[TUHS] Berkeley Font Catalog

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Mon May 15 05:16:59 AEST 2023

PS I should probably add a small PS on the timeline.   I got the vcat stuff
from Ferin when I was still at Tektronix [where we had the two other
members of the three 'Graphics Killer-Bs' -- Kelly Booth and the late John
Beatty working with us in TekLabs during sabbaticals].  This was 2 years
before I headed down to UCB myself.


On Sun, May 14, 2023 at 3:11 PM Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:

> On Sun, May 14, 2023 at 2:17 PM segaloco via TUHS <tuhs at tuhs.org> wrote:
>> Hello, I've just today secured purchase of an original 4BSD manual and
>> papers set and a copy of what I believe is the V6 papers set as well.  Of
>> note amongst the tabs I could read from the pictures of the Berkeley binder
>> was a section of fonts that I don't think I've seen before named the
>> Berkeley Font Catalog.  I did a bit of searching around and didn't find
>> anything matching that on first inspection re: scanned and source-available
>> BSD doc collections.  Anyone got the scoop on this?
> Sure
> The Berkeley Font Catalog was a collection of 200 bpi fonts that could be
> used with vcat - the virtual  CAT/4 typesetter and old tools like some of
> the original EE cad editors like Ken Keller's and another from Tom Ferrin
> at UCSF. The bulk of them was a copy of the Hershey Fonts [
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hershey_fonts] and a number of fonts
> specialty fonts, such as a set for typing chess, that had been developed
> originally for the XGP at CMU, MIT, and Stanford.  Between the 3 ARPAnet
> sites, there was a lot of mixing and matching.  Note: I should have a Xerox
> copy of them from one of the UCB docs in my files. They are on a BSD tape,
> I would look in the contributed area, but I don't remember.   There is
> likely troff input to print the catalog (using vcat), but again I am trying
> to remember where any of that was in the distribution kits.
> FWIW: a few months back, Rob has corrected the history that the original
> vcat(1) was Canadian in origin.  I thought that Ferrin had his hand in an
> early version that came to UCB (This is likely an example of the side
> comment sometimes used, that joy peed on it to make things smell like UCB,
> as Tom was across the bay).  I also thought Tom had collected much of the
> catalog originally; and while I could be smoking something here -- I seem
> to remember that he also had some sort of Stanford connection with some of
> his graphics work [the UCSF and Stanford medical schools - were doing 3D
> graphics for medical diags at some point].   Tom was a graphics guy, and I
> know he was mixed up in some of that so it would have made sense for him to
> be somehow involved.  It was not for a few years later, when Barskey showed
> up at UCB that there was any serious graphics work being done -- before
> that, only ECAD tools like's Ken and later Oster's.
> Clem
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