Never wildly popular, this alphabet received moderate usage between the 1930s and the 1960s–when it began to decline in usage. Though it was digitized in the memorial design software Craftech in the 1990s, the alphabet never regained an uptick in usage and the software has since been discontinued. Most notably, this alphabet was used on the family monument of famed painter and illustrator Normal Rockwell.
History and Designer
The designer and exact date of creation of the alphabet is unknown, but it was created by at least the early 1940s. The McNeel Monument Company also advertised a hand drawn lettering style named De Luxe Roman in their design books around the same time, but it is unknown whether the Spacerite company was inspired by the McNeel company, or vice versa. In later McNeel books the name was changed simply to “Delux”. The Spacerite alphabet was also listed as “Deluxe” Roman in trade catalogs, though the metal letters themselves brandish the De Luxe name containing the space.
The most obvious distinguishing characteristic of this alphabet is its rounded serifs which curve inward at the center towards the stem, giving the alphabet a more decorative feel. The leg of ‘R’ is more prominent and curves up slightly higher than a typical Modified Roman, and ‘E’ is noticeably narrower at the top than it is at the bottom–a feature that is somewhat present in most cases, though here it has been exaggerated. ‘U’ contains spurs at either side of the base of its curve while ‘J’ does not; and ‘P’, ‘6’, and ‘9’ do not reconnect to themselves where they typically would near the center of the character, instead containing a small gap. Numeral ‘1’ has a slight hook at the top back away from the stem.
The MLC is not aware of the alphabet containing any punctuation other than a bullet and dash. The MLC created all other punctuation to match the style of the letters. An ampersand was also included in the original alphabets, as well as a second slightly wider ‘O’ and ‘Q’ , as well as a two versions of ‘W’; one constructed by overlapping two ‘V’ shapes, and a second with a center apex. These alternate characters are available as an alternate when using software which supports OpenType features.