This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
In drawing a letter that is to be incised in stone it is customary to show in addition to the outline, a third line about in the center of the space between the outside lines. This additional line represents the internal angle that occurs at the meeting of the two sloping faces used to define the letter. An example is shown in Figs. 24 and 25, while in Fig. 7, taken from drawings for a building by McKim, Mead & White, the same convention is frankly employed to emphasize the principal lettering of a pen-drawn title.
Fig. 4. Italian Renaissance Alphabet, according to Sebastian Serlio.
For the purpose of devising a letter that may be drawn with one stroke of the pen and at the same time retain the general character of the larger, more Classic alphabet, in order that it may be consistently used for less important lettering on the same drawing, it is interesting to try the experiment of making a skeleton of the letters in Figs. 1 and 2. This consists in running a single heavy line around in the middle of the strokes that form the outline of these letters. This "skeleton" letter, with a few modifications, will be found to make the best possible capital letter for rapid use on working drawings, etc., and in a larger size it may be used to advantage for titling details (Fig. 9). It will also prove to be singularly effective for principal lettering on plans, to give names of rooms, etc. (Fig. 13), while in a still smaller size it may sometimes be used for notes, although a minuscule or lower case letter will be found more generally useful for this purpose.
Fig. 5. Title from Drawings for the Jersey City Public Library, Brite & Bacon, Architects.
Fig. 6. "Skeleton" Construction of Letters shown in Fig. 2.
In Fig. 6 are shown four letters where the skeleton has been drawn within the outline of the more Classic form. It is unnecessary to continue this experiment at a greater length, as it is believed the idea is sufficiently developed in these four letters. In addition it is merely the theoretical part of the experiment that it is desirable to impress upon the draftsman. In practice it will be found advisable to make certain further variations from this "skeleton" in order to obtain the most pleasing effect possible with a single-line letter. But the basic relationship of these two forms will amply indicate the propriety of using them in combination or upon the same drawing.
WEST SIDE BUILDING FOR THE CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING COMPANY, CLEVELAND, OHIO.
Watterson & Schneider, Architects, Cleveland, Ohio. For Detail, See Opposite Page; for Exterior, See Page 170.
DETAIL OF WEST SIDE BUILDING FOR THE CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING COMPANY, CLEVELAND, OHIO.
Fig. 7. Title from Drawing of Building for the Knickerbocker Trust Co., New York.
McKim, Mead & White, Architects.
It will be found that the letter more fully shown in Fig. 10 is almost the same as the letter produced by this "skeleton" method, except that it is more condensed. That is, the letters are narrower for their height and a little freer or easier in treatment. This means that they can be lettered more rapidly and occupy less space, and also that they will produce a more felicitous effect.
In actual practice, the free capitals shown in Fig. 10 will be found to be of the shape that can be made most rapidly and easily, and this style or some similar letter should be studied and practiced very carefully.
Other examples of similar one-line capitals will be found used with classic outline or blacked-in capitals on drawings, Figs. 3, 5 and 7.
In Figs. 8, 9 and 13 these one-line letters are used for principal titles as well, and with good effect.
In Fig. 10 is shown a complete alphabet of this single-line letter, and the adaptability of this character for use on details is indicated by the title taken from one and reproduced in Fig. 9. In the same plate, Fig. 10, is also shown an excellent form of small letter that may be used with any of these capitals. It is quite as plain as any Engineer's letter, and is easier to make, and at the same time when correctly placed upon the drawing it is much more decorative. This entire plate is reproduced at a slight reduction from the size at which it was drawn, so that it may be studied and followed closely.
Fig. 8. Title from Architectural Drawing, Claude Fayette Bragdon, Architect.
Fig. 9. Title from Detail.
Fig. 10. Letters for Architectural Office use.
Fig. 10 should be most carefully studied and copied, as it represents such actual. letter shapes as are used continually on architectural drawings, and such as would, therefore, be of the most use to the draftsman. He should so perfect himself in these alphabets that he will have them always at hand for instant use.
Fig. 11. Single-line Italic Letters, by Claude Fayette Bragdon.
The alphabets of capital and minuscule one-line letters shown in Fig. 11 are similar in general type to those we have just, been discussing, except that they are sloped or inclined letters and therefore come under the heading of "Italics." The Italic letter is ordinarily used to emphasize a word or phrase in a sentence where the major portion of the letters are upright;
Fig. 12. Drawing, by Claude Fayette Bragdon.
but where the entire legend is lettered in Italics this effect of emphasis is not noticeable, and a pleasing and somewhat more unusual drawing is likely to result. If it is deemed advisable to emphasize any portion of the lettering on such a drawing, it is necessary only to revert to the upright form of letter for that portion.
The single-line capitals and small letters on the usual architectural plan or working drawing are illustrated in Fig. 13, where such a plan is reproduced. This drawing was not one made specially to show this point, but was selected from among several as best illustrating the use of the letter forms themselves, as well as good placing and composition of the titles, both in regard to the general outline of the plan and their spacing and location in the various rooms. It is apparent that it is not exactly accurate in the centering in one or two places. For instance, in the general title, the two lower lines are run too far to the right of the center line, and this should be corrected in any practice work where these principles will be utilized. It may be well to say that the actual length of this plan in the original drawing was thirteen inches, and the rest of it large in proportion. The student should not attempt to redraw any such example as this at the size of the illustration. He must always allow for the reduction from the original drawing, and endeavor to reconstruct the example at the original size, so that it would have the same effect when reduced as the model that he follows.
The letters for notes and more detailed information should be much simpler and smaller than and yet may be made to accord with the larger characters. Such a rapid letter as that shown in Fig. 10, for instance, may be used effectively with a severely classical title. Of course, no one with a due regard for propriety or for economy of time would think of using the Gothic small letter for this purpose.
The portion of a drawing shown in Fig. 14 illustrates another instance of the use of lettering on an architectural working drawing. The lettering defined by double lines is in this case a portion of the architectural design, the two letters on the pendant banners being sewn on to the cloth while those on the lower portion of the drawing are square-raised from the background and gilded. Single-line capitals are used in this example for the notes and information necessary to understand the meaning of the drawing.
A drawing of distinction should have a principal title of equal beauty, such as that shown in Fig. 5 or Fig. 7. The excellent lettering reproduced in Fig. 12, from a drawing by Mr. Claude Fayette Bragdon, is a strongly characteristic and individual form, although based on the same "skeleton" idea as the other types of single-line lettering already referred to.
Fig. 14. Upper Portion of Drawing for Otis Memorial Arch, Claude Fayette Bragdon, Architect.
The "skeleton" letter, formed on the classic Roman letter, displays quite as clearly as does the constructive system of Al-brecht Durer, the distinctively square effect of the Roman capital. The entire Roman alphabet is built upon this square and its units. The letters shown in Figs. 22 and 23 are redrawn from rubbings of old marble inscriptions in the Roman Forum, and may be taken as representative of the best kind of classic letter for incision in stone. The Durer letter, while a product of a later period, is fundamentally the same, and differs only in minor, if characteristic, details. However, for purposes of comparison it will serve to show the difference between a letter incised in marble, or in any other material, and one designed for use in lettering in black ink against a white background.
Fig. 15. Advertising Design, by Addison B. Le Boutillier.