Calligraphy


1948 Massed Start

The following was submitted by Michael Fabian of San Francisco: "I believe the painted Gothic style script lettering was probably applied by my late friend, Dick Swann. Dick was the shop manager at Hetchins for quite a few years and also worked at Maclean's and other high-end shops of the day. I knew him when I worked alongside him at Kopp's Cycle in Princeton, N.J. Among his many talents were calligraphy and painting, and he used these skills to hand-letter many bikes with the owner's names. And not just high-end bikes -- I used to see numerous examples of "junk bikes" with people's names painted in a fancy gothic style on the top tube. When I see the owner's name painted on the top tube of a Hetchins I always smile and think of Dick." This page shows some samples of his work while in Hetchin's employ in the UK. At least six frames are known to have survived with gothic dt lettering: 1948 Massed Start, 1948 Earls Court (Hyman's own), 1956 Magnum Bonum, 1970 Italia, 1973 track bike, and a SuperSpecial Six-Day. Numerous frames survive with tt lettering.










  

  

  

Postscript: the following was submitted by the owner of one of the above-featured frames with dt logo: "It has been wonderful to learn about the calligraphy of Dick Swann and the down tube label decoration! For years I thought my bike was incorrect as there were no other Hetchins with dt examples like it. Then when I saw the "Hetchins own" and other frames on your site, and the lettering was identical, I realized my bike was probably original and unusual after all. Now, learning about Dick Swann has added an interesting footnote to having this bike. Thanks for including the calligraphy dt logo into the 'transfer' page."  From ugly duckling to beautiful Swann, eh? Sorry, couldn't resist that. --Ed.

Dick Swann can be seen in the foto below; he's the man grinning on the track bike.


Dick Swann, on bike, 1960


Lettering since about 1990, for new production as well as renovation, is computer-generated as a transfer. The clear substrate surrounding the text is visible (below).






The lettering on the Experto Crede from 1958, pictured below, is almost certainly a transfer; the fine black outline would have been too difficult to do by hand.




Last but not least department: the following frame has unique hand-painted lettering. It is not known whether this was done by Dick Swann or a later re-sprayer. It is a 1967 Hellenic with Vade Mecum Mk I lugs.







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