There's beauty to a real tool - a tool perfectly designed for its purpose. The LEROY Lettering Set was such a tool. While fallen to disuse with today's computer-aided design (CAD) and desktop publishing, until the 1970's, this K+E lettering set was a mainstay with draftsmen needing clear printing on engineering, mechanical, and architectural drawings. A very manual operation, a person traced letters in a deeply-grooved template while an attached ink pen copied the movements onto the drawing. Still, the LEROY Lettering Set became a standard.
Evidence of a tool’s use is proof of its utility. The scoring, wear, and stains found on tough surfaces of the Scriber in this photo indicates a well-used tool. The instrument shown was used regularly for nearly 40 years. A modern digital still camera captures the underside of the Scriber showing the deep engraving of the well-known manufacturer and its intellectual property rights.
Scriber for a LEROY Lettering Set, circa 1950's
Click the image to bring up a high-resolution image.
To appreciate more historic engineering tools-of-the-trade, including a peek at a real K+E catalog, follow the Tools link.
Most of the "Titles" on these web pages are constructed using an old LEROY Lettering Set. The backwards slant of the template makes an interesting change from today's common forward-leaning italic fonts. The thick horizontal bar is actually the guide grove of the ruler from which the letters are traced. Unfortunately, interesting wear marks of the tracing template are masked by the image scaling process necessary to make them properly fit the web page. But you can still see them if you know where to look.