The Keuffel & Esser Company invented a mechanical lettering tool called Leroy. The date of the invention is unclear. The History of Cartography, Volume 6: Cartography in the Twentieth Century (2015) claimed the Leroy lettering template was patented in 1919. However, such a lettering tool was not found in Keuffel & Esser’s 1921 product catalog.
In 1926, two publications mentioned the “Leroy Lettering Pen”. Telephony, July 3, 1926, printed the article, “Use of Graphics in Accounting Work”, and said
... The main mechanical appliance is the lettering template, which is rather simple in design and very easy to use; the lettering in all the charts shown is executed by the use of these templates and a special called the “Leroy Lettering Pen” which is adapted for use with these templates. It might not be amiss to mention here that these templates and pens are also being used quite extensively in regular draughting offices, for the reason that a more uniform size and style of letter can be constructed with their aid than can be accomplished by hand. …
Industrial-Arts Magazine, December 1926, published a classified advertisement.
Divider Compasses—$10.00 per dozen. The very best for school work. Edgar Bourquin, 1353 Main Street, Waltham, Mass. Manufacturers of Leroy Lettering Pens.
Keuffel & Esser had offices in Hoboken, New Jersey and Montreal, Canada, which required filing copyrights and trademarks in both locations. The Canadian Patent Office Record and Register of Copyrights and Trade Marks, September 19, 1933, had this entry for Leroy.
N.S. 640. Keuffel & Esser Co. N.J., a Corporation of New Jersey, Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.A., and Montreal, Quebec. Word: “Leroy.“ Wares: Lettering Sets, Lettering Templates, Lettering Pens, Lettering Scribers, Lettering Styli and Lettering Pencil Holders. Date of first use: March 1st, 1926. Date of registration: February 27th, 1933.
The first use date of Leroy in Canada was 1926.
The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, September 4, 1934, had this entry for Leroy.
The first use date of Leroy was 1932 and the trademark was granted in 1934.
The Leroy lettering tool was described as an adjustable scriber in a patent filing published in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, August 13, 1935.
In the comic book industry, Leroy lettering was used by a number of publishers, notably M.C. and William Gaines’ EC Comics. The mechanical lettering was done by Jim and Margaret Wroten who had many comics clients. Another business that did Leroy lettering was operated by Robert N. MacLeod.
Robert Nolte “Bob” Macleod was born on September 25, 1921, in Jersey City, New Jersey, according to his World War II draft card. His Social Security application, at Ancestry.com, said his parents were Everett H. MacLeod and Gertrude B. Nolte.
In the 1930 U.S. Census, MacLeod and his parents were Bogota, New Jersey residents on River Road. His father was a carpenter at a theater.
MacLeod’s father passed away in 1933. An obituary appeared in Hackensack Record, New Jersey, July 29, 1933.
MacLeod’s mother remarried. The 1940 census said MacLeod, his mother and stepfather, Samuel J. Lothian, lived in the Bronx, New York, at 238 West 238th Street.
On February 16, 1942, MacLeod signed his World War II draft card. His address was 61 Gautier Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey. At a later date, his address was updated to General Delivery, Kingman, Arizona. MacLeod was employed at the Western Electric Company in Kearney New Jersey. He was described as five feet eight inches, 170 pounds, with brown eyes and hair.
MacLeod enlisted on June 16, 1942, in Newark, New Jersey. He was stationed in Kingman, Arizona where he married Josephine Garrison on February 2, 1943.
MacLeod was with the Air Force at the Las Vegas Gunnery School in Nevada. Hospital records at Ancestry.com said he was treated for heat exhaustion (July 1945) and stomatitis (September 1945). MacLeod’s Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File said he was discharged on October 21, 1945.
MacLeod was not yet been found in the 1950 census. By the early 1950s he had a graphic arts studio in Manhattan, New York City. (It’s a mystery when his interest in commercial art started.) The 1953 Manhattan city directory listed MacLeod at 65 West 45th Street. MacLeod advertised in Art Direction, June 1954.
Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History, Second Edition (2011) said
… In 1953, Ace and Gilberton both used the Bob MacLeod studio for Leroy-lettering penciled pages. Meyer A. Kaplan, managing editor of Classics Illustrated, recruited [Lou] Cameron and Lin Streeter to freelance for the series. ...
At one point, [Billy] Friedman was no longer using letterers. We were going to Bob McLeod’s [sic] studio. He was doing LeRoy lettering and Lou hung out there. That’s where I usually saw him. We had to go to McLeod’s to pick up our work after he lettered it. I was doing some advertising work, too, and McLeod did paste-up lettering for me. I don’t remember much about my conversations with Lou, but I remember he was going out with a very young girl. I don’t know what happened, but McLeod, I think, was very upset about this. [Note: Lou married this woman, and subsequently divorced her, though they had children together. —Jim.] Lou was a very funny guy, but I really had very little to do with him because we didn’t spend much time together.Bob McLeod was a straight guy. He and his wife were very nice people. She was a singer at Radio City Music Hall. I was really just in and out of there. The “in” was one thing, but getting out was something else, because he was a talker.
Who’s Who in Finance and Industry (1971) included a profile of Phil (Phyllis) Cameron who was the 1941 Brooklyn-born daughter of Frederick Louis Zuber and Johannah Franz. From 1957 to 1958 Phil worked part-time at MacLeod’s studio where she met Cameron. She was Cameron’s personal editor and secretary from 1958 to 1967. They had two daughters, in the mid-1960s, but did not marry until 1966 in Brooklyn. “Louis Cameron” and “Joan P. Zuber” obtained a Brooklyn marriage license, number 6820, on June 16, 1966. They divorced in 1967 and Phil, again, found a job with MacLeod.
The 1959 and 1960 Manhattan directory listings said “Robert N Macleod Inc 30 E 20 GRmrcy 7-4540”. Soon, MacLeod entered the field of publishing. Collecting Model Car and Truck Kits (2001) said
… Arguably the first and best of the original generation of model car magazines, Car Model magazine began in 1962 as an effort of Auto World owner Bob Koveleski and his business partner Robert MacLeod. ...
The debut issue of Car Model was dated July-August 1962. MacLeod was co-publisher with A.M. Koveleski. The office address was 30 East 20th Street which was Robert N. MacLeod Inc. With the April 1967 issue, “Phyllis Cameron” (divorced in 1967) was the art editor of the magazine. The September 1967 issue said she was the art director. Phil was editor beginning with the September 1968 issue. She wrote about herself in January 1969.
I’m Phil Cameron, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., but now an expatriot living in New Jersey. I’ve been in and around the publishing field in various capacities for eleven years. Since CM Publisher Bob MacLeod gave me my first job in this field, my last two years with CM, first as Art Director and now editor, have been sort of like the return of the native. …
Her last issue was July 1971. Phil probably quit because the magazine moved from New Jersey to Phoenix, Arizona according to the indicia in the September 1971 issue. (I believe she is alive and well as Joan Phyllis Brannen, in Florida.) MacLeod oversaw the final issue of Car Model dated April 1973.
MacLeod passed away on January 8, 1984, in Phoenix. An obituary appeared in the Arizona Republic, January 10, 1984.
Robert Nolte MacLeod, 62, a graphics artist for Central Graphics, died Jan. 8, 1984, at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Mr. MacLeod, of 6802 N. 17th Ave., moved to Arizona in 1961 [sic] from his native New Jersey. He served in the Air Force in World War II. Survivors include his wife, Louise; daughter, Robin Alsberg; and three grandchildren. Private services were arranged by Brown’s Maricopa Mortuary, Phoenix.
(Next post on Monday: Percy Grassby, Designer, Engraver and Calligrapher)