Porcelain Neon Signs,,Vintage porcelain Bar sign Federal Signs, OLD SIGNS

Some History of Vintage Signs, Porcelain, Tin, Wood, Masonite, Plastic

Some History of Vintage Porcelain & Tin Advertising Signs, Also Trade signs

                        by Darryl Tilden

Old Vintage signs made out of tin, zinc & later on porcelain have been around & advertising products for centuries.. Many of these signs have been  used to sell products & have been used as art.  Like the Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Among these old signs are illustrations of  Cobblers, Bakers, Blacksmiths and even Brothels just to name a few.  They sold their products to the public and masses of people. From these professions came an early form of sign usually in the shape of the trade and they were called trade signs..Others were opticians who used giants eyeglasses, A simple hand formed zinc Horse head that advertised a stable, or a large Cow head for a Meat shop.  Antique Signs, Collectible Signs, Old Signs Vintage Porcelain & Tin Advertising Signs.

   Painted wooden signs were introduced in the 18th century in a variety of shapes, they were displayed to show the product they were selling.  Tavern or Boarding Rooms for instance…

Population exploded in the early 1900’s and an increase of new products & advertising were introduced..

Beer porcelain sign Moehn brewing Beer, Vintage Porcelain & Tin Advertising Signs
Porcelain Moehn Brewing company Beer sign

Vintage Porcelain & Tin Advertising Signs

 Also education was becoming mandatory and people could read these signs so they took over the trade signs. Also metal became much more prevalent and they also lasted much longer than wood, Signs now were made in shapes like circles, rectangular, square & some were even die cut or embossed. These signs appeared outside of establishments like Hardware  stores to advertise the products and brands sold in that store.

           The earliest signs may have actually been made of “wood, but these did not last long and porcelain over steel took off in the early 1900’s. These signs lasted forever  and are still used today.  They are expensive to make and many companies will use tin painted signs.   Porcelain signs have become some of the most collectible among the collectors of advertising. This is because of the beauty of the colors & long lasting properties of porcelain. Look at the one pictured on the right  from the turn of the century (or late 1800’s) from the Moehn Brewing Company from Iowa….

Porcelain sign for the Dense Plant,Old Signs, Vintage Porcelain & Tin Advertising Signs
ARSENAL of Democracy Defense plant porcelain sign

    There was a minor stop in usage of steel or tin signs during the event of WWII .The industry then went to Masonite  which was a lot like wood and they did not last or hold up well.

Vintage Porcelain & Tin Advertising Signs

    It is ironic at this time when steel was so precious  that if you donated 10% of your sales from your company to the war effort, you would receive one of these Defense Plant signs as a reward to mount to the outside of your building. 

    Later on in the early 1950’s technologies were exploding with plastics. They  were introduced into the sign industry and were durable. Youyou could reverse light these pan type signs, however they could not touch porcelain for durability.

Today all these types of signs have become very collectible and is  like art of our generation. They are used for decorating Bars, Restaurants and for some of the hardcore collectors, it decorates our home.

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