Speed Lettering 13 – train speed and the logotype [Column_Letters & Figures]

cnw_logo.jpg: MTL32230 represents C&NW logotype

As I mentioned before, Italic fonts didn’t have the meaning or intention of speed at their origin; it is said that the original purpose of creating the italic font was to save space/expensive paper in 15c.

Also mentioned before is that I think the meaning of speed of the italic fonts was generated when railroads began adopting them to their logotypes.

As far as I know, the first class 1 railroad who introduced speed lettering herald is Chicago and North Western (and subsidy Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha) in 1891. Following is Great Northern in 1895, Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic in 1905.

Here is my question this time; why C&NW and the followers introduced italic fonts for their logotypes?

First, I came to the thought that these pioneers were speed conscious. So I compared the speed of trains using the Sep. 1966 Official Guide of the Railways. I should use Official Guide printed in the 1890s but I don't have any.

I calculated the tabular speeds of famed named trains run by class 1 railroads.
For example, NYC’s train No. 25, the Twenties Century Limited departs New York on 18:00. Running entire 960.7miles, the train arrives Chicago on 10:00 the next day. Therefore the train’s tabular speed is 960.7 miles / 16 hours = 60.04 miles/hour.

Average tabular speed of all the class 1 railroads' named passenger trains (43 trains) is 49.69 miles/h.

Average tabular speed of passenger trains run by class 1 railroads who uses regular font for the logotype (35 trains) is 50.13 miles/h.

Average tabular speed of passenger trains run by class 1 railroads who use italic font for the logotype (8 trains) is 47.76 miles/h.

Contrary to the expectation, the average tabular speed of the trains run by railroads who use italic font for the logotype is slower than those by railroads using the regular font.

Thus, I may say that the railroads using italic font for their logotypes run slower trains than those who use regular font for the logotypes. Therefore, it is difficult to say that speed conscious railroads introduced italic font to their logotypes: we cannot find the relation between speed and italic font when railroads began using italic font for their logotypes.

fore mentioned page concerning speed lettering;


筆者がクラス1に分類される鉄道を調べた限りでは、Chicago and North Western(と傍系の Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha)が、1891年に最初に斜体を使用するロゴタイプを導入している。続いて、Great Northernが1895年、Duluth, South Shore and Atlanticが1905年に斜体を使用するロゴタイプを導入している。


まず、先に挙げた、斜体を用いるロゴタイプを最初に導入した先駆者たちと速度との関係について、時刻表(The Official Guide)のデータを用いて検討してみた。斜体を用いるロゴタイプを導入する鉄道の列車の方が、正体(普通の文字)を用いるロゴタイプを導入する鉄道の列車より早そうに思えたからである。




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