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Author Topic: Lettering from the 40-50's?  (Read 8613 times)
W8JI
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« on: January 09, 2010, 05:15:20 AM »

I have a beautiful old homebrew transmitter that was built sometime just after WWII. It has a nice wooden cabinet and black painted front panels. I would like to add lettering on the front for all the controls but don't want to destroy the authenticity.

Other than silkscreening, how were letters applied back then or what would look period-correct? I have a girl who works for me who is a very talented artist and can do very detailed and accurate work with paint. She said she could handpaint lettering and lines on the front, but it would take her several hours at least. Is there anything easier that was used for homebrew in the 40's- early 50's?

Tom
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KI4VEO
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2010, 08:36:53 AM »

While silkscreening was used for mass production it is difficult to reproduce.

Radio Daze has some excellent water transfer decals which are easy to use and, when applied with care, are difficult to discern from much of the original slikscreen artwork of the era.

http://www.radiodaze.com/index-alt.htm

I hope you find this link useful.

Howard
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KE3WD
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2010, 10:18:07 AM »

I doubt that any period homebrew piece would have silkscreen on it.

I do have a piece here, an excellent build, homebrew with the black wrinkle finish on it, that has labels from the era or close to it already attached in the form of engraved "plastic" sandwich material, black/white/black stuff.

The label plates are attached with tiny machine screws to the faceplate. Someone drilled and tapped the panel for the four screws for each label plate. Awesome.
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W8JI
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2010, 06:09:59 PM »

I doubt that any period homebrew piece would have silkscreen on it.

I do have a piece here, an excellent build, homebrew with the black wrinkle finish on it, that has labels from the era or close to it already attached in the form of engraved "plastic" sandwich material, black/white/black stuff.

The label plates are attached with tiny machine screws to the faceplate. Someone drilled and tapped the panel for the four screws for each label plate. Awesome.

So engraved sandwich material is period? I guess hand painted lettering would be period also then, since people could paint since cavemen.

Also thanks for the link on trasfers!! What about the dry transfers? Were they were around in the 40's and 50's?? This is a nice old rig and I don't want to add anything out of period.

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KE3WD
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2010, 06:24:55 PM »

Yes, Engraved plastic labeling dates back to the fifties.
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W8JI
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 03:33:56 AM »

Yes, Engraved plastic labeling dates back to the fifties.

Can you still buy it somewhere now?
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KE3WD
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 04:09:03 PM »

Maybe someone somewhere still has a pantograph with rotary etching tool in it and the number/letter guides, don't know.  The plastic plates themselves may also be unobtanium now.  

websearch...

plastic laminate signs and labels
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AA4N
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2010, 05:52:35 PM »

You can still buy a pantograph engraver.  They are fairly common for industrial machine building.  I looked them up at McMaster Carr (www.mcmaster.com).  They sell for $1.5K to $3K.  They also sell the blank laminated plates and the lettering guides.

If you are really slick, you get a CNC engraver Smiley and use CAD to design the lettering.

I bet you could find a pantograph engraver on ebay if you were persistent.

mike AA4N
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W8JI
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2010, 03:33:28 PM »

You can still buy a pantograph engraver.  They are fairly common for industrial machine building.  I looked them up at McMaster Carr (www.mcmaster.com).  They sell for $1.5K to $3K.  They also sell the blank laminated plates and the lettering guides.

If you are really slick, you get a CNC engraver Smiley and use CAD to design the lettering.

I bet you could find a pantograph engraver on ebay if you were persistent.

mike AA4N

I think I am going to have my artist friend paint the panel. She can use the money and it will be cheaper than the pantograph! Heck, I can have a silkscreen made for less than $100.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2010, 06:58:33 PM »

I would take that info as meaning that there is a real good chance that I could still find somebody with the pantograph and plastic plates in business who could perform the small quantity job for me...
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W8JI
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2010, 04:43:48 AM »

I would take that info as meaning that there is a real good chance that I could still find somebody with the pantograph and plastic plates in business who could perform the small quantity job for me...

Say now, that would be a less expensive option!
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KC7YE
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2012, 09:26:32 AM »

Maybe the guys that make Call / Name tags at hamfests could make the lables, think the material is same stuff.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 11:47:40 AM by KC7YE » Logged
KD0REQ
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2012, 11:38:48 AM »

it is.  also check the trophy shops, the tooling is the same, and many of them will have a machine set up for the laminate stock.

there is also enamel-on-aluminum plate stock out there that they should have or have on hand.  in my innocent youth I saw lots of homebrew stuff at the radio station from the 40s and early 50s that was labelled with that material.  the local jewelry shop made them in the day for them.
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AA4HA
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2012, 12:48:06 PM »

A place that have the pantograph, engraving machine and dozens and dozens of different combinations of lettering bezels (foreground colors, background colors) would be "Revere Electric" in Birmingham Alabama. They make all custom bezels and lettering for their industrial control products. Their work is very nice looking and they seemed to have one person who was dedicated just to the task of that type of work.

I have no financial interest with Revere Electric, in fact at my previous employer they were the competition. They are nice people, I do not know how their prices run.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
KD0REQ
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 03:27:29 PM »

I think the rub-on dry transfers were hot in the late 50s and 60s.  I remember Datak ads in PE in the early 60s as the new way to label.
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