Vintage Clothing and Personal Signs

Signage advertising items for the home covers a broad range of subjects and manufacturers, from clothing and shoes to laundry products and medicine. Many of these brands are still familiar today, like Ivory Soap or Lee Jeans, while others which were once quite prominent are virtually unknown, like Ben Davis Work Wear or Wildroot Hair Tonic.

One of the most iconic mascots of the 20th century was the bright ruby-red bird featured on signs for Red Goose Shoes. The jolly character was printed on signs and novelty items of all kinds, including a countertop display goose that dispensed golden eggs after its neck was pulled. The connection between birds and footwear seems tenuous at best, but other companies also took to the idea, as seen on signs for manufacturers like Poll Parrot and Weather Bird Shoes.

In fact, sign graphics for household goods often seem preposterously disconnected from the products they are ostensibly promoting. For example, at a time when women were never seen in two-legged pantaloons, Old Woolen Mills Pants decided it would be enticing to use a coy Victorian lady in a long flowing skirt to sell its wares. Another eye-catcher was the Frog in Your Throat lozenge signs, whose gigantic green amphibian had its 10-cent price stamped right onto his yellow belly. Other companies, however, used imagery that was cleverly designed to help customers remember their products. For example, the signage for Benedict’s Dogskin Gloves featured a loyal retriever carefully offering a leather glove from his jaws.

Clothing signs ranged from Levi’s comical Western-themed ads to Munsingwear’s classy Beyond Compare signs, showing a model dramatically removing a red cape to reveal sleek white underwear. Before the era of mass-produced clothing, signs for home-dyeing kits made by RIT, Diamond, and Dy-o-la offered customers an easy way to customize their own fashions. When searching for long-lasting work clothes, none could forget the Sweet-Orr Overalls sign featuring two teams of grown men playing tug of war with a pair of the durable denim pants. Other companies specializing in heavy-duty workwear tended towards no-nonsense names connoting quality, like Union Made or Carter’s Dubbleware.

Particularly interesting are the household signs that featured fashionable trends or products that have now fallen out of favor, from liver tickler to powdered soap to the union suit. Around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a variety of snake-oil style remedies were advertised, including toothache gum and baldness preventers. And if you couldn’t find a specific remedy, there were always brands like Ayer’s Cathartic Pills, a cure-all good for any symptom.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Advertising Antiques

Advertising Antiques

This classy looking British site features hundreds of high resolution photos of antique porcelain pre-war (enamel) … [read review or visit site]

Historical Marker Database

Historical Marker Database

If you're the type who pulls over when you see a 'historic marker ahead' sign, you'll love this site. Orchestrated … [read review or visit site]

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Ralph and Carol Falvo's excellent collection of automobiles, petroliana, jukeboxes, soda, and general store items. … [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Original - Vintage - C1920 ~ "wrights - Coal Tar Soap" - Small Enamel SignNear Mint 1927 Vintage Ex-lax Old Drug Store Porcelain 8x36 In. Thermometer SignVintage Longines Wittnauer Animated Watchmaker Store Display Sign WatchOriginal ~ C1920 ~ "veno's Lightning Cough Cure" ~ Enamel SignVint. Original, William Marvy, Porcelain Barber Shop Sign, 48" Red White BlueUltra Rare Neon Dubbleware Overalls Sign Original 1940sGoodyear Porcelain "flying Shoe" 13" Letters SignRare 1930's Channel Letter Neon Pharmacy Drug Store Marquee Sign W/ ApothecaryOld Vintage Antique Drug Store Metal Embossed Advertising Sign RareVintage Goodyear Flying Shoe Sign, Huge 5 Ft Steuben County Courier Penny Saver Bath Ny Neon Marquee Sign 1940'sButtons Raven Gloss Shoe Dressing Tin Flange SignOld Vintage Antique Drug Store Advertising Metal Sign Rare Vintage Old Double Sided Ingersoll Pocket Watch Sign, Unique Dollar Watch SignVintage Original Wildroot Barber Shop SignOld Dutch Cleanser Vintage 3d 10 Cent Can Porcelain Metal Corner Sign 22"x 32"Vintage Blue Wing Shirts And Pants Reverse Glass Sign Rog Ad Lee Levi Jeans Red Very Old Original "landers Drug Store Sign" St. Louis1930s Original Patent Medicine Metal Thermometer Sign -- Ramon's Kidney Pills1890s Original Patent Medicine Metal Advertising Sign Vigorator Hair TonicVintage Levi's Levis Advertising Store Jeans Denim Lighted Sign-ex! Nr!Vintage Porcelain Sign Clinic Doctor Medicine Hospital Phlebotomy Enamel GlassVintage Anacin Thirty Tablets Cardboard Store Advertising Display Sign "humphreys' Remedies Porcelain Enameled Ande Rooney's Steel Sign Quack MedicineVintage Railroad Line Shoe & Sock Sign, Tin Over Cardboard, Reading Pa1920's Chesterfield Clothes Clothing Store Counter Top Metal Advertising SignOld "set Of 4" Peacock Ramses Trojan Sheik Condom Drug Store Sex Signs UnusedVintage Griffin 25c Shoe Shine Boot Polish Advertising Display Rack Sign Old 50sShell Clean Rest Rooms Sign Service Station Restroom Bath Room Gas Pump OilVintage Bulova Watch Advertising Sign Counter Display Rare***Barker's Dr Cow Dairy Sign Advertisement Farm Products Medicine Bell HornsFree Shipping Japanese Anim One Piece Sign Led WatchVintage Automotive Gm Top Engine Cleaner Display Rack SignBarker's Dr Pig Hog Sign Advertisement Farm Products MedicineBombs Away Usaf Fighter Pilot 1945 Laxative Metal Poolroom Bar Mancave Den SignHoliday Inn Spongebob Square Pants Pin Old Logo Grate Sign Mint Nickelodeon RareRed Rooster Coop Bed & Breakfast Private Bath Rustic Chicken Hen Farm Sign DecorBarker's Dr Horse Sign Advertisement Farm Products Medicine RemediesThree Bear's Lodge Take Your Shoes Off We Don't Mind Bear Feet Cabin Sign Decor Shoe Cup Cocktail Tin Sign Metal Poster Home Pub Bar Decor Tp171 Lot Of 5 Wet Paint Original Dime Drug Grocery Store Sign Vintage 1940's 1950's Quality Brushes Sign Barber Shop Counter Tin Display Sign Seven (7) Adidas Nike Golf Store Display Metal Shoe Signs Pro Shop KioskVintage Retro 1970's 80's Bubblicious Metal Drug Store Shelf Sign Original CoolVintage Fearless Fosdick Wildroot Cream Oil Sign Al Capp Barber Poles EmbossedCow Country Watch Your Step Sign Rustic Country Dairy Farm Barn Sign Home DecorSandusky, Ohio Street Scene - Early Postcard - Streetcar And Giant Watch Sign