I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit with Allen V. Hershey’s fonts. The well-meaning mod.sources Usenet Font Consortium conversion from the 1980s broke a few of the glyphs, and there’s no machine-readable version of the original NTIS data that I know of.
Curiously, Hershey’s data format is a lot closer to what we might want to use now than the mod.sources reformat. There’s some very 1980s Unix-culture-knows-best hubris in the original posting:
The font data in this distribution may be converted into any other format EXCEPT the format distributed by the U.S. NTIS (which organization holds the rights to the distribution and use of the font data in that particular format). Not that anybody would really want to use their format… each point is described in eight bytes as “xxx yyy:”, where xxx and yyy are the coordinate values as ASCII numbers.
While I embarked on a project to convert the fonts to a modern format — scruss/AVHershey-OTF: Simple OpenType versions of subsets of the Hershey vector fonts — the fonts are a pain to work with:
they use no accepted typographical conventions whatsoever;
they’re stroke fonts, where modern font rendering uses filled areas. In theory, PostScript RIPs can render stroke fonts (the first version of Adobe’s Courier was a stroke font, and was hideously ugly) but they’ve been trying hard not to for decades;
they’re made up of straight line segments, so even with best-efforts rendering they’ll look juddery;
there are thousands of glyphs, all presented without description and in pretty much the order that made sense to Allen Hershey alone. Even the task of mapping that to Unicode is more than enough for one person. Then there’s the Kanji to deal with (which I didn’t).
There are lots of fonts out there that are prettier and easier to use than the Hershey fonts. It’s remarkable that millions of dollars worth of computer time were allocated to this project in the 1960s.