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  • Need Help Identifying this WWII font

    I found this picture online on a recent news article about a WWII fighter recently unearthed in the Sahara. I would really love to figure out what font that was used on this sign.

    This image is from a RAF Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk.



    This is from an article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/avia...he-Sahara.html

    And the photo album: https://picasaweb.google.com/1146825...at=directlink#

  • #2
    You'd be better of posting the image itself so people won't have to sift through all the images and figure out which one you mean.
    ___________
    Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.

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    • #3
      Oh, I had the image posted directly into the comments. Sorry about that. Let's see if I can do this better...

      How about that?
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Looks like one of the Copperplate Gothic family.

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        • #5
          I don't think so, Copperplate Gothic has little psuedo=serifs that make it more of a hybrid font. This font is much more of a classic sans serif font...

          http://www.identifont.com/samples/ur...GothicBold.gif

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          • #6
            If it's from the 1940s, it was probably a font pulled out of a drawer — one that was never converted to a digital format. Over the years, I've collected several old type specimen books from newspapers listing the old hot metal fonts they had available. Some are very interesting but were pretty much lost to history as technology changed. I've been tempted to redraw some of them and make real, digital fonts, but it takes way too much time and the financial rewards are too small.

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            • #7
              Well that's disappointing. I was hoping someone had a resource for all the wonderful fonts used during the Great War. Do you know where I could find a copy of the books that you referenced?

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              • #8
                <b> not only that but that old metal plate was probably made on a machine that only had one 'font' installed to make the film (it looks like an etched metal plate or possibly silk screened).

                PS, this font looks like a smallcap version of Gotham (a font that originated in the 30s). I don't think one exists as a computer font but it does look like Gotham.
                Last edited by PrintDriver; 05-12-2012, 01:05 AM.

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                • #9
                  I think < b> is right on this. At first I thought you were referring to metal, amo-loading sign, second row, far right, in the thumbnails. That's Franklin Gothic.

                  I can tell you about the plane—it's a P-40 E. This was the final version of the P-40 and wound up seeing duty with the RAF through lend lease. The Warhawk version of the P-40 was the famous fighter of the Flying Tigers.
                  Last edited by sully1251; 05-12-2012, 01:04 AM.
                  http://www.paulsullivanstudio.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
                    PS, this font looks like a smallcap version of Gotham (a font that originated in the 30s). I don't think one exists as a computer font but it does look like Gotham.
                    Gotham is likely as close as possible. Proxima is reasonably close too. The digital versions inspired or copied from the old type cuts always seem to lack the quirky character of the originals. Notice the unusual shape of the bowl on the 5 — most any type designer today would clean that up, but in the process lose part of what made the face interesting. My best guess is that it's an old Ludlow font, but who knows. Also notice the quote marks — likely from a different font altogether because the typesetter didn't have some of the punctuation mark molds.

                    Originally posted by sully1251 View Post
                    I can tell you about the plane—it's a P-40 E. This was the final version of the P-40 and wound up seeing duty with the RAF through lend lease. The Warhawk version of the P-40 was the famous fighter of the Flying Tigers.
                    This crashed plane reminds me of the old TV movie from the early '70s called Sole Survivor, I think. It starred Richard Basehart and William Shatner. Anyway, the plane, a WWII bomber, crashed in the Sahara after a bombing mission, and the entire crew was killed. However, the crew was only vaguely aware of their deaths and avoided discussing it. Their ghosts hung around the plane for several decades trying to figure out ways to get back home. If I remember right, at the end, the crashed plane and bodies were discovered, so the ghosts finally left with their remains. I'm not sure why that movie plot stuck with me — I might be scrambling it a bit.

                    By the way Sully, I just looked at your portfolio site and your watercolors. Wow! Absolutely gorgeous work! Amazing.
                    Last edited by <b>; 05-12-2012, 03:13 AM. Reason: An addition

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                    • #11
                      Mr. < b >
                      Thanks for the kind words.
                      http://www.paulsullivanstudio.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by <b> View Post
                        By the way Sully, I just looked at your portfolio site and your watercolors. Wow! Absolutely gorgeous work! Amazing.
                        I don't typically go to the portfolios but I accidentally clicked on your link Sully and just went with it and I am amazed at such detail. I never had the patience for detail work. You are very talented and I tip my hat to you sir.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks, Madamanda.
                          http://www.paulsullivanstudio.com

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sully1251 View Post
                            I can tell you about the plane—it's a P-40 E. This was the final version of the P-40 and wound up seeing duty with the RAF through lend lease. The Warhawk version of the P-40 was the famous fighter of the Flying Tigers.
                            Ah, close, but no. The final production variant of the P-40 was the P-40N Warhawk. The RAF and the AVG used the P-40B/C/E versions, all of which were eventually retired in favor of the P-51 or Later Spitfires.
                            "I love deadlines. I love the 'whooshing' sound they make when they go by." - Doug Adams
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                            • #15
                              Gromit801— I was off by a notch:

                              This Royal Austrailian Air Force fighter in question has been identified as a P-40 Kittyhawk. The Kittyhawk was the name the RAF used for the P-40 D.

                              In the late spring and early summer of 1941 the RAF and the RAAF were flying P-40 Tomahawks in North Africa. The Tomahawk was the name the RAF used for the P-40 B, C and E. The Warhawk was the name that the U.S. Army Air Corps used for all variations of the P-40.

                              The Flying Tigers (A.V.G.) began their air defense of China flying the P-40 B Warhawk.
                              None of the P-40s was a match for the Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me 109 or the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.
                              Last edited by sully1251; 05-12-2012, 08:55 PM.
                              http://www.paulsullivanstudio.com

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