In the first half of the 20th century, door pushes and pulls were an inexpensive way for advertisers to get their messages in front of potential customers. Like the advertising thermometer and advertising clock, whose usefulness gave them longevity in stores and shops beyond that of a mere sign, door pushes made out of tin or porcelain enamel saved wear and tear on a store owner’s door, which made them assets to small businesses such as country stores and diners.

Many door pushes were vertically rectangular, designed to fit on an unlatched, spring-loaded screen door. Because the door push was conceived as a kind of target for customers, they often had messages on them like “Push,” “Come In,” or “Come Again.” Other door pushes were designed to be placed near handles, or had handles built into the sign itself, so these door pushes would read “Pull,” for obvious reasons.

Another style of door push is the strip sign, whose ample width and narrow height made it perfect for mounting on, say, a screen door’s crash bar so that people would not push their hands through the door’s screen. Other so-called full-span door pushes were structural enough on their own to serve as a crash bar, saving store owners the expense of building ones themselves.

Since many door pushes were in country stores where groceries were sold, some of the most popular advertisers were manufacturers of soda pop, baking goods, and household products such as soap. A door push might invite customers to “Come In” while touting Crystal White as “The Billion Bubble Soap.” Another door push for Brandreth’s Pills invites exiting customers to ask themselves “What Have I Forgotten?” And countless door pushes worked bold commands into their advertising copy (“Ask For Betsy Ross Bread,” “Chew Red Man,” and, of course, “Drink Coca-Cola”).


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]

Ad Access

Ad Access

Duke University's library has pulled together an impressive collection of over 7,000 ads printed in U.S. and Canadi… [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]

American Package Museum

American Package Museum

Ian House's gallery of early 20th Century American package designs. Browse the exhibits in slide show mode or view … [read review or visit site]

Found in Moms Basement

Found in Moms Basement

Paula Zargaj-Reynolds’ blog, an extensive collection of 20th century vintage advertising, is a visual feast. Scro… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Yan-ki-boy Pancake Syrup Porcelain Advertising Door Push SignLime Crush Rickey Porcelain Metal Sign Door Push Soda Pop Drink General Store Vintage Green Spot Orangeade Metal Palm Press Door Push Sign Embossed Bottle~wowVintage Bireley's Non Carbonated King Size Soda Tall Metal Door Push Post PlateVintage Wheatley's Wonderful Bread Door Push Metal Sign~super Rare!~wow~lqqk!Door Push Pull Brass Bar Sally Ann Bread Advertising Sign Antique General StoreWe Sell Ramon's Pink Pills Porcelain Metal Sign Door Push Rx Doctor PharmacyVintage Pop Kola Palm Press Door Push Embossed Sign~america's Finest Cola~~lqqk!Vintage Antique B 1 Lemon Lime Tin Non Porcelain Door Push Kick Bottle Cap SignAces Up Good Mixer Porcelain Metal Sign Door Push Soda Liquor Booze Drink Pop Vintage - Drink Coca Cola - Door Push Porcelain Advertising SignWe Sell Supreme Brand Buttermilk In The Barrel Porcelain Door Push Plate SignRed Rock Cola Porcelain Metal Sign Door Push Soda Pop General Store FountainTaylor's Rooster Tobacco Porcelain Door Push Pull Sign7up Soda Die Cut Porcelain Door Push SignRed Rose Tea Porcelain Metal Door Push Sign General Store Coffee Drink CountryAdvertising Grocery Store Door Push & Pull Bar-fluhrer's Holsum Bread-screen BarVintage Rare Enameled Foley’s Honey & Tar Door Pull Plate General Store ChicagoVintage Shell Gas 4" Round Porcelain Door Push SignA & P Fresh Coffee Porcelain Metal Sign General Store Door Push Hot Drink In A & P Fresh Coffee Porcelain Metal Sign General Store Door Push Hot Drink OutOld Vintage Drink Coke Coca Cola Soda Door Push Porcelain Advertising SignChocolate Chews For Kids Porcelain Metal Sign Door Push Candy General Store Vintage Antique Illinois Metal Non Porcelain Train Bath Room Door Push Sign L@@k Vintage Advertising Store Door Push Cott Soda Its Cott To Be Good SignRiviera Hotel & Casino Vintaige Brass Door Pull Handle