted to continue until 
the letters are "eaten into'' the plate about -g^ to -^j of an 
inch, according to the depth desired. The depth of the letters 
may be determined by feeling their edges with a pointed tool of 
any kind, tbough care must be exercised not to scratch the 
asi)halt surface. 

Should the action of the fluid for any reason be too slow, it 
may be hastened b}- pouring a small quantity of the pure acid 
on the surface of the plate, and stirring it around carefull^Mvith 
a whisk broom, or, if too strong, the acid may be diluted with 
water. Strong acid has a tendency to undercut the letters and 
destroy the sharj^ness of their edges. The etching, therefore, 
should not be done too quickly, for it should take three or four 
hours for the acid to eat the brass, to a proper depth. 

65. Cleaning tlie Plate. — After the etching is complete, 
the plate is removed from the table, the acid is poured off (by 
breaking a small piece of the wax dam out of the end), and the 
whole plate thoroughly washed in cold water. The bath tray, 
previously prepared, is usually built of wood ; it should be 
large enough to receive the entire plate, and deep enough to 
hold 3 or 4 inches of water. The wax is then removed from 
the edges and saved for future use, and the asphalt coating 
wiped off after it has been thoroughly softened with turpentine. 
Should there be any slight imperfections in the surface of the 
plate, due to the action of the acid through an exposed place in 
the asphaltum, they can easily be removed (if they are not 
more than surface marks) on an ordinary buffing machine. 

GG. Filling.^The etched letters are usually filled with 
black japan, which is afterward baked until it has the appear- 
ance of a vitreous mixture. This, however, is a separate business, 
and outside the province of the letterer. The etched letters are 


sometimes filled by the letterer with gutta percha or a black 
made with patent dryer, though the results are not as good as 
with the other material. Gutta-percha filling is made and 
applied as follows : Take equal parts gutta percha and 
asphaltum, and melt together in an iron pot, with about one- 
quarter their bulk of finely powdered gum shellac, and while 
the mixture is still hot it is penciled in the letters. Should a 
red or blue filling be required, the asphaltum can be replaced 
with vermilion or cobalt blue, according to the one required. 


67. Bifluoric Acid. — The preliminary details and 
arrangements for embossing on glass are precisely the same 
as previously described for etching brass, with the exception 
of the acid. Bifluoric acid is an intensely corrosive compound 
that will dissolve every glassy substance it comes in contact 
with. It is usually put up in lead or rubber flasks, and can 
be purchased only in the original packages. For use, the acid 
is diluted to the proportion of 2 parts acid to 3 parts water, 
though, if this is not strong enough, the proportion of acid may 
be increased. If the etching fluid is too strong, the edges of 
the letter will be undercut and the plate destroyed. The object 
of glass embossing in lettering is to show a richness in gilding 
by contrast. This is accomplished by gilding the etched letter 
and surrounding the edge so as to show an outline of bright 
gold. The gilding on the etched center of the letter is mottled, 
and shows the thickness of the etching, presenting a decidedly 
rich effect, especially when designs are executed with the pencil 
brush within the outline of the letter. 

68. Testing tlie Acid. — The strength of the acid may 
be tested, in order to know when the sign is etched to a proper 
depth, by the use of the same sharp tool as before, which must 
be used with great care, however, as a slight scratch on the 
edge of the letter or surface of asphaltum would show the effect 
of the acid after the sign is finished. It is not necessary that 
etching on glass should \m of greater depth than will show the 


edge of the letter and produce tlie mottled effect. This acid 
is removed in the same manner as the nitric acid, and the 
asphaltum dissolved with turpentine, after which the plate is 
well cleaned with whiting and water, and the embossed glass sign 
is ready for the finishing process, or the gilding and coloring. 
It is always desirable that the best results may be obtained ; 
and, to insure this, the time should not be considered lost in 
testing the strength of the acid on various glass surfaces. Plate 
glass offers less resistance to the acid than sheet or crown glass. 
The acid is influenced, therefore, by the metallic oxide con- 
tained in the glass. 

IjEtter shading. 


69. Combinations in Shading. — There is a great 
variety of methods by which the shading may be added to a 
letter by the use of colors. A law exists in nature that is very 
forcibly shown in combining colors when shading, and this 
must be regarded, or the work will not produce satisfactory 
results. A color apparently of a suitable shade when mixing, 
if placed on a black ground, will appear many shades lighter ; 
and the reverse is likewise true. If the same color be placed 
on a white ground, it appears many shades darker. Letter 
shading may consist of several shades of one color, or several 
distinct colors may be used together, either blended or separated 
by outline. 

70. Transparent Shading-. — This method is of service 
to the letterer, in that it both saves time and gives most satis- 
factory results. A transparent shading mixture is made by 
stirring a few drops of well-ground black in a medium-drying 
varnish, adding also a few drops of turpentine. This mixture 
forms a shade for all light colors and tints, and, if properly 
applied, produces what is known as the natural shade, or the 
same strength and shade as would be cast from a projected 
object on the same ground. 



71. Glaze Shading. — Transparent shade is used in the 
form of a glaze shade on such colors as vermilion, green, blue, 
yellow, etc. by adding a color corresponding with that with 
which it is combined. For example, the glaze shade applied 
on vermilion should l)e 
mixed with carmine (in 
tube). For green or blue, 
Prussian or some other 
strong blue is used, and 
sienna on yellow, etc. The 
glaze shade is always 
placed on another shade 
when the latter is thor- 
oughly dry, and covers one- 
half of this nearest the let- 
ter, as shown in Fig. 5 at c 
and €. 

72. Tlie Double 
Shade. — This is also illus- 
trated in Fig. 5, in which a 
shows the black line used to divide the shades ; h shows 
the block, usually some bright color, as vermilion, blue, etc., on 
which the glaze shade c is placed ; d and e represent some 
neutral color, as gray, brown, etc., of which e is the transparent 

shade ; while / is the natural 
shade on the ground color, 
made with the same as e, but 
giving an entirely different 

73 . The S p e c t r 11 m 
Shade. — This is produced by 
blending shades together, and 
its use is confined almost 
exclusively to the gilded and 
silvered letters on glass, although the same colors cannot be 
used on both. The natural color of the gold is warm, and 
therefore harmonizes with almost every color ; while the silver 

Fig. 5. 

Fl... 6. 


is cold in tone, and suitable colors to combine with it must 
therefore be selected. Five colors are usually blended, when 
vermilion is used for the spectrum shade, as follows : ( 1 ) cream ; 
(2) lemon yellow ; (3) orange ; (4) vermilion ; (5) carmine. 
In all other cases, four shades of one color are used. In Fig. 6 
is shown the proper position the four shades should occupy. 
It will be observed that the darkest shade If. comes against 
1 the lightest which is usually a tint of the color, while 2 
and 3 are equally divided in strength between these extremes. 
The shades always occujiy the same relative position shown, 
except on letters having a horizontal stroke, in which case but 
two colors, 3 and ^, are used underneath these strokes. 



74. Proper Use of Mixtures. — Much rapidity is gained 
in lettering by a knowledge of the color, or combination of 
colors, that can be used to the best advantage on a particular 
material. Suppose, for example, we have an elaborate silk 
banner on which a design is to be executed ; unless the proper 
mixture were used, the oil or other medium would be absorbed 
by the silk and so spread as to ruin the material at once. This 
condition may arise in the use of colors and their application 
to the many materials, where a successful design will depend 
on the kind of mixture used. 

75. Lettering on Cotton Sheeting. — Cotton sheeting 
must be wet before being lettered, and while quite damp the 
lettering may be applied. Color for this purpose can be mixed 
with equal parts of boiled oil and japan, and thinned with 
turpentine. A 1-inch flat varnish brush will be found conve- 
nient in order to spread the color on the cloth with great 
rapidity, if the letters are large ; and for small letters the 
camel' s-hair swan quill is used. Shading colors thinned well 
with turpentine can, without danger of spreading, be applied 
when the cloth is almost dry. 


76. Cardboard and Enamel Clotla. — Cardboard must 
always be lettered with water color or card black. Enamel 
cloth will also take this latter color, and it will be found to be 
the only color that can be used on this material with absolute 
certainty that it will not creep. 

77. Silk. — On silk, different preparations must be used 
under different circumstances ; for instance, if the design is in 
the form of a large panel on which a picture is to be painted, 
a paint must be used that will render the material pliable. An 
outline of hard-drying color ma)^ be used, and the center of the 
design filled in with any oil color to which has been added 
melted beeswax to the amount of one-fifth of the color. Ordi- 
nary orange shellac is used for a lettering preparation, and will 
be found a very reliable one. The shellec is used clear, but 
not too thin, though when too thick to flow easily from the 
brush it may be diluted with alcohol. Letters on silk must 
have two or three coats of this, according to the grain of the 
material, before it is ready to size for gilding, otherwise the size 
will not bear out, and the gold will appear mottled. Another 
preparation for the same purpose is the clear asphaltum, which 
should be thinned out with gold-size, japan, and a few drops of 
turpentine ; this will be found much better to use on close- 
grained silk than the shellac. All shading colors used on 
silk or satin should be mixed with naphtha to prevent them 
from spreading. 

78. Black-Surface Cai-dboard. — On black-surface card- 
board, the white used for lettering should be water color, which 
can be mixed by filling a tumbler two-thirds full of zinc 
white, and adding enough water to dissolve it, and, when 
well mixed, about a tablespoonful of mucilage. This should 
be well stirred and allowed to stand a day or so before 
using, then thinned to flowing consistency and kept in an 
air-tight jar. Either Florentine white or Krenmitz white 
(unsized) will be found to be an excellent color al^o, but 
these must be mixed with a little mucilage to keep the color 
from ruljbing when dry. ■ 


79. Glass. — For glass, the color used mostly is black, 
epecially for outlining, shading, and lettering. To mix this 
color, use dry lampblack, best quality, grind thoroughly with a 
palette knife, and add only best coach varnish. Thin with 
equal parts of coach varnish and turpentine. Dry colors mixed 
with water and glue are used for temporary lettering on window 
glass. Many beautiful effects are produced by their use, as 
they flow freely and dry quickly. 

80. Brick or Stone Panels. — For lettering on brick or 
stone panels, the white lead should be mixed with nothing but 
boiled oil. The black used is lampblack of an inferior grade, 
as it will answer for this purpose as well as the best quality. 
Mix the lampblack, boiled oil, and a cupful of japan to a 
gallon of color. 

81. Plastered Surfaces. — For lettering on plastered sur- 
faces, a light flowing color, such as the card black, will cover 
the surface and will not spread or run. If colors are desired, 
mix them thick with coach varnish, and thin freely with tur- 
pentine. These colors will dry flat (or without a gloss). If 
oil colors were used on this surface, the oil would flow from 
the color into the white plaster and show a yellow line sur- 
rounding the letter. The nature of the mediums, regarding 
their drying qualities and the application of colors, is there- 
fore a constant study with the sign painter, and requires his 
careful consideration. 



82. Wooden Letters. — Relief letters are those that are 
raised above the sign surface, and are usually made of wood, 
unless the sign plate itself is of metal, in which case the letters 
are of brass cast from wooden patterns. The manufacture of 
wooden letters is such a simple matter that many sign painters 
undertake the whole process. The outline of the letter is 
drawn with coach black on thin Manila paper which is glued 



on the surface of the lumber and then sawed out, and only the 
best kiln-dried pine plank should be used. The edges may 
then be beveled or rounded as desired. If the latter, the onl}^ 
tools necessary are a chisel and a rasp to round the letters, after 
which they should be finished by using very coarse sandpaper, 
and a smooth surface is then ji reduced with fine sandpaper. 

83. Ijarge AVooden Ijetters. — Large wooden letters used 
on the roof of buildings or other elevated places are made and 
put up so as to stand out in relief against the sky, and conse- 
quently must be much larger than they actually appear from 
the ground. These letters, although reaching in some cases a 
height of 8 or 10 feet, are simply constructed and easily put in 
place. They are usually 
made of 1^- or l^inch 
lumber, which must be 
well seasoned, and each 
stroke of the letter mor- 
tised and tenoned to 
give strength, as shown 
on edge of letter in 
Fig, 7. At least two 
angle irons should be 
used on the bottom of 

each letter, of sufficient 

. Fig. 7. 

length to raise the letter 

from the roof, and two round braces behind ; the size of the 

latter would vary according to the size of the letter. A ^-inch 

rod, extending over all the letters, is fastened on the tops 

by means of staples, and protects all single-stroke letters, such 

as the I, J, L, etc. , and gives the whole sign sufficient strength 

and stiffness to withstand a violent wind storm. These letters, 

in order to show to the best advantage, should always be painted 

black, and the irons lead color. 

84. Metal Letters. — The metal letters, usually fastened 
on the brass or white-metal sign plates, are cast from wooden 
patterns, as before stated, and are afterwards filed, buffed, and 
plated with gold or nickel, to protect them from the weather. 


They are fastened on the plates with screws, holes for which are 
drilled in the center of the letter and through the sign plate. 
To locate the points for the holes, the letters are carefully 
placed on the plate where desired, and whiting is dusted around 
the edges, thus outlining each letter. Two holes are drilled 
through the plate in the center of the space covered by the 
letter, after which the letter is again placed on the plate, to 
locate exactly the space where holes are to be drilled in the 
letter. The letters are then drilled, tapped, and screwed on 
from the back of plate. 

85. Compo Signs. — Compo signs, the letters of which are 
also in relief, are molded signs made by pressing a wooden- 
pattern design into "compost," or composition, which maybe 
either the material used for stucco work (a sized plaster) or the 
compo used in the manufacture of picture-frame moldings. 
These signs when colored are made very attractive, especially 
for advertising purposes. 

86. Wire Signs. — Wire signs may also be of an artistic 
design, the character of which will depend entirely on the shape 
of the framework. Ribbons and panels can be fastened back 
to back on wirework, and such a sign will not catch the wind, 
and may be made to read from two opposite directions. 

87. Gas-Pipe Frame Signs. — The gas-pipe frame signs, 
generally used in London, England, are easily constructed, and 
for advertising purposes are valuable, as they can be read 
several miles away. The size of this style of sign is limited 
only by the amount of the roof surface to which the braces or 
wire can be fastened. The frame may be the extreme width of 
the building, as the wires or braces are fastened in two opposite 
directions only. The letters are of wood, and are hung 
between the sections of the frame, as shown in Fig. 8. This 
sketch shows a sign 45 feet in width by 36 feet in height (the 
average length of the gas pipe is 15 feet), made to read from 
one direction only. A wire brace extends from every inter- 
section of gas pipe to a staple in the roof or wall. 



88. Advertising Signs on Brick Walls. — These some- 
times reach immense proportions. It is not unusual to see the 
sign painter begin his design at any part of the work, as 
the panel may be a hundred feet or more in length or height. 
The work is executed, therefore, from a miniature design or 
scale, which in this case could be either -g- or |- inch to the foot ; 
and to insure against mistakes it is divided into blocks 10 feet 

Fig. 8. 

square, and lined off on the sketch with red ink. Two or three 
plumb-lines dropped from the roof of the building from points 
10 feet apart, with tapes tied around them at every 10 feet of 
their length, will locate each square on the building, and work 
can be carried out with as much certainty, at any part of the 
design, as though the whole sign were but 10 feet square. 

89. Transparent Signs. — Electric lighting has done 
much to develop this branch of sign painting, and signs that 
would otherwise be unseen after dark can be so arranged as to 
serve the twofold purpose of advertising and illuminating. 
The materials usually employed for transparent signs are 
common sheeting, white Holland shade cloth, and frosted and 
stained glass. Many beautiful designs are made of the stained 
glass, framed in sheet metal surrounded with scrolled ironwork. 


90. Unlimited Glass Signs. — It is not an uncommon 
thing in Europe to see the name of some periodical, or of a 
business firm, stretched across a three- or four-story building, 
covering almost the entire front and reaching from the lower 
left corner above the store front to the roof. This style of sign 
is usually constructed of the heavy-line script letter, and is 
made of any rough lumber, of uniform thickness, sawed to the 
design required. The whole design is firmly secured together, 
and opal glass is cut to cover the face, after first coating the 
wood with white lead. The opal glass is fitted so as not to 
leave too wide an opening where joined, nor to project beyond 
the edge. The sign is then covered along the edge with zinc, 
firmly tacked or nailed, and turned over on the face in the 
form of a half-round molding, which serves to hold the opal 
glass in position. 

91. Hanging the Sign. — The value of a sign depends on 
its finished appearance when placed in position on the outside 
or inside of a building, and the sign painter should not allow 
his artistic taste or ability to cease with the production of a 
piece of work that may indicate his skilled eye and hand ; but 
he should study the relation of his sign to its surroundings, and 
arrange its final fastenings accordingly. These should, first of 
all, be the securest possible, and be capable of resisting the 
severest windstorms, but they may also be attached without 
causing the legibility of the sign to be impaired or its neatness 
marred. Therefore, in hanging signs, do not allow the work or 
trappings used to show more than is absolutely necessary, unless 
they are of an ornamental nature. Architectural ironwork is 
• used for swinging signs, either as an ornamental crane, or in 

scrollwork conforming to some characteristic design, such as a 
heraldic shield or panel. 

Elements OF Lettering. 

Elements of Lettering. 

(1) {a) What name is given to the earliest foi-ni of 
writing? (/>) By whom was it used? 

(2) Wliat are "rustic" letters? 

(8) Name two styles of letters that came into existence 
prior to the 15th century. 

(4) What are "illuminated" letters? 

(5) W^hat is meant by the term elongatin!/ f 

(0) What class of people were skilful in the art of letter- 
ing during the period immediately preceding the 15th century? 

(7) What is meant by the term iiiterlarivy / 

(8) On what materials can transparent water color be used 
to the best advantage? 

(9) What is meant by a "part panel"? 

(10) What is the "stroke" of a letter? 

(11) What is meant by the term hdclqiromid? 

(12) Wh at are "cut-in" 1 et ters ? 

(13) On what side of the letter slK)uld the shade be 
l)laced ? 

(14) (a) What is a "background stencil"? (6) How 
does this dili'er from the regular letter stencil? 

(15) What is meant by the term telescopiny f 

(16) What two forms of numerals are used in modern 

(17) What njaterial is most suitable foi' making stencil 
patterns ? 

(18) For what special class of wcrrk are tin-foil stencils 
used ? 

(19) What style of brush is best adapted for use in 


(20) What styles of letters are best adapted for illunnuated 
capitals ? 

(21) In cutting stencil patterns, what method is safest to 
follow in order to avoid the possibility of cutting off ties? 

(22) How is the design for the second stencil placed on the 
tirst to insure accuracy ? 

(23) \V'hat alphal)et is the mother of all modern styles 
of writing? 

(24) About how many signs may be stenciled before the 
stencil pattern should be cleaned ? 

(25) On what ])art of the letter should the highlight be 
placed ? 

(26) How was the letter W expressed when first intro- 
duced into the alphal)et? 

(27) When letters are placed on an inclined panel, what 
position should they be given ? 

(28) What is meant by tlie term condeii^iny f 

(29) What is the difference between mechanical and free- 
hand lettering ? 

(30) What are the "ties" in stencil patterns? 

(31) In what way did the invention of the pi'inting press 
directly benefit the art of writing? 

(32) On what angle shoidd the shade of the letter l)e placed? 

(33) Of what importance is letter^face shading? 

(34) What is the "spur" of a letter? 

(35) Where would you ])lace tlie possessive aj)ostrophe in 
the following: "Mens and Boys Clothing"? 

(36) How is the block shade placed on a letter? 

(37) How many forms has the cast shadow? 

(38) A\'hat are the three chief classifications of letters? 

(39) When are colors applied in their dry state? 

(40) Name some of the styles of letters known exclusively 
as "American writing." 

(41) For what })urpose is the stencil pattern used? 



Sign Painting. 

Lettering and Sign Painting. 

(1) At what angle should a lettering table be inclined? 

(2) Of what material are transparent signs usually made? 

(3) How is a design transferred to a brass plate for the 
purpose of embossing? 

(4) For what purpose are large wooden letters used? 

(5) How are parts of the brass plate protected where it 
is to be left unetched? 

(6) How are aluminum and gold bronze applied to a sized 
surface ? 

(7) What is a neutral color? 

(8) What is the priming coatf 

(9) What acid is used for etching brass plates? 

(10) For what purpose are metal letters used? 

(11) (a) How many compasses are necessary for use in 
sign painting? (6) Describe the largest. 

(12) What is flock f 

(13) In making letters one inch or under, what brush 
should be used? 

(14) What are the primary colors? 

(15) What is the principal use of the T square in sign 
painting ? 



(16) What is the cause of a color creeping after being 
applied ? 

(17) How can a wire sign projecting from a building be 
made to read from opposite directions? 

(IS) What should be the height of a lettering table? 

(19) What name is given to the long-hair l)rush used to 
pick up the gold leaf? 

(20) Describe the transparent shade. 

(21) How is the penetrating qualit}^ of pitch destroyed 
in pine sign boards? 

(22) What gauge of engraving brass is generally used for 
the embossing process? 

(28) From what oil is slow size made? 

(24) How is gold leaf prepared for use where the wind 
is too strong to use the tip? 

(2-5) How should lettering brushes be preserved from 
drying or hardening? 

(26) What are compo signs? 

(27) What two general kinds of size are used for gilding 
on wood or metal? 

(28) What is meant l)y the term tint'^ 

(29) What is the most durable color when exposed to the 

(30) What is used as a backing for pearl filling to produce 
a solid letter? 

(31) What are the principal classes into which colors 
are divided ? 

(32) What mixtures should be used for lettering on 
cardboard ? 


(33) What size is used for Etruscan gilding? 

(34) What is the spectrum shade? 

(35) When are colors in harmony in their combination? 

(36) What color is used in the mixture of size for gold? 

(37) What are rehef letters? 

(38) How is the asphaltum coating removed after the brass 
plate is taken from the etching bath? 

(39) What is a secondary color? 

(40) What is meant by the term cold color? 

(41) How many brushes are recommended as necessary 
for practice work? 

(42) What acid is used for embossing on glass? 

(43) When are colors said to be in contrast ? 

(44) To what depth should the letters be etched in glass? 

(45) (a) What is a xhade of a color? (b) How may 
this be produced? 

(46) How should cotton cloth be prepared l)efore letters 
are applied? 

(47) What is meant by the term itkirm color f 

(48) What materials are used to fill letters etched in 
brass plates? 

(49) On what colors is the glaze shade used? 

(50) In embossed work, to what depth should the acid 
be allowed to eat the brass plate? 

(51) What would be the result if a coat of paint were 
placed over another before the first dried, one being a slow- 
drying and the other a (juick-drying mixture? 


(52) What adhesive material is used in the preparation 
of gilding water size? 

(53) Name two semineutral colors. 

(54) How many methods are there of striping liy means 
of a lettering brush ? 

(55) When is frosting on glass used as a ground for 
lettering ? 

(56) What is considered the least durable color? 

(57) How is a design that is to be gilded placed on a 
window glass? 

(58) What is the best protection against frost that may 
be applied to a finished letter on glass? 

(59) What is maltf 

(60) What mixture of colors produces purple? 





Acid, Bifluoric 2 


" Testiugof 2 


" Material used for resisting 2 


" Use of '2 


Alphabet, ancient Roman, Modifi- 

cation of 1 


antique Egyptian, Modi- 

fication of 1 


half block. Mod- 

ification of 1 


Boston Roman, Modifica- 

cation of 1 


Flemish 1 


French Roman, Modifi- 

cation of 1 


Greek 1 


" Hebrew 1 


" Latin 1 


" " Roman, Modifica- 


Phenician 1 


Samaritan 1 


Altitude of triangles 1 


Ancient Roman alphabet, Modifica- 

tion of 1 


Angular pediment 1 


Antique Egyptian alphabet, Modifl- 


half block. Modification of 1 


Apostrojihe, Origin of 1 


Appearance of spacing 1 



Arc 1 



Background 1 


stencils 1 


Beeswaxdam 2 


Beveled shading 1 


Bifluoric acid 2 


Black cardboard. Lettering on 2 


Block 1 


" shade 1 


Boston Roman alphabet. Modifica- 

tion of 1 


Brass, Etching 2 



Brass plate embossing 2 

Brick or stone panels, Lettering on 2 

Brushes, Camel's-hair 2 

" Red-sable 2 

" required 2 

" Swan-quill 2 

Brush work 2 

C . 

Camel's-hair brushes 2 

Card black 2 

Cardboard, Lettering on . 2 

Card work 

Carriage- or piano-body finish 

Cast shadow 

Circle, Diameter of 

Radius of.. 


Circular arc 
Classification of colors 

" " letters 

Cleaning stencils 

" the plate 


Colors, Classification of 

Drying qualities of 
Durability of 
Handling of 

" Neutral 

" Preparation of 

" Primary 

" Secondary 

" Semineutral 

' ' Warm and cold 



Component parts of a letter .... 

Compo signs 

Condensed letter. Example of 


" aiad harmony 

Correct and incorrect spacing 
Cuneiform writing 













Curve 1 

Cut-in letters, Points to be observed 1 

Use of 1 

Cutting stencils 1 

Cyma 1 


Dam, Beeswax 2 

Dash 1 

Decorations, Ecclesiastical 1 

Defects of surface 2 



Definition of circle 

" " triangle 

Designing inscriptions 1 

" Scope and importance of 1 

Diameter of circle 1 

Ditto marks 1 

Double shade 2 

Drawing board 1 

ink 1 

" pen, To sharpen 1 

the letters 1 

Drying qualities of colors 2 

Durability of colors 2 


Ecclesiastical decorations 1 

Effects in lettering , . 1 

" produced by letter-face light- 
ing and shading 1 

Egyptian, half block, and French 

Roman 1 

Ellipse 1 

Elliptical and round panels 1 

Elongating 1 


Kmbossing brass plates 2 

" on glass 2 

Enamel white finish 2 

Enameled cloth, Lettering on 2 

English, Old 1 

Equilateral triangles 1 

Etching brass 2 

Etruscan gilding 2 

Example of condensed letter 1 

Exclamation point 1 

Experience and theory 2 




Face 1 

" of letter, Lighting and shading 1 

" " " Treatment of 1 

" ornamentation 1 

Figures, Geometrical 1 

Filling etched letters 2 

" in and outlining 1 




Sec. Pagi . 

Fine line 1 13 

Finish, Carriage- or piano-body 2 17 

Finishing coat 2 25 

Flemish alphabet 1 61 

Flock 2 15 

Forms, Ornamental 1 30 

Foundation work 2 16 

Freehand and instrumental draw- 
ing. Definitions of 1 12 
" " mechanical letter- 
ing 1 12 

French enamel white finish 2 16 

French Roman, Egyptian, and half 

block 1 

" " Modification of 1 

Frosting on glass 2 

Full block and Roman 1 

Fundamental styles 1 

" " Modifications of 1 


Gable 1 

Gas-pipe signs 2 

General rules 1 

(reometrical figures 1 

Gilding 2 

" Etruscan 2 

" Materials necessary for 2 

Method of procedure 2 

" on glass 2 

" " wood or metal 2 

Outside 2 

" size 2 

water 2 

(ilass, Embossing on 2 

" Frosting on 2 

Gilding on 2 

'■ Lettering on 2 

signs. Unlimited 2 

Glaze shading 2 

Gold leaf 2 

Greek alphabet '.. 1 

Grotesque letters 1 

Ground finishes 2 

Grounds for stenciled letters 1 

" Variegated 1 



Half block, Egyptian, and French 

Roman 1 

Handling of colors 2 

Hands, Position of 2 

Hanging a sign 2 

Harmony and contrast 2 

Heavy highlight I 



Sec. P(ujc. 

Hebrew alphabet 1 4 

Heraldic shield 1 35 

Highlight 1 27 

Heavy 1 26 

History and general use of illumi- 
nated capitals 1 32 

" of alphabet 1 2 

How work should be sent. 1 74 

Hyphen 1 21 

Ideograms 1 

Illuminated capitals, History and 

general use of 1 

Importance and scope of designing 1 

" of spacing 1 

Improvised appliances for sign 

painting 2 

Incorrect spacing 1 

Inking in 1 

Inscription designing 1 

Instrumental and freehand draw- 
ing, Definitions of 1 

Interlacing 1 


Interrogation point 1 

Irregular-surface lettering 1 

Isosceles triangles 1 


Latin alphabet 1 7 

" Roman alphabet, Modifica- 
tion of 1 57 

Left-side shading 1 22 

Letter-face lighting and shading, 

Effects produced by 1 25 

" " ornamentation 1 31 

Letter shading 2 30 

" stencils 1 48 

Lettering, Effects in 1 35 

Freehand and mechan- 
ical 1 12 

Irregular-surface 1 28 

Mechanical 1 62 

on black cardboard 2 33 

" brick and stone panels 2 34 

" " cardboard 2 33 

" " cotton sheeting 2 32 

" enameled cloth 2 33 

" glass 2 34 

" " plastered surfaces 2 34 

" " plates 1 75 

" silk 2 33 

Letters, Classification of 1 29 

Sec. Pac/e. 

Letters, Component parts of 1 18 

" Condensing 1 35 

Cutting in 1 27 

Elongating I 36 

" Grotesque 1 31 

Metal 2 35 

Ornamental... 1 29 

Proportion of 1 46 

Relief 2 34 

" " ornament .^.. 1 30 

Spacing of I 14 

Wooden 2 34 

Lighting and shading. Letter-face 1 25 

Light, Reflected 1 42 

Loop 1 .55 


Marks, Ditto 

" Quotation 

Material for stencils 

" necessary for gilding 
Materials used for re-iisting acid 
Mechanical and freehand lettering 

" lettering 

" styles 

Medium-slow size 2 

Metal, Gilding on 2 

letters 2 

Method of applying smalt 2 

" " describing an ellipse 

Methods used in sign painting 

Modern styles 

Modification of Ancient Roman 


Modifications of antique Egyptian 


half block 

" Boston Roman 


" French Roman 


" " fundamental styles 

■' " Latin Roman 

alphabet 1 


Neutral colors 

Numerals, Arabic 


Oil gilding. Size for 

Old English 

Origin of the apostrophe 
Ornamental curves 


See. Page. 

Ornamental forms 1 

" letters 1 

Ornamentation, Letter-face 1 

Outlining and filling in 1 

Outside gilding 2 

(!)x-hair writers 2 


Elliptical and round 

" Rectangular 

" Rococo 


" and pencils 

" stencils 


Part panels 

Patterns, Stencil 

Pearl filling 

Pediment, Angular 

Pencils and paper 

Pen, Ruling 


Phenician alphabet 

Plastered surfaces, Lettering on 2 

Position of hands 2 

Practice and material 2 

Preliminary directions for lettering 

plates 1 

Preparation of colors 2 

" " surfaces 2 

Primary colors 2 

Proportion of letters 1 

Punctuation 1 

Purpose of a drawing 1 

"stencils 1 


Qualifications necessary for sign 

painting 2 

Quick size 2 

Quotation marks 1 


Radius of circle 1 

Rectangular panels 1 

Red-sable brushes 2 

Reflected light 1 

Relief letters 2 

" ornament letters 1 







" shade 


" Results of 


Right angled triangle .. 
Rococo panels 













Roman and full block 1 

" numerals 1 

Round and elliptical panels 1 

Rules for punctuation 1 

General 1 

Ruling pen 1 


Samaritan alphabet 

Scope and importance of designing 

" of sign painting 


Secondary colors 


Semineutral colors 

Sending work 






Beveled 1 

Glaze 2 

" letters 2 

ribbons 1 

the left side 1 

Transparent 2 

Shadow, Cast 1 

Sheet-glass signs 2 

Sheeting, Lettering on 2 

Shield, Heraldic 1 

Sliow-card work 1 

Sign painting, Improvised appli- 
ances 2 

■' Methods used in .- 2 
" " Qualifications nec- 
essary 2 

" " Scope of subject 2 

tools 2 



Signs, Compo 2 

Gas-pipe 2 

" on brick walls 2 

Sheet-glass 2 

Transparent 2 

" Wire 2 

Silk, Lettering on 2 

Simple combinations 1 

Size for gilding 2 

" " oil gilding 2 

" Medium-slow 2 

" Quick 2 

Slow size 2 

Smalting, Method of application 2 

Spacing, Appearance of 1 

stencils .. 








Spacing, Correct and incorrect 

" Importance of 

" of letters 


Stencil, Background 

" cutting 

" patterns 

" signs 

Stenciled letters, Grounds for .. 
Stencils, Cleaning 

" Materials for 

" Paper 

" Purpose of 



Stroke '. 

Styles, Fundamental 

" Mechanical 


Variations of 

Superfine brown-sable writers. 
Surface, Defects of 

" Preparation of 

Swan-quill brushes 










Testing bifluoric acid 2 

Tin-foil stencils 1 

Tools necessary for sign painting ... 2 

To sharpen drawing pen 1 

Transparent shading 2 

signs 2 

Treatment of face of letter 
Triangle, Right-angled 

Altitude of 
Definition of 

T square 


Unlimited glass signs 
Use of acids 

" " the comma 

" " water colors . 

Variations of styles 
Variegated grounds 

Sec. Page. 


1 61 

1 48 

2 15 
1 2 


Warm and cold colors 2 11 

Water colors 1 38 

White finish, French enamel 2 16 

Width 1 13 

Wire signs 2 36 

Wooden letters 2 34 

Wood or metal. Gilding on 2 23 

Writers, Ox-hair 2 5 

" Superfine brown-sable 2 5 








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