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In the 1980s I used an MS-DOS scientific word processor called ChiWriter for my dissertation and other documents. It was an early PC application distinguished by its excellence at creating mathematical notation. It was end-of-lifed in 1996.

In 1990 I co-authored a pamphlet about Andy Warhol's films that I'd like now to release as a PDF and I'm trying, not slavishly, to reconstruct its pages from an ASCII export. I've uploaded two paragraphs from the printed pamphlet that show the original paragraph font, monospaced and serifed. I was hopeful using as I had answers to all its questions but all the fonts it suggested were all bold variants along the lines of Bodoni and derivatives.

I'd be interested in an exact identification if there is one but I'd be very happy for suggestions of a reasonable facsimile.

Thanks very much in advance.
asked by (102 points)

1 Answer

+2 votes

Unfortunately, the typefaces for such early word processors were proprietary to those systems, and unless someone has created a digital revival, similar is the best you can hope for in a digital typeface.


No luck finding such a revival.


However, Average Mono is quite similar.

answered by Expert (3.9k points)
Thank you for the quick reply Kevin. I tried formatting my document using Libertinus Mono and it looked good enough for my purposes. But I've considered the Average family for other projects in the past and will give it a look before I publish the PDF.

I'll note that one distinguishing feature of this font is that the bar in the lower case "e" is angled up and to the right; the only other open font I found with that characteristic was Barry Schwartz' Goudy Bookletter 1911 (Google Fonts) which is not a good match for other reasons.

Rather than ask a second question I'll just say that I've used Andale Mono with reduced kerning to approximate the font used for headings. My manual is out of reach at the moment but I seem to recall ChiWriter referred to it as Orator (which I rightly or wrongly associate with IBM Selectric typewriters).

Thanks again.

Orator is one of those rare typefaces that—though originally designed for the IBM Selectric—was eventually released as a Postscript (and now OpenType) typeface for use by graphic designers.


Unfortunately, the roman and italic you posted don't seem to have made the same leap, and there doesn't seem to be a way to convert the old .pft and .sft ChiWriter font formats to OpenType.