Perhaps the most easily recognizable advertising medium of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is the porcelain sign. Starting in the 1880s, companies saw the advantages of porcelain as a material that was both durable and weather resistant. Although these signs were first made in Germany, the manufacturing technique soon spread to America, where their bold colors and eye-catching graphics were put to good use advertising cigars, motor oil, railroads, and soda pop, especially Coca-Cola. With the onset of World War II, however, many of these signs were destroyed for the base metal they contained. Their resulting rarity makes them attractive to collectors.
A similar fate befell tin signs, which were often produced as a cheap alternative to porcelain ones. Unlike their porcelain companions, however, tin signs were prone to rust and degradation, so many of those that have survived the years are in poor condition.
On the other end of the size scale were celluloid pinbacks, cheap buttons that were meant to be worn and displayed. Some companies distributed pinbacks to encourage newspaper subscriptions or the purchase of particular brands of cigarettes, while others were handed out at political rallies as campaign pieces.
Alongside ads that were meant to be seen were ads that were meant to be used. Coca-Cola, for one, realized that practical pieces of advertising would last much longer than signs and posters, which were routinely discarded. Common types of “utilitarian” ads included thermometers, calendars, mirrors, and clocks, all of which bore a company’s brand name and image in some way or another. Some small storeowners, for example, kept their vintage Coca-Cola thermometers displayed in their stores, for the simple reason that they remained useful. Items that were never or barely used, of course, command the most attention from collectors.
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In Pictures: Discovering Tutankhamun at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and ...Culture24, July 23rd
Photos taken by the excavation's photographer, Harry Burton, depict the tomb and its contents exactly as it was when the doors were opened, while Carter's evocative plans, diaries and journals record his thoughts when he made the discovery and his ...Read more
Email "Timeless Journeys": 21st Annual Summer Poster Show!ArtfixDaily (blog), July 18th
In addition to gallery shows and special exhibitions, IPG's award-winning website, www.internationalposter.com offers one of the largest, most comprehensive online collection of vintage advertising posters in the world. Originally launched in 1998, the...Read more
Historic posters at Gourock station on track for awardGreenock Telegraph, July 17th
Now he has finished his project with steam train, vintage advertising and Clyde coast posters. It has been dubbed 'the Great Wall of Gourock' by ScotRail's external relations manager, John Yellowlees. He said: “Alastair's tremendous display is unique...Read more
Joëlle Jones, Jamie S Rich bring Lady Killer to Dark HorseDigital Spy UK, July 16th
"How it all originated was through an obsession of mine with vintage advertising and falling in love with some of the illustrators from the '40s, '50s and '60s," Jones told Comics Alliance. "I wanted to play in that world with all the stereotypical...Read more
The best entertainment in Kansas City for the week of July 17Kansas City Star, July 16th
With space for as many as 1,200 vendors working under a mandate that “80 percent of the items to be sold must pertain or relate to the transportation industry, antique advertising and coin-operated items,” the two-day event is likely to resemble a...Read more
Contents of historic Pope Valley store to be auctionedNapa Valley Register, July 14th
While the contents have just begun to be cataloged, antique advertising, slot machines and other gambling devices, firearms and mining equipment should be some of the highlights of the event, Witherell said in a news release. The stage coach went to...Read more
Portsmouth eatery with a past looks to the futureNew Hampshire Business Review, July 11th
The bizarre art and vintage advertising still line the walls, which are now lime green, but the restaurant's short booths and black and white '50s-style tile are gone, replaced by taller booths and dark wood flooring. Goodwin said he plans to...Read more
Collectors by the hundreds are lured to fishing show at Grand WayneNews Sentinel, July 10th
Collectors of fishing lures, rods, reels, creels, knives, books, antique advertising, novelties and more gathered at Grand Wayne Convention Center Thursday for a show that continues Friday and Saturday. The national show of the National Fishing Lure ...Read more