Historical Facts About Vintage Porcelain Signs

It was in the 1880s that vintage porcelain signs began to be used and this continued until the 1950s. They could be used outside because they were hard wearing and could stand up to different weather conditions. Originally, this signage was manufactured in Germany and German craftsmen were brought out to the United States by manufacturers.

Many companies used this form of media to advertise their businesses. The signage usually contained all of the information about the company, as well as their logo and sometimes a catch phrase. Hundreds of potential consumers would see them on a daily basis. Some of them were double sided and hung outside the business on brackets. Others were attached to outside walls.

The signage initially consisted of layers of powdered glass fused onto rolled iron. The iron was die-cut into various different shapes. A base coat of one color would be fired and then text and graphics would be stenciled on, representing the different areas of color. The colors would be fired on top of one another until the whole graphic was completed. This was a labor intensive process and fairly costly.

When silkscreening was introduced instead of stenciling, it provided a way of keeping costs lower and increasing production. It was not long before intense competition arose between manufacturers. They were all seeking to produce the boldest colors and most memorable graphics.

Today it is difficult to find this signage in excellent condition. Much of it was vandalized, discarded or melted down for the metal during World War II. After the war, the cost of production was simply too expensive. Different metals like tin and steel were used but the results were lower quality and had less eye appeal.

Some manufacturers are producing this type of signage today but in very limited quantities. Demand has led to many reproductions being made and for those who simply want them for decorative purposes, these items are perfectly acceptable. However, collectors need to be aware that reproductions are also being passed off as genuine antiques, making it essential for them to have some knowledge about what they are collecting.

Many collectors of these items go for those that were used by the automotive industry. Old gasoline signs with their distinctive logos are a favorite. Collecting pump plates is often a good way for a beginner to start collecting. These plates would be used at every gasoline pump giving the brand and octane rating. Another popular category of collectors is those who go for signage used in country stores, where anything from loaves of bread to cigarettes were advertised.

When it comes to this signage, the condition is an obvious factor in determining price. If an item is in mint condition, it is more expensive. Some items with little damage, like some rusting or scratching still fetch good prices. A large item may be purchased at a cheaper price than a smaller one as it is more difficult to display.

Regardless of where they have been or what they were been used for, vintage porcelain signs are a hot commodity and a huge part of historical memorabilia. Collectors fight over them are often prepared to pay top prices. They offer the privilege of experiencing the feel of another time in history.

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