I recently received an email that indicated that the Apple 1 was most likely lettered with the Leroy lettering. That email has resulted in a lot of research and exploration of exactly what is Leroy lettering and was it really used for lettering the Apple 1 PCB.
First thing to figure out is what is the Leroy lettering system? It is a system to mechanically create lettering that was intended to generate legible lettering on a drafting table. Engineering documents, maps, architectural drawings and the like were the primary applications.
Here is an image of a K&E Leroy lettering set.
It’s easier to show how it works, than describe it. Here is an image of one set up to make a capital M. The scribe follows the letting in the ruler like jig and ink in the “pen” writes a pretty exact copy of that letter. There are a series of jigs for different sized letters. The scribe tool can be adjust to make the letters slanted in an italic type fashion.
So how do we determine whether this system was used to make the lettering for the Apple 1. The easiest way is to compare the lettering on an actual Apple 1 with an example we know was made with Leroy lettering System.
You can see that the newly created Leroy lettering (bottom) is nearly a perfect match to the Apple 1 (top), so I think that we can be pretty confident that the Apple 1 lettering was made with the Leroy or very similar lettering system.
My next question is whether the SCELBI front bezel was also lettered with the Leroy system.
Though the lettering is very close, there are some differences in the leg on the “R” and the “A” looks a little different. Also the ends of the strokes on the letters have nice square edges, which would not occur in a Leroy lettered system.
Finally, follow this link to see what Wonder Woman comic books have in common with the Apple 1.