Original Factory Lettering! Is It Still Out There?


1936 Chris Craft Time Capsule! Very original. But is it factory lettering?

If you look on your Hull card, or factory build sheet, sometimes you will be lucky ..or unlucky enough to see the name of your boat on the order for the factory to letter. You are unlucky if the boat was called IPLAP or something like that which was the fist letters of all the kids names. You have permission to change that. BTW, there is a proper way to do that. Just google it. but if you are lucky enough to have a cool name. Like Thunder Runner or in my case WECATCHEM.


WECATCHEM on Hull card!

Then part of the name is the font she was done in. Its all part of her DNA. The issue becomes more complex when you mix in the fact that all the lettering was hand done. And yes there are countless examples of lettering done by modern folks that letter. BUT, is there a factory look to lettering. And if so, shouldn’t it be part of the judging of your boat? After all that’s the way it came from the factory. Right?

Wecatchem film clip 4

Film Clip of WECATCHEM the year she was delivered to IWIN Marine. Same look and feel but in Aluminum. Like WEE DON?


The two fonts are very close. The W and N have a slight bend in them But has a color border.


Lettering exposed. But the boat was refinished in the late 70’s So was this traced over the original?It feels VERY close.

Factory Lettering fb

Jara at Katzs Marina traced the type to save it. It will be lettered this Friday in Aluminum

Old Photo Lettering

Old Photo, great lettering. Same serif and feel.

So. is there a reference for factory fonts? I don’t know? We are asking the universe! not to be confused with Univers, which is a font. Not a boat font.

27 replies
  1. Matt
    Matt says:

    Also with that story, the more we dive in, when you look at the Wee Don font and the WECATCHEM font, they are closer than the WECATHEM font. Details make the difference. The font on WEE DON looks hand done is not consistent and the way the strokes flow are part of the hand look!

  2. Mark Edmonson
    Mark Edmonson says:

    This was done by the late Ed Posey, a Chris Craft Employee from Marine City MI, that worked at Algonac for over forty years this was the original font for pre-war. Ed was responsible for post war CC logo

  3. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    Matt is right its all in the details, at least for me. some people don’t seem to care about factory correct or get a little bent when the boat is to perfect but for us its what makes it fun and keeps it interesting. Especially when your restoring multiple boats a year. My though is if we didn’t pay attention to what was factory correct then in the distant future it will all be lost. The factory used mostly aluminum leaf early on for the Chris Craft script on the sides so it doesn’t surprise me that names came that way from the factory. I really don’t think there were fonts back then as much as there where styles from guys that did hand lettering. I researched this a little when we did the 2 1929 28′ Triples and found the lettering styles were very similar back then with just slight variations to certain letters like different artist did there own thing but kept the block lettering style. I don’t know if Chris Craft had some say in this or if it was just up to the artist. Here is on factory photo from 1929 or 1930 on a 28′ limousine.

  4. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    Hijacker was the name on the hull card from the factory but there was no evidence on the boat when we restored it. This is what we came up with for the lettering style. Again I’m pretty sure back then they where all done in aluminum leaf with a black outline.

  5. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    I’m far from a factory correct guy (snaps?) but I think too many boats are perfectly restored and then ruined by how the name is done. First, if you’re spending big money on restoration, it’s not the time to cut corners with vinyl lettering because it’s just so visible. Get real aluminum or gold leaf, hand cut, and outlined with a real paintbrush as God intended. And unless your boat is very postwar, lettering only, in a font that fits the era of your boat. It’s easy to look at photos and get darn close, especially since it will all be done by hand anyway. Sorry for the rant, but I come from advertising and design and those aesthetics really matter to me.

    Finally, a story. Last year I had Rabbit parked at the dock of a restaurant on my lake. I came down after lunch and there was a man in his 80’s or 90’s just staring at my transom. He had a couple of guys in their 20’s with him. I said hello and one of the younger guys explained that their grandfather had done gold leaf his entire life and was just admiring the work. Then the older man repeated what I just said above: Too many people don’t pay attention to the font.

  6. Matt
    Matt says:

    Thanks guys. The font from Chris Craft looks like it varied from a thinner font on the sides than the transom. Which makes sense. You dont want fat letters on the side of the boat. HIJACKER btw is one of those perfect names, done perfectly!

  7. Matt
    Matt says:

    I also like the black outline! I would bet that WECATCHEM was aluminum with Black not red. The red feels a bit forced, and the factory unless told would have not done that?

  8. Alan Frederick
    Alan Frederick says:

    Most of the conversation so far has eluded to the fact that the factory used aluminum foil (or leaf) but the early photos show their workmen hand painting either the registration numbers or the transom names on with a brush. That indicates to me that it may have been either an aluminum or gold type paint and not foil or leaf.
    Just wondering if the show boats with their fantastic burnished gold leaf lettering is really what was done originally or were they just painted by hand? The modern gold leaf looks fantastic but original, maybe not so much.

    • Brian Robinson
      Brian Robinson says:

      You are right Alan. Painted was no charge as long as it included in the original order. Aluminum leaf was a small up-charge, and gold leaf was a little more.

      • Brian Robinson
        Brian Robinson says:

        …and higher-end builders like Hackercraft and Gar Wood would advertise “name and hailing port in gold leaf, no additional charge if received with order”

        The side script prewar Chris-Craft logo was done using a stencil, not truly hand done, in aluminum leaf 99.9% of the time.

  9. Matt
    Matt says:

    Alan that is a great point. I imagine you could do it both ways. I have done aluminum leaf before and its a dullish finish. In the film of WECATCHEM the type glows though, leading me to think it may have been a leaf, but not machined? Very simple?

  10. Brian Robinson
    Brian Robinson says:

    Our old lettering guy, Everett Tibbetts, who worked frequently at the Wilmington, CA Chris-Craft Dealer said he was only allowed to do ‘basic block’ lettering on the new Chris-Crafts that would come in. Pretty boring.

  11. Ron in Seattle
    Ron in Seattle says:

    My lettering gal Nancy Andersen came up with this style trying to capture some originality. With so many letters she made them a bit narrower, but I really like what she did to the ends of each letter.

  12. Ron in Seattle
    Ron in Seattle says:

    ITCHIN’ does not show as being done at the factory on the hull card, although Dick and I know this was the original lettering that was done in 1953.

  13. Matt
    Matt says:

    Here is Sylvia before we renamed her. Her name was lettered at Streblow Boats back in the day. I looked at some original Streblow boats and they had this same style lettering on them. So not all factory lettering would have been block lettering. More post war look I am sure.

  14. Randy Rush Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush Captain Grumpy says:

    Really how do you tell? Was it original? I think you should get points for the original lettering especially if its on a hull card.
    But all thats a rich guys game, im a bastard Vinyl kind of guy !
    font i believe is “leave it to beaver”

  15. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    The original style that Chris Craft is so much more classy than most of the names put on today. When installing a name I perfer a style that is appropriate to the period. I also perfer names that could have been on the boat when new. I feel names like “Class of 57”. And “Legally Blonde”, “Money Pit” and other modern names are really dated, show little thought, and hurt the whole appearance. No name on a boat is far better in my opinion than a bad name. Also names dont always have to appear on the boat. We have had several boats that were named but no name ever appeared on the hull. Just like the NY Yankees uniforms.

  16. Steve
    Steve says:

    Original name as on the build sheet, is this the original style for 1931?
    Can’t tell from the original picture. Help.

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