Address numbers in transom? Historical significance to jazz in the 40's, 50'd, 60's? TYPE ID

cmitch5's picture

Address numbers on an old residential hotel on Chicagos south side. The hotel had a popular jazz club located off the lobby and a lot of the building elements are connected to early jazz culture. Wondering what typeface these numbers are.

Working on a project for the building and would love to find the history of the typeface and see if there is any jazz crossover. My gut says no but I would love to research further.

Thank you as always for your time and thoughts. I truly appreciate it.

transom_numbers.png794.87 KB
Mark Simonson's picture

No typeface there. Both are the work of sign painters, who follow their own rules for making letters (and numbers). A different but parallel world from type.

cmitch5's picture

Thanks Mark.
So there is really no way to dat it correct?

oldnick's picture


Signpainters who wanted to keep up with the latest trends for many years subscribed to Signs of the Times magazine, which included tips, tricks and new display alphabets every month. The main branch of the city library may have back issues if you feel like going on an archæological dig. This site might help, too:

Mark Simonson's picture

A sign painter might be able to help, especially an older one. I don't know enough about the history of various sign writing styles to date it. It was probably painted relatively recently. Paint doesn't last forever outdoors. However, that doesn't mean the style is recent. Old signs get repainted periodically.

cmitch5's picture

This is all very helpful. Thank you Mark and thank you oldnick. I really appreciate the tips.

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