ASCII art from 1943

While reading this article on "ASCII art in 1939", I remembered a carbon copy which I found in an old atlas. It's a portrait of president Franklin D. Roosevelt, made on a typewriter in 1943 by my father Roger Van Braekel, then 13 years old and living in nazi-occupied Belgium.

I asked him how he made it. "I saw it in a youth magazine called 'Ons Volkske', and I copied it character by character", he recalled. It was called "typewriter art" back then, as the ASCII standard didn't emerge until 1967.



Elliot Essman


Philosophically, when you boil it all down, this shows how complex simple elements can be -- infinitely complex.


dominiek de schepper


dit tijdstip kan me geen ballen schelen

back to history lessons kids!




Nice little history Luc, your dad did a good job.
You are right to be proud!




"When I was young and blindingly handsome (you can, alas, scrap the former now)"
Mike: I suppose we should not scrap the latter?




I really love those Mechanix comics. It reflects the atmosphere of the optimistic view upon the future we had until the early 70s. As a kid I really dreamt of this science-and-technology future (the Jetsons!), but in the 70s this kind of real progress was blocked by a 'new' ideology that put a brake on all our futuristic aspirations: environmentalism. It robbed us of our <vooruitgangsoptimisme> (does anyone know how to translate this word in English?), it robbed us of our ... future,calling our view upon the future 'naive' though it was this view that already for 200 years had enabled mankind to make real progress. Now they are at last achieving a total stop in progress in Europe, and call it ... progress. I consider environmentalism an even greater threat to mankind than socialism, with which it is however inseparably interwoven.


Peter Fleming


Now we know where Luc got his Americano-philia from


Outlaw Mike


And Kudos to Roger VB!!! Actually doing such a thing was not without risk. It would have been better for his health had he asciid Uncle Adolph.


Outlaw Mike


When I was young and blindingly handsome (you can, alas, scrap the former now) I used to read "Ons Volkske" weekly. It was a cartoon magazine and some main characters were "Dommel", a big fat silly white dog of unspecified race, Chick Bill (a cowboy), Robin Hood, Jugurtha etc etc. I preferred "Robbedoes" however. On the whole there were more bikinis in that one, plus, they had Natasja, you know, the stewardess with the fantastic knockers. Btw, Huug, at first sight I too thought it was Gorby.




@Filip: "Het Volkske" was the weekly youth addendum of "Het Volk", see .

But there was also a weekly magazine "Ons Volk", see and "Ons Volkske" was probably the youth addendum of "Ons Volk". And probably unrelated to newspaper "Het Volk".




If I remember right, "Ons Volkse" was the weekly addendum for the youth of the newspaper 'Het Volk".




Actually, at this moment my father is in doubt whether the magazine was called "Ons Volk" or "Ons Volkske".




Knap. Ik dacht eerlijk gezegd eerst dat het 'Gorbi' was. ;-)


Björn Roose


Read a number of copies of "Ons Volkske" when I was younger (it still existed in the seventies), where amongst others "De Gouden Stuntman" was published.

Nice typewriter art. A lot better than the stuff we made when in typing class :-)




Nice.. And nice story to go with it.

Totally different : my favourite recording of ASCII Art made on an old Siemens "Fernschreiber 100" in 2004 -