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American Restoration gets it wrong
November 11, 2010


I'm a fan of the History Channel. I enjoy "Pawn Stars", "American Pickers" and their new show "American Restoration". I love old stuff and the history behind it all. But American Restoration has got me flustered... here's why...

Rick Dale and his crew seem like good guys, but on more than one occasion I've seen them totally miss the lettering and graphics for these restoration projects. Case in point...



This toy train was supposedly recreated from the original sold in 1956. While Rick gives the impression that every attention was paid to detail-- the lettering is flat out wrong. You wouldn't even have to be a lettering expert to notice that the second "E" in the word "express" is obviously taller than the other letters. (see the episode here)

And if you did have any experience with lettering, you would probably also notice that the horizontal strokes on the letters are thicker than the vertical strokes. This is NOT something they would have done back in the 50's. They understood the proportions and importance of the strokes. Horizontal strokes were thinner, not thicker than the vertical strokes. The example shown is something that is an unfortunate byproduct of the computer. These days unskilled individuals don't give a second thought to squeezing some text to fit within a particular area.  After all, it is as simple as grabbing some control handles and squeezing. And that's exactly what happened as evidenced by the "E", "L" and other letters. It's just Futura squeezed!

For a proper restoration, that is just unforgivable. They may have done a bang up job with the rest of the project, but the all-important lettering sticks out like a sore thumb.

Rick... contact us next time you get a project in the shop that involves lettering. We'd be happy to help you out... just for the sake of seeing these projects restored properly.

--Chuck