Signs of the Times - June 2016 - (Page 48)
Sig n M u s e u m N ews
B y To d S w o r m s t e d t
is the Executive Director
of the American Sign
Museum in Cincinnati.
Have a Shave and a Brew
Two recent acquisitions find a home at the museum
his month, I'm highlighting
two new museum acquisitions.
You're probably wondering if all
newly received items are placed
on display. Quite honestly, no; only
a select few actually rotate into
our existing displays. The majority
are catalogued and stored for our
future expansion. Only about
19,800 sq. ft. of our nearly 40,000sq.-ft. building has been remodeled.
It's all about time and money.
Two relatively recent additions,
however, found their respective
places in the museum and were
installed in April.
The first addition was a complete
set of vintage Burma-Shave signs,
which the museum purchased last
fall. You often see single signs at
flea markets, antique shows or
yard sales. But, more often than
not, they're reproductions. Many
signpainters can paint and distress
a set of Burma-Shave signs that
would nearly fool even the experts.
Our set, as best as we can tell, is
authentic, and even carries the union
"bug" on the final "Burm Shave"
signs of the six-panel series.
Those who have visited the
museum know that we already had
two Burma-Shave signs, but these
were early prototypes, which were
48 SIGNS OF THE TIMES June 2016
2 x 8-ft. boards with black copy on
a white background, were found
in the former St. Paul, MN home
of Clinton Odell, Burma-Shave's
founder. It seems that John Sweet,
a member of the Sweet family
that owns FMS Corp., purchased
the Odell house in 1999. When he
ventured into the attic, Odell discovered Burma-Shave signs nailed
across the floor joists as floorboards.
He donated these to the museum
in 2007; quite a find.
We've installed the complete
set of Burma-Shave signs near the
entrance to the museum's main
exhibit area. Visitors looking at the
two vertically mounted prototypes
can look back and see the series
of six Burma-Shave signs during a
Our second new piece, a 6 x 14-ft.
sign displaying the Miller High
Life logo, was screenprinted on
a tin, exterior-grade board, circa
1970. The board was originally
located on an Oshkosh, WI farm,
but blew down in a windstorm.
Charlie Jones, then 17 years old,
saved it. Jones and his family visited
the museum in late 2015. When
the family farm was sold, Jones,
who's now a professor of geology
and environmental services at
the Univ. of Pittsburgh, remembered that the board was stored
in the barn's hayloft. He notified
us about its availability, and his
father, Norris W. Jones, donated it.
I drove to Oshkosh and picked it
up in late February; the installation
for both the outdoor board and
Burma-Shave signs was engineered
by our expert exhibit builder, Sean
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - June 2016
Signs of the Times - June 2016
Columns & Departments
Tips for Effectively Marketing Your Signs to Millenials
Technology Review - The Summa F Series F2630 Flatbed Cutter/Router
Technology Review - The Durst Rhotex 180 TR
Sign Museum News
Undertaking Monumental Tasks
The Light of Our Lives
Cool Digital Printers
Enter ST’s Vehicle Graphics Contest
Signs of the Times - June 2016