This collection of memories developed spontaneously over a period in a CAD newsgroup early in 1997 under the subject of “Old CAD Drafters”. As technology continues to accelerate with no rest in sight, it seemed like a good idea to rescue this collection from being lost forever.
When we migrated content to the new website in 2009, “Old CAD Drafters” got a low priority, but we monitored the 404 Page Not Found Logs to make sure that popular pages were not neglected only to find that “Old CAD Drafters” was right up there as a highly popular page. So we promptly got it back online and have some upgrade plans underway to enhance it further.
As well as some obvious references to skill hard won and now redundant, many of the lines are what can only be called “Dad” jokes. Only other dads and old farts think they are amusing. Others, without the shared experience of manual drafting in the 50s, 60s and 70s and the transition to CAD in the 80s, don’t get the joke, or that warm flood of recall when these phases trigger fond memories of days long gone. That’s why we keep ’em here. It reminds a lot of people of the good old days.
If you have any other drafting-related reminders of the passage of time, feel free to send them to us. We’ll be glad to add them to the list. Thank you to the people past, present and future who contribute to this list.
Header image courtesy of NASA/GRC
Old CAD Drafters
CAD took a grip on the design community when it became possible to create and modify drawings digitally. The automation of pre- and post- drawing stage of technical design came later and continues to morph as technological innovations add to the story. We started this collection of memories back in 1997. A glimpse back in time for those who have never used a drawing board.
You know you're getting old when...
You remember how to control lineweights by rolling the pencil as you draw
You remember that a spline is something you rest weights (ducks) on, to draw a curve.
(A flexible pen/pencil guide, bent through control points on the drawing and held in place by the weights until the line is drawn.)
image courtesy of Bob Perry
Leroy Lettering Set
You are asked if a Leroy Lettering Set is a package of fonts for AutoCAD (and where they can be downloaded)
_ S. Yoder_
image courtesy of Todd Klein
Dress A Ruling Pen
You know how to dress a ruling pen
image courtesy of Tiffany
You are asked why there is sandpaper on a stick in your drawer
image courtesy of Mrs. Laverne E. Denyer
You think you should own stock in the plastic's industry because of all the templates you own.
You rue the day they quit making drafting linen
A compass was for drawing arcs and circles and not finding the North pole
You know that some pencil sharpeners only remove the wood and don't sharpen the lead.
You know that the little piece of thin metal with all of the holes is called an erasing shield.
Your drafting table still has drafting powder in the seams
You still have a drafting table!
You keep your electric eraser out and visible just because it's been such a good friend
You can start out with a completely blacked out sheet of negative paper and scratch out a drawing with a razor blade or scalpel.
When you were lucky enough to get Ralph Smoley (remember Smoley's) to be your teacher for a ICS course in engineering
You have a set of railroad curves.
Image courtesy of Smith Drafting Products, Inc.
You have a beam compass.
When someone says scale, you ask architectural or engineering?
You remember filling your inking pen with an eyedropper, after first adjusting the line width by turning a knurled wheel on the side of the pen and "measuring" the width of the pen points
Slide Rule Icon
You look for the slide rule icon
Your back has formed the perfect curve for the Leroy lettering position
You consider the electric eraser to be a new-fangled gadget invented by the Devil himself.
when you remember that before the plastic foam, everyone had a dark, speckle topped, rubber-band wrapped, roll of frazzled toilet paper on the drafting table
You went to happy hour on Friday nights with drafting tape stuck to the elbows of your sleeves!