ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Vintage Advertising Signs | Nostalgic brick wall signs of the past | The Wall Dog Movement of Today

Updated on May 6, 2013

These vintage signs are amazingly still advertising products today just as did from the late 1800s to mid 1900s.

"Wall Dogs" was the nickname given to the sign painters and artist who spent hours hand painting and bringing these vintage signs to life.

Advertising signs like these were hand painted on brick walls and barns across the American landscape.

Some call them ghost signs because they have faded so badly. They may not be as crisp as the day they were painted.

The faded elements make them visually appealing and photographic especially on an antique brick wall.

The new "Wall Dog Movement" is once again bringing these vintage signs back to life as well as small town murals providing insights to tourist and visitors of the towns historical past.

Countless photo albums and books have been produced on the history of these early outdoor advertising images.

Many of the businesses may be long and gone but the advertising still displays nostalgic images of a time when outdoor advertising was hand painted on the sides of stores and barns.

The bottom picture is of a sign that was found under stucco. It displays the business phone number for the Donley Cleaners as a single digit #8.

Early phone numbers were few and fer between in small towns. A single digit may have been one of the first numbers assigned before having to go to double digit numbers.

For all the advertising and media productions over the years these simple hand painted wall signs have provided some of the best long term advertising exposure that has ever been accomplished by any add agency.

Some of the businesses such as Coke Cola have enjoyed free Main Street advertising for well over a century now.

Other nostalgic tobacco signs like Mail Pouch still advertise the favorite brands even though billboard advertising was banned in 1999.

Today computer graphics have taken over the layout and design. These old vintage signs were all hand painted by mostly traveling sign painters who became known as “wall dogs”.

Many were not well educated but learned their trade by becoming apprentices of sign painting pros or learned by working within a family of sign painters.

There were several sign painting technical schools located across the country but most were in the larger cities and not affordable for rural areas.

Many sign painters were third and fourth generation owners of the family business. They were able to hold on to the business up until digital media finally took over and made hand painted sings obsolete.

Some owners were able to make the leap and keep the family businesses going, but most were small business people who worked either on their own or with very few employees.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s national companies would contract with sign painters to travel across the country to do nothing except to paint ad signs in prominent high traffic locations on the sides of stores and barns.

They weren’t paid much but earned and honest living doing something they enjoyed doing.

With very little media exposure except for magazines and newspapers, these signs were one of the only ways to spread the visual product images to sell their product.

More dramatic is that the signs were done in color when newspapers and some magazines at the time were only being printed in black and white.

Television was yet to be invented and radio images were invisible to the consumer.

Some of the store and barn owners were paid a small fee, but many allowed them to be painted for free.

Some of the owners received a free sign for their business in exchange for an advertising sign to be painted on their building as well.

Other small business hired a local sign painter to paint signs on the buildings and glass windows.

These were pure artist that could visualize and sketch out large signs on the sides of the building.

Some sign painters used paper templates with a bag of chalk dust similar to what was used in clothing pattern and fabric layout.

The layout would be sketched onto heavy paper and then the lines were rolled with pattern wheel containing sharp teeth.

The pattern wheel cut notches through the paper along the lines in the template very similar to a clothing pattern

The template would then be hung on the building and the sign painter would use chalk bag to pound along the lines.

The chalk would leave a tracing line on the building to outline the sign letters and layout.

To steady the sign painter’s hand a short wand with a rubber tip would be held in place with one hand to rest and steady the painter’s wrist and arm.

The sign painter through experience and skill could take a brush full of paint and with a swish form a letter with clean lines.

One of the reasons the paint has been able to endure all the years in the harsh outdoor environments is the paint was lead based and mixed with linseed oils.

Like many vintage things there are reenactment groups that keep the traditions going.

One such group known as the Wall Dogs http://www.thewalldogs.com

The Wall Dog Movement helps promote and organize groups of young and old artist to come together in small towns and paint wall murals and restore these vintage works of art.

They work to help sustain the cultural art of hand sign painting while helping small towns to better promote tourism.

The lasting works of art provide life size murals of the town’s heritage and historical images that shaped the town over the centuries since it was first became organized.

The pictures and information is from the back-to-basic folks at Cottage Craft Works .com

Cottage Craftworks .com carries many vintage reproduction items for the self-sufficient simple back-to-basics lifestyles.

Sponsored articles and blogs such as this help promote a nostalgic American heritage history when old fashioned products were originally made and used.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)