Font for DEC indicator panels

Jon Elson elson at
Tue Nov 13 10:11:49 CST 2018

On 11/12/2018 08:51 PM, Fred Cisin via cctalk wrote:
> IFF DEC used a commercial font, then it should be possible 
> to find it.
> But, it is extremely likely that they did NOT use a 
> commercial font, and either had their graphics art people 
> draw the characters as needed, or used reference patterns 
> of their own that are NOT incorporated into a computer font.
> Were these DEC "fonts" fully formed, or a very fine bit 
> pattern?
Well, how DID they make panels?  I'm guessing that in the 
beginning, it was all done manually with photo/optical 
technology, the same stuff they used to make boards.  Also, 
used to screen print part numbers on sheet metal, power 
supply parts, etc.  So, they may have gotten pre-made 
letters on some kind of carrier sheet, and transferred them 
to a mylar sheet, and then photographically reproduced that 
onto a master phototool, which was then used to make the 
silk screen.  This would be all standard technology to 
anybody making PC boards in the 1960's - 1970's.

While DEC got big enough to do this all in house or have one 
of the providers in this area make it for them, they also 
might have just picked a font they liked from somebody's 
catalog.  A LOT of advertising signage and all sorts of 
graphics arts stuff was done by hand with photographic 
technology at that time.  Bishop Graphics comes to mind as a 
provider of transferable lettering and of course, DIP 
component patterns and such.

I suspect that they didn't get into any digital graphics 
technology until at least the later DEC-10 systems, so mid 


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