Explanation of Words & Phrases Used in this Site

"Architectural" refers to numbers and letters designed to be installed on buildings and other similar structures. Our pieces are tested for endurance in exterior weather conditions. The testing facility is in Cannon Falls, Minnesota so these pieces are exposed to the harsh weather of northern winters. Colored pieces are designed for color fastness. Certain finishes are not adequate for conditions such as high humidity regions, corrosive environments such as salt water locales, or long and searing sunlight. We indicate on the various specification pages the condition for which a finish or a mounting process is not recommended.

Cellulose Acetate Butyrate is a highly impact-resistant plastic consituting our formed and injection-molded house numbers and letters. CAB is made from cotton and wood fibers. This product is manufactured from a renewable resource and is recyclable.

Molten metal poured (cast) into a mold of a number or letter and then allowed to cool in the shape of the mold. See a video of cast process here. See the various Finshes Specification pages for further discussions of materials and manufacturing.


Flat sheets of acrylic or metal are the form of material from which our numbers or letters are cut. These sheets are manufactured in various approximate thicknesses, e.g. 1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4", & 1".

An industrial laser is used to cut the acrylic. A water-jet is used to cut the metal.

See the Specifications page for Cut Acrylic or the various finishes pages for Cut Metals for further discussions of finishes and manufacturing.


Measurement of the distance from the face to the back of a number or letter. See "Return" below. For Cut Metals the depth call-out is a nominal size.

Actual depth depends on the type of metal, the producing plant, and other factors. Cut Metal depths will vary slightly from the indicated measurement.

Thin strips (22-guage in most cases) of stainless steel alloys c304 or c316 are welded together to form the face and returns (sides) of a number or letter. The mounting hardware is installed by welding stud bosses within the hollow backsides of these pieces. See the specifications for various fabricated finishes for further discussion of finishes and types of stainless steel.

The look of a piece after it has been finished (completed) with a certain process. Different finishes include painting, staining, brushing, or polishing. For example, clear-anodized brushed aluminum is raw aluminum finished with a final process  applying a low-gloss, clear powder-coat.

"FOB-Prepaid-&-Add" is a description of how we deal with freight. We deliver your items to an indicated carrier and agree with the carrier to pay the freight charge on your behalf. Your Order will contain an initial estimate of such. If the actual charge increases or decreases when we receive the shipping bill we will adjust your Invoice balance and either increase or refund the amount you owe. If we adjust your shipping cost, upon request, we will provide the invoice from the carrier showing the actual charge for the freight.

The style is the design for a set of letters, numbers, & punctuation patterned after selected fonts. NOTE: Many of our styles have been modified for effective display as architectural numbers and letters. These styles will differ from those of a similar font name that derives from a source not associated with this web site. You may submit a font style that is not in our collection. We will gladly produce, if feasible, your numbers or letters from your submitted style. For Cut or Fabricated pieces, if you supply a font file or if we have such in our fairly extensive collection, we will not charge for this service. If we must purchase the font from a supplier we will add the cost of such purchase to your order.

Flat, heated, pliable plastic sheet is drawn by vacuuming against a  mold of numbers or letters. See a video of formed process here. The result is a number or letter "formed" shell-like within the mold. Technically this process is called thermo-forming.


Our style sizes or material heights are labeled with a "nominal" height.

Styles do not have a uniform height. Digits with a curved top and/or bottom, such as 0 and 3, will usually be taller than the "nominal" height. At an 8" nominal height this variance may be +1/2".

The measurement given for a particular style is usually applicable to a number or letter with flat edges on the top and bottom - see for example, Helvetica's number 1.

Measurement of distance from top to bottom of number or letter. Height & width are the distance of the vertical and horizontal sides of a level rectangle holding the level, measured piece & where the edges of such piece touch the sides of the rectangle.

Heated, molten plastic injected under pressure into hollow spaces of a closed steel mold. For house numbers & letters the  mold's hollow space is in the form of these numbers or letters. See a video of injection process here.

Our standard Polished Finish consists of polishing the faces of the number or letter. The returns (sides) of the piece are either bead-blasted or sanded. Recently, we acquired the ability to polish both the faces and the returns. This premium process requires much time-consuming labor and is much more expensive than our standard polished finsh. We are happy to quote prices for the premium polishing.

The side of a number or letter. Distance (depth) of the return is measured from the face of the piece to the back edge of the piece.


Each of our finishes pages includes a section on specifications. We pay particular attention to the metal alloys and plastic types from which our product is manufactured. Why is such detail important?

Frequently, in physical or web retail stores you will encounter retailers that do not list in detail the ingredients of their products and who offer "attractive" prices. These are instances where buyer beware. For example, there are numerous aluminum alloys. Some aluminum is derived from recycled products that may not be suitable for long-term durability as architectural signage. Some metal alloys may contain toxic lead or mercury. We list the ingredients of our products to assure that they will last and that they are safe. You can indepently verify these qualities and be assured that they are the finest choices for architectural signage.

The distance between the back edge of the number or letter and the wall to which it is mounted. Stand-off is created by placing spacers (small metal tubes) over the studs so that a letter or number is held off the wall.  Standoff is used to create a drop-shadow effect or to allow easy painting of the wall surface without marring the number or letter.


The width of the various face elements of a number or letter. The Americana Bold number 4, for example, has a vertical, a horizontal, and a diagonal stroke. The "stroke" measurement will consist of the narrowest and widest widths of these 3 strokes.

When the measurement of a style's stroke has a range such as 1/4" to 1/2", the style has an asymmetrical stroke - see for example Americana Bold.

When the measurement of a style's stroke is a single dimension such as 1/4", the style has a uniform (symmetrical) width for all the face elements - see for example, Ribbon

Note: Measurements are approximate and subject to variations produced by the manufacturing processes.

A stud is threaded (all-thread)  aluminum or stainless steel hardware that screws into the rear of the number or letter. (See the illustrations in the Kit Install section.) By default the stud is c. 2" long. Stainless steel studs are used for large pieces.


Maximum measurement of a number or letter from left to right.

"Average width" refers to the averaged measurement of all numbers and letters in the style.

Height & width are the distance of the vertical and horizontal sides of a level rectangle holding the level, measured piece & where the edges of such piece touch the sides of the rectangle.

Note: Average widths for Numbers are set forth on the individual style pages for Cut Materials. Average widths for uppercase Letters are set forth on our individual style pages for Cast Metal or Molded Plastic. Reminder: Actual widths of selected sizes for certain styles are set forth in the Fabricated Stainless Steel section.