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Gas-pipe Lettering

This style of lettering was most common in the 1930s–50s, but used up to the 1980s. It’s typified by a simple, almost modular construction of even strokes and rounded corners on a rectangular grid (think pipes!). American signpainters called the standby style “gas-pipe”, and it was a speedy way to get clean, simple letters up on a board or wall. The shapes are easy to learn and quick to produce and space. Flat- or round-topped ‘A’, ‘M’, and ‘N’s are common. Sometimes strokes end at a jaunty angle, but usually these alphabets are fairly straightforward throughout.


Instructional Models

“Speedball Pen Manual” by Ross F. George
“Schrift” by Ernst Bentele, p52 “Schrift” by Ernst Bentele, p53 “How to make show cards” by Charles Arthur Miller, ca. 1916

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