In addition to neon signs another one of my favorite things is many call ghost signs. Ghost signs are hand-painted advertising signs usually preserved on brick buildings or wooden structures like barns. The hand painted sign era for the most part ended in the 1960’s, and most of the signs are now preserved for nostalgic purposes.
When originally painted, these advertisements were usually painted with oil based paints. The reason that these signs have survived is often due to lead contained in the oil paint and that helped the paint adhered to the brick and masonry surfaces.
Sometimes when an advertising contract ended the sign would simply be painted over with another advertisement. Today some of these signs cause a double or even triple ghost effect.
Below I have included some of the hundreds of ghost signs that I have taken pictures of over the years. As you will notice, soft drinks like Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Double Cola, and Royal Crown (originally known as Chero Cola) were BIG users of the hand painted sign.
To view any picture up close, just click any of the images for a larger version. I hope you enjoy this trip back in time!
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a love for neon signs. Sadly, they are becoming more rare. They’re expensive to maintain and repair, and aren’t the most ecologically friendly option for signage.
Over the last year or two I’ve been seeking out all the neon signs I can find and taking photographs of them for my Instagram. I wish I could say it was part of some save the neon campaign, but it’s not. It’s just a passion I’ve found that I share with many other Instagrammers.
Over the Labor Day weekend I was in Memphis on business and found some time to take a few pictures. One of my favorites from the weekend was a picture of the neon sign that once advertised Advance Rubber Stamps. I caught the picture just before sunset, and using a couple of filters got a great shot.
Sadly from what I can tell, Advance Rubber Stamps went out of business a couple of years a ago so I wasn’t able to actually see the sign light up. Fortunately I have some VERY creative friends and we were able to get some sort of idea what the rubber stamp might have looked like a lit up….
My dear friend Randy from Silvertone World, one of the two men who taught me about computers back in the day put this together. It’s not the real thing, but it’s a great simulation!