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 "wear-u-well Shoes" Double-sided Porcelain Sign 25" X 17"Early Antique Vtg 1900s Antique Canvas Banner Sign Drug Store Gas Oil Old 11'x2'Vinola Soap Queen Victoria Doulton Porcelain Advertising Sign Plaque C1880sSweet Orr Overalls Porcelain Sign Vintage Blue Jeans Shirts Pants Denim ClothesOrig Star Dyes Tin Sign Country General Store Old Town, Me Dye Cabinet SignOrig Dutch Cleanser Tin Sign Country General Store Shonk Co Litho Condition ****Agency For Headlights Overalls Porcelain Enamel Sign 24"x11"1940's Vintage Porcelain Agency For Headlight Overalls Union Made Enamel SignHorse Graphics Near Mint 1950s Vintage Lee Riders Western Cowboy Pants Old SignVicks Vaporub Salve Rx Pharmacy Country Store Porcelain Door Push SignVintage Lighted Advertising Drug Or Pharmacy Store Sign For ToiletriesVintage Lighted Advertising Drug Or Pharmacy Store Sign For VitaminsVintage Porcelain Advertising Sign Fairy Soap 5 Cents Blue & White -excellentVintage Nike Sb Skateboarding Hanging Light Up Sign Store Shoe DisplayDr Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin Laxative Pharmacy Rx Porcelain Door Push SignRain Water Crystals Laundry Soap Country Store Porcelain Door Push SignLarge 30 Yr. Old Vintage Enamel Embossed Steel "star Brand" Shoes Ohio Mfg. SignKirk's Flake Soap Laundry Country Store Porcelain Door Push SignGreat Original Vintage 1950's Shop Display Sign Dunlop Stick On Shoe SolesWildroot Wild Root Original Old Antique Barber Shop Vintage Tin Advertising SignVintage Poll Parrot Shoes Clock Sign Memorabilia Lanshire AdvertisementIngersoll Pocket Watches Watch Clocks Country Store Porcelain Door Push SignAuto Brand Overalls Flange Sign Clothing Store Bluejeans Display Modern RetroAntique 1920's Selz Shoe Sign Brass Advertising, Not Tin Or PorcelainTri-color Vintage Armour & Company White Flyer Laundry Soap Enamel Painted SignVintage Lighted Advertising Drug Or Pharmacy Store Sign For Baby NeedsVintage Cadillac Stop Sign 1940’s Quality Brake Shoes Detroit Desk Accessory  Dentist Pharmacy Cocaine Drug Store Medicine Advertising Sign Glass PaperweightCoca Cola Served Here Sign Diner Restaurant Drug Store Counter Fishtail Coke Vintage Mummert "soap" SignVintage Sign The Rand Shoe 12 X 3.5 In1909 Postcard-main Street-mt Kisco Ny-central Barber Shop Sign+pole-posted