Antique & Vintage Advertising Metal & Porcelain Signs
Antique and Vintage Advertising Metal & Porcelain Signs
Porcelain signs started in the 1880s as a way for companies to advertise with a material that was both durable and weather resistant. Starting in Germany, America soon caught on. The bold colors and graphics advertised cigars, motor oil, tobacco, and numerous food items with the most popular being Coca-Cola. Porcelain signs are quite rare these days and this makes them attractive to collectors.
Porcelain signs were made of powdered glass fused onto rolled iron. Different colors were then stenciled on and fired, creating a different layer for each color. Later porcelain signs were stenciled. Many porcelain signs were made but during World War II, many were melted down. In the 1950s these signs stopped being produced because of the high cost to make them.
Tin and metal signs were produced as a cheap alternative to porcelain ones. They were usually painted, screen-printed or stamped. However, unlike porcelain, these signs were prone to rust. Any that have survived over the years are in poor condition but still highly collectible. These signs were also melted down during World War II, which halted production. Some signs were made after the war but quickly fell out of production. They reached their height of popularity in the 1920s.
Antique and vintage signs are highly collectible because of their beauty and historic value. They were used to advertise everything from household appliances to soda. Their condition, visual appeal and scarcity are important influences on their value. Many signs have bullet holes or rust from exposure to the elements.