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1940 Standard Oil Streamline Moderne Filling Station Facade Font Identification, Size Assessment, & Re-creation Advice

Go to solution Solved by Member Tye…,

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Group outsider here, hoping someone may have niche knowledge that will unlock this mystery.  Posting directionsspecify to provide as much background information as one can, and so I strove to do so.  I’m in the process of bringing a streamline moderne 1940 Standard Oil filling station back to life again.  The front curved façade originally had “STANDARD oil products” metal lettering on it, in individual letters on two successive lines.  The style of these letters is very similar to Broadway font, but the uppercase letters “S” and “R” are way off, and the height on the referenced façade letters seems proportionately taller than Broadway letters, to my untrained font analyzation eye.  Someone suggested trying GT Broadwayfont, but again that is also off in the ways noted.  This could well be a font created or customized by Standard Oil designers in the late 1930s-early 40s only for the façade on this style of building, and that the only letters that were ever designed were the ones necessary to make up the “STANDARD oil products” sign, and also to make up the “SERVICE”, “lubrication’, and “washing” sign letters in this same font that were sometimes installed on Standard Oil filling stations of the same period.  

Additionally, the proportion of the letters to one another is important here (wanting same-sized as original letters to be able to cover the holes left in the brick façade from the install of the original letters) - I cannot tell if the “STANDARD oil products” words all share the same font size and just differ in height due to the normal height differences between uppercase and lowercase of this font, or if the word “STANDARD…” is in a larger font than the words “…oil products”.  The actual (as installed on façade) height of the uppercase “STANDARD” letters is believed to be the same height as the existent “SERVICE” letterson the façade of a separate building on this same property (having what appears to be the same font style as the “STANDARD oil products” lettering), and that is 16.25”.  The lowercase “oil products” letters have a calculated height(determined from measurement of known heights of other items from a period photo) of 8.125” and 11.25”, dependent on the letter.

My research could not locate even one existent example of this lettering still on a building.  Luckily, there was a professional period photograph of my building taken, and I have attached it hereto, as well as a zoom-in of the facade lettering cropped from that photo.  I have also attached three other photograph:  one is a photograph of a vehicular fender-bender adjacent to my rounded front building clearly showing the curved façade with the lettering; a second photo that I took of the existent “SERVICE” letters from the other building on this property (again it appears to be the same font style); and a third that is a period photograph of a different Standard Oil building displaying the words “lubrication’, and “washing” that appear to be of the same font style.

I have spent days of time analyzing approaches to this façade lettering issue, as it is very important to the history of this building to get this right.  Input from multiple sources, with any nugget(s) of information that could unlock this mystery, are more appreciated than you know.  

Here are the specific questions:

Can anyone identify this font or have any history concerning if it were a corporate designed font?  I looked to the extent I knew how and could not find that it was trademarked by Standard Oil.

Does the font appear to be the same size in all three words?

Where might I find an electronic version of this font (free or cost basis) that I can use when writing project status brochures for the public?  If no electronic version is available, recommendations on entities who could replicate letters of known appearance, and newly create those that have no existent examples?

Here are a couple questions for forum members who may have knowledge of companies that produce letters for buildings:

Any recommendations on companies that would be able to duplicate these letters if the font type is determinable, and also then even if the font is indeterminable?  Would a letter production company typically be able to produce matching font letters with rounded edge that are about 1” in total thickness, or is a flat letter with matching font as good as it will likely get for this application without spending major funds?  

Is a vector file what I would submit to a letter production company to have these letters made, and could such acompany produce rounded edge letters from a flat vector file? 

Thank you for any assistance you can give on unlocking this mystery.  I have done diligent research on my end on this, all to no avail, thus submitting to you.E7584A6D-5D3C-4C8E-BAA7-C442D6A81C6A.png.dde7718f959c14a0954c81f097dacbd1.png





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Ralf Herrmann

The way we use the term font today doesn’t apply. It’s custom lettering made for this specific purpose, not “typeset” text. (More details

For a reproduction, you can ask any skilled type designer or lettering artist to create a vector version from the pictures and then hand that over to a signage company. 

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This is the first significant development in this font identification mystery in the 1 1/2 years year search!  Mr. Gecko, your supplied font example has the closest uppercase letter match that I have seen during the timeframe of my search.  The uppercase letters S, T, N, D, and E do have slight differences.  The difference therein is perceptible when one does a careful side by side comparison, but the diffences “fade” when one looks at one - then pauses - then looks at the other.  The lowercase letters all appear close, but there are more appreciable differences in each.  It seems as if the lowercase letters were an afterthought to the Broadway style fonts.  

Thank you so much for taking the time from your busy day and coming up with this!  Not having experience in font and typography related matters, is this likely as close as exists, or shall I continue a quest to find a precise match?  If it weren’t for these letters being something I will be looking at for multiple times per day of each month of each year, I would not be so diligent in this regard.  Please advise as to that question.

Back concerning my original posting which Mr. Herrmann graciously replied to, here are follow ups, in addition to the above question, for the Typography Guru community:

Does the font size appear to be all the same in the ssupplied photos of the “STANDARD oil products” lettering signage?

Where might I find an electronic version of the font that Mr. Gecko supplied (one that I can download and use to make brochures, either free or cost basis)?

Where in the U.S. Midwest can I find a skilled type designer or lettering artist, as Mr. Herrmann referenced, who can create a vector version, and are there signage companies that you can recommend that can create these letters in 7/8” thick material and with a rounded edge?  If Typography forum members can perform this, please respond.

A big thank you to your community for providing meangingful input into this, and requesting your consideration for follow up in the areas noted.  Tye

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Tye - so I went back and zoomed in closer and modified the typeface to fit closer.

Of course that second look or another pair of eyes on a project is always a good thing.

This typeface was created based upon, the photos you provided and other typefaces from the same Art Deco period.

I can send you the typeface as it is and also Vector Files - just send me your email address so I can forward them to you.


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Sorry for the delay in responding - have been preoccupied with restoration efforts on the station.  A second tremendous Thank You to Mr. Gecko for the font alterations!  I had no idea that you had actually CREATED this letterset.  Amazing.  Mr. Gecko, I attempted to message you to give you my email, but upon attempt, the response message noted, “Your account has not yet met the minimum content item count requirement to send personal messages.”  Accordingly, Mr. Gecko could you message me instead with your email address so that I may respond back?  Once you message me, could you post again to alert me to access the message?  Thank you.

Additionally, is there anyone in the typography forum community who has working knowledge of sign letter creation who could respond to the questions in my 3/2/21 post above concerning signage companies that one could recommend that could create these needed letters in appropriate height (largest 16.25 inches tall), and 7/8 inch thickness, and with rounded edges?  

Thanks again Mr. Gecko and the typography guru forum community.  Tye

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Tye I sent a message to you with my email address.


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  • Solution

The efforts of Mr. Gecko have culminated in reviving a specific font that has been in hibernation for 80 years.  As I noted to him, the ability to create a document in modern times that one cannot discern from a period created document is the pinnacle of re-creation efforts.  Mr. Gecko, sir, your efforts reach that pinnacle.  

Thank you to everyone in your community whom read my posting and pondered its content.  It’s nice to see how people spanning the globe can collaborate to achieve success.   Tye

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