Taking pictures with these monstrosities was a complex process that required the user to adjust a number of functions in order to get the desired outcome. All those complex adjustments meant a great deal of information had to be present on the cameras and thus we have a typographic gold mine. Etched exposure knobs, aperture rings, film speed suggestions, canister loading instructions and of course the manufacturers logo mark.
It looks to me that we have gone backwards, not forward in terms of camera aesthetics today; none of them make ’em like that anymore. (Via Theo Inglis)