old train station lettering

anyone know what this typeface is?

Comments

Done by machine. I do believe.

Whats that mean?

Any digital equivalents?

You can try Highway Gothic or Interstate Condensed for a close alternative.

- Lex

Or [[Rian Hughes]]' new Ministry, the British Ministry of Transport typeface.

> Done by machine. I do believe.

> What's that mean?

What Tiff means is that this kind of lettering is output device-specific: it is a set of characters that is produced specifically for a certain type of stamping machine. This means it originally had no equivalent in what we know as "type". These alphabets only existed for stamping machines to make these train station signs. Some of them were digitised afterwards, like Tobias Frere-Jones did with the American Highway type and Rian Hughes with the British Ministry of Transport face. But they made a selection of character shapes and changed them where they deemed it necessary, so you won't find an exacty match to your examples.

Other examples are alphabets available for the stamping machines that produce automobile license plates, for sowing and embroidery machines, for stone engraving et al. It just is a different world. In some rare cases you’ll find alphabets that have digital font counterparts, but more often than not they will be unique to that reproduction system.

>British Ministry of Transport

Sorry Yves, there’s no such thing any more, the Department for Transport uses Bliss and Helvetica.

Tim

EDIT: that explanation clears it up

thanks! this is good to know.

but more often than not they will be unique to that reproduction system

Nicely put.