Font for DEC indicator panels

Toby Thain toby at
Mon Nov 12 20:45:33 CST 2018

On 2018-11-12 8:49 PM, Jon Elson via cctalk wrote:
> On 11/12/2018 04:14 PM, David Bridgham via cctalk wrote:
>> On 11/12/18 5:04 PM, Paul Koning wrote:
>>> The name of the font translates to "Bold Extended".  DIN 1451 is a
>>> family of fonts, see Wikipedia.  You're looking at one of the members
>>> of the family, the bold wide one.  It's not all that bold, judging by
>>> the pictures; if you need something bolder still you may be out of luck.
>> I hadn't meant to send that message to the list, sorry, but since I did,
>> here it is with Alte Haas Grotesk.
> Hmmm, that one DOES look closer to DEC panels that I remember.
> Jon

The actual font is _not_ Alte Haas Grotesk, however. Alte Haas Grotesk
is only about 11 years old, and is a distressed (novelty) copy of Haas
Grotesk -- which is another name for Helvetica.

Not all the panels are the same font. None are Helvetica (key
characters, like capital R, C, and digits, are obviously different).

Akzidenz Grotesk is closer, especially to RF08 and TC08, but still not a
perfect match for all panels - e.g. the DX11 shows digits, and a capital
C, that is different from AG (and different from RF08 & TC08).

I would probably start with the DX11 panel (more than one font has been
used, but most seem to be like this one). The capital C, M, W, R, X and
digits would be key characters to match in other candidates in the
grotesque/sans family. (For one survey of that family, that puts
Helvetica in relative context, see

So you can only hope to be "close", really. As I said, proper
identification would ideally need better images and access to type
specimen books for the period. I don't currently have access to all of
mine but if you want more effort on this identification I know people
who can help.


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