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]

Plan 59

Plan 59

From the Nostlagia Factory in Virginia comes this celebration of 'mid-century automotive advertising illustrations'… [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]

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]

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]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Old Porcelain Orange Crush Door Push SignVintage 1920's Duke's Mixture Cigarette Tobacco 9' Porcelain Sign Door Push Wow!Vintage 1940's Canada Dry Spur Soda Pop 12" Embossed Metal Door Push SignPolar Bear Tobacco Porcelain Door Push Sign Vintage Original Porcelain Fishtail Coca Cola Coke Metal Door Push Pull Bar SignVintage 1950's Rainbo Bread 29" Metal Door Push Pull Bar Sign~nice ConditionHill Billy Joose Porcelain Advertising 3" Soda Machine Door Push Counter Sign Nesbitt's Orange Soda Tin Sign Door Push 19581950's~'salada' Tea~porcelain Double Sided Door Push Advertising Sign~34" X 3"~Whelan's Ice Cream It's Pure That's Sure Porcelain Advertising Door Push Sign Drink Coca Cola Porcelain Door Push Sign Vintage We Serve Peerless Ice Cream Green Porcelain Soda Fountain Door PushRed Goose Shoes Advertising Door PushBig Bottle Richardson Root Beer Sold Here Porcelain Advertising Door Push SignVintage 1950's Sunbeam Bread 27" Metal Door Push Pull Bar Red Sign Excellent!Dr. Caldwells Syrup Pepsin Porcelain Door Push Sign Laxative 1940s Porcelain Yan-ki-boy Pancake Syrup Door Push SignChocolate Chews For Kids Porcelain Door Push Sign Dog Girl Rare 1966 Mountain Dew Door Push Pull Decal Original Mtn Sign Hillbilly PepsiVicks Vaporub Salve Porcelain Door Push Sign Vintage " Colonial Is Good Bread " Door PushNeat Old And Original Nbc Bread Door Push,bakery Palm PushUs Royal Soles Door Push Porcelain Rare Kirk's Flake Soap Porcelain Door Push Sign Sweet Heart Products Porcelain Door Push Sign Wheat Corn 1940's~peters Bamby Bread~2 Sided Embossed Adjustable Door Push Advertising SignOriginal Vintage 1950s Sunbeam Bread Door Push Metal Sign Embossed~"rainbo Is Good Bread"~advertising Country Screen Door~push Bar Assembly~u.s.a.Vintage 1950's Holsum Bread 27" Metal Door Push Pull Bar Red Old Sign Excellent!Vintage 1930's Advertising Pressed Metal Sign, Butter Krust Bread Door PushCast Iron Shell Motor Spirit Sold Here Sign Plaque Gas Oil Pump Plate Door Push