Why Traffolyte is Alright

More reasons to use Traffolyte signage

A Traffolyte Valve Disk with valve name

A Traffolyte valve disk with a valve name.

One of the greatest things about Traffolyte is its use in labelling. Lettering is well defined and legible with text on a high contrast background. They are often used on electrical installations as the plastic does not conduct with electricity. This was why Metropolitan Vickers invented it for their Trafford Park works in 1927 (hence the first six letters of ‘Trafford’ forming its name).

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A full English breakfast

Pound Coin Design Could Have Been Fry-Up

Second most popular design idea for new Pound coin was a full English breakfast

A full English breakfast: also a failed pound coin design concept. Image by Felix Furo (via Shutterstock).

Bad for circulation? The tails side of our new Pound coin could have been a traditional fry-up. Image by Felix Furo (via Shutterstock).

A case of bacon bad or foreseeable circulation issues? In a recent competition to design the new look Pound coin, the second placed design idea was a full English breakfast. According to The Times newspaper, the Royal Mint’s Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers, received over 6,000 entries. Besides the winning design, there was some 30 to 40 distinct subject areas. The Great British Breakfast featured prominently.

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Teeth Brace Engraving

A Putin and Trump Engraving on Your Teeth?

Unusual engraving project fulfilled to commemorate Trump’s and Putin’s telephone conversation after Trump’s inauguration

Teeth Brace Engraving Image by Studio La Magica (via Shutterstock).

Imagine this beautiful smile being besmirched by a portrait of your favourite political figurehead? Image by Studio La Magica (via Shutterstock).

This, without a doubt has got to be the strangest engraving related story we have come across. It is one where engraving’s role in cosmetic dentistry meets a bizarre customer request. A while back in the Daily Express, we learned of a patient who went to a dentist in Sochi, Russia for porcelain crowns and veneers. This is the most run-of-the-mill part of an unusual story.

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Lollipop Lady, Bournemouth

Laser Etching and its Role in Road Safety

How laser etching is being used to create illuminated lollipop signs

Lollipop Lady, Bournemouth (image by Lewis Clarke). Could laser etching lead to illuminated lollipop signs?

On a clear day, a normal lollipop stick would suffice. In dark or dull conditions, the use of laser etching could be good for illuminated lollipop sticks. Image by Lewis Clarke, 2010 (Creative Commons License 2.0 – Attribution-ShareAlike).

The lollipop lady or lollipop man is a stable of British life. They enable children to cross the road safely, to and from school. Over the last forty years, their uniform has changed, which makes them more visible to motorists. Over the same period, the lollipop signs they wield haven’t changed at all. That was till Andrew Turner found a solution to this problem. Laser etching has also made this possible.

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2p coin comparison

Could Your 2p Coin Be Worth £100?

How a 1983 two pence coin went for a pretty penny over the last three month

In one of our previous posts, we looked at how a Jane Austen £5 note went for an astonishing £50,000. Today, Able Engraving and Design have learned of another cash windfall. This time, we recommend checking the sides and backs of your sofa for coppers. A 1983 2p coin went for a substantial amount.

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Merry Christmas stockings

Merry Christmas To All Our Customers

Able Engraving and Design would like to wish all our customers old and new a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas stockings image by Babich Alexander (via Shutterstock).

We at Able Engraving and Design hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year. If you’re one of the lucky people with a fifty grand fiver (see our previous post), it’ll be a Merry Christmas indeed.

Whatever way you choose to spend Yuletide, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We also like to thank you for your custom over the last year, and hope to see you again in 2017.

Able Engraving and Design, 16 December 2016.

Merry Christmas stockings image by Babich Alexander (via Shutterstock).

new five pound note

These Engraved £5 Notes Can Be Worth Up To £50,000

New five pound notes (front and back).There has been much talk about the new plastic £5 notes which have been introduced across the country. The interests that have been spoken about a lot of these notes is the immunity to liquids and the certain serial numbers which are being sought after by collectors. It is said some collectors have been paying 40 times the value of the fiver with the serial number ‘AA01′ being the most highly prized.

In the latest development, 4 of these brand new fivers could cash in at a whopping £50,000. A micro-engraver who goes by the name of Graham Short has surprised people by putting 4 fivers into circulation which contain a mini engraving of Jane Austen.

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Royal Mint London

A Look at the New Pound Coin

How the intricate engraving of the new pound coin will deter forgers

The last six months have been an interesting one for collectors of banknotes and coinage. In the last two months, we have been getting to grips with the new plastic fivers. Next year will see the arrival of a new, smaller £10 note. About to make its way in March 2017 will be the new pound coin. Since the arrival of the original ones in 1983, they have been the most forged coins in Britain. Telltale signs of which include the weight of the coin, materials, and its text around the sides.

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Metal typeface block

More Typefaces for Engraving

Another selection of suitable typefaces for engraving trophies and plaques

As we said in the first part, a well thought out typeface speaks volumes about your company’s image. Context as well as clarity is another aspect, and this is profound with engraving and etching. Here’s another selection of ‘must-use’ typefaces. This time, we are focusing on serif typography.

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Metal typeface block

Suitable Typefaces for Engraving

Our look at suitable typefaces used for engraving trophies and plaques

Your chosen typeface says a lot about your company’s corporate image. For example, the Design Research Unit’s Rail Alphabet screams ‘British Rail’ – even in an age where individual rail franchises choose their own typefaces. You expect to see a sombre though classy typeface for a funeral directors’ business (Comic Sans MS will never do). From the smallest of startups to the mightiest of multinationals, clear typography is everything.

With all the typefaces we can download, free and paid-for, we could go crazy and play with decorative fonts. Sometimes, less is more; with engraving and etching, clarity matters. Here’s our selection of ‘must-use’ typefaces, starting with Sans-Serif typography.

Part One: Sans-Serif


Microsoft’s Arial Bold is one of the best-known, and most widely, distributed typefaces on any computer system. Created in 1982 by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders, the Arial family has subtle differences to similar sans-serif fonts, which is why it can be mistaken for similar typefaces like Helvetica Bold or Univers Bold.

Best for: direction signs, room numbers, and plaques.

Helvetica Bold/Helvetica Black

Max Miedinger’s most famous font family was created in 1957 and – like Arial – has its roots in the earlier Akzidenz-Grotesk typeface. It is an excellent all-round typeface for publicity materials but its use in the world of engraving makes for clear lettering that can be read from a distance. It has inspired a fair number of similar typefaces like the Rail Alphabet, Frutiger, and to some extent, Jock Kinnear’s and Margaret Calvert’s Transport typeface (which you see on today’s road signs).

Best for: direction signs, room numbers, and plaques.


If you have an Android-powered smartphone or digital tablet, you may come across this font on a daily basis. Christian Robertson’s Roboto typeface was designed in 2012 for Google’s devices. It is also free to download and makes for a good alternative to Arial and Helvetica. Roboto Bold and Roboto Black typefaces are good for signage whereas the regular Roboto font is suitable for engraving onto trophies. Roboto Black and Roboto Bold Condensed is suitable for headlines.

Best for: direction signs, room numbers, plaques, and headlines (Roboto Black/Bold Condensed).

Helvetica Compressed/Futura II Extra Bold

For the best part of 50 years, the Helvetica Compressed and Futura II Extra Bold typefaces have been a popular choice for newspaper headline text. Owing to their striking nature, they are suitable for being read from a great distance.

Best for: signage and headlines.

ITC Avant Garde

Created between 1970 and 1977, Ed Benguiat’s Avant Garde font family was never committed to hard type (which, in other words, means we didn’t see the typeface in metal type form). Starting out as a phototypesetting based face, it was a popular choice from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. The Medium, Demi Bold, and Bold weights are suitable for signage whereas the Book and Medium variants are suitable for engraving trophies.

Best for: direction signs, room numbers, and plaques.

In Part Two…

For the second part, we shall be looking at serif typefaces and mulling over which ones would be suitable for engraving work.

Able Engraving, 26 September 2016.