I have a nice collection of trade signs that we have aquired over the last 30 years..They consist of cow and horse heads, fisk sign, a large pistol, base guitar, large frying pan and many more..Most are figural and very old……I will get some photos of these hopefully soon….

Trade signs: Vintage signage pieces that marked the history by Darryl Tilden, Roadrelics

 

Probably one of the most common and certainly one of the oldest types of sings out there are trade signs. As commerce expanded, the usage of trade signs slowly developed into what we are familiar with today – modern day trade signs of all kinds. From early dark and middle ages, till now, trade signs slowly gained their popularity and increased the reputation of owners. The design changed too, but what remained the same in every era is the predominance of unique symbols and logos typical for every era. These early Vintage Trade signs represented business’s like Dentists, Boot-makers, Pawn shops, Meat Shops, Millinery buildings, Horse Traders. Also Glasses & Optician Stores, Doctor Offices, Glove Makers, Shoe Makers, Cafe’s, Hotels, Billiard Parlors, Pharmacies, Hardware Stores, Grocery Stores. Also Gun, Pistol, Rifles Ammunition,  Veterinarians. Furthermore Barber Shops, Pretzel Stores, Candy Stores, Hats, Lunch, Restaurants, Flowers, Beauty Shops, Clothing Stores, Bicycle Shops, Pork, Clock & Watch Makers. Also Padlock, Blacksmith, Taverns, Furs, Drug Stores, Books, Cigars,  and many more. Some of the history of Museum’s  can be seen here Poole History of Trade Signs      Roadside America  is another good source. Also  Pinterest  has a great selection of old photographs of these types of signs  Brooklyn Museum

 

Well designed and eye-catching trade signs meant a lot for the business owners.

A Good sign usually meant good advertising, and therefore more income and increased reputation for those who offered different kinds of services. The importance of these signs can be found in the importance of all trades we cant imagine our lives without. That is why throughout history we can come across many different trade signs; tailors, pharmacists, dentists, butchers, bakers, blacksmiths, brewers, shoemakers, perfume makers, gunsmiths, locksmiths, pottery makers, watchmakers, fishermen signs, to different kinds of specialized shops, like specialised coffee and tea making shops, DIY shops, carpenters, painters, builders, rug makers, jewelry makers and many more .

 

Furthermore materials used for these signs varied so we have many rustic wood signs, carefully hand-carved, usually with very detailed design. Also  we also see wrought iron and guild signs, as well as gold leafing trade signs, varying in size and shape. Also Guild signs especially played an important role in the history of trade signs.  we can find many iron guild signs in the shape of a boot, scissors, fish, sewing machine, coffee, plate, watch, pig, bottle and many others.  The iron played a great role in the history of trade signs. Also the invention of the printing press changed the process of making trade signs forever. As society developed wood, iron, expansion of colors usage in the process of making glass. Also printing, carving and hand carving combined with modern technologies, adding plastic and neon lights to the fine design of these signs.

Modern trade signs include variations in style

Nowadays, we have not only the mixture of the materials mentioned, but modern trade signs include variations in style, dating from different eras, so some signs are purposefully vintage, while some are distinctively modern and minimalistic. The trade signs reached their peak in the second half of 20th century, with advanced graphic design and improved printing. With the invention of neon lights and PVC, trade signs became what we know them to be today.

 

Nowadays we can still see trade signs out on the streets.  These signs in their more traditional form are rare to find. Therefore they are an important part of every vintage signs collection.