Vintage Signs of America

Vintage Signs of America

by Debra Jane Seltzer


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Debra Jane Seltzer’s beautiful collection of images features some of the most stunning signs that remain on public display in the United States. The focus is on neon signs from the 1940s and 1950s. There are also examples of increasingly rare opal glass letter and bulb signs from the 1920s and 1930s. In addition, you will find stylish and underappreciated plastic signs from the 1960s and 1970s. Represented within are Sputnik-shaped signs, mechanical signs, as well as signs with representations of pizza chefs, diving women, animals, doughnuts and more. There is also a discussion of the vulnerability of these signs due to their deterioration, changes in sign laws, and the popular transition from neon to LED lighting and electronic displays. Maintaining these signs has become too expensive for most business owners. In recent years, countless wonderful signs have been hauled to the scrapyard. A much smaller percentage have been saved, restored, and/or relocated through community action and online fundraising efforts. Other signs have found new life at museums or have safely vanished into private collections. This book offers suggestions as to what you can do to save these signs. Vintage signs are unique works of art and craftsmanship. They are personal connections to the past and community landmarks. They have also become tourist attractions. However, the signs which appear in this book could disappear at any time. So, see them and shoot them while you can.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781445669489
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
Publication date: 04/01/2018
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 560,730
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Debra Jane Seltzer has been documenting signs, buildings, and statues for more than 15 years. She has logged more than 400,000 miles maniacally gathering photos from 48 states. Her comprehensive website,, features more than 2,500 pages and over 60,000 photos. Since 2007, Debra Jane has been writing about vintage signs for the Society for Commercial Archeology Journal.

Table of Contents

Introduction 4

Types of Signs 5

Bulb Signs 5

Federal Electric Signs 9

Opal Glass Letter Signs 11

Mechanical Signs 14

Neon Extension Signs 17

Rooftop Signs 20

Sputniks and Star Signs 23

Plastic Signs 26

People 30

Pancake Chefs 30

Pizza Chefs 32

Cowboys 34

Indians 40

Men at Work 45

Women 50

Animals 54

Birds 54

Fish 58

Dogs 61

Cats 64

Other Mammals 66

Things 70

Donuts 70

Fast Food Chains 73

Bowling 78

Roller Skating 83

Cars 85

Plumbing 88

Preserving Vintage Signs 91

American Sign Museum (Cincinnati, Ohio) 92

Museum of Neon Art (Glendale, California) 94

The Neon Museum (Las Vegas, Nevada) 95

What Can I Do? 96

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