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Large Enamel Pub Sign

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Large Enamel Pub Sign
Located in San Francisco, CA
Very large antique blue and white enamel on steel sign, 1920's-1930's.
Category

Early 20th Century American Signs

Materials

Steel, Enamel

  • Large Enamel Pub Sign
  • Large Enamel Pub Sign
  • Large Enamel Pub Sign
  • Large Enamel Pub Sign
H 15.75 in W 81.5 in L 15.75 in
Murphy’s Irish Stout Advertising Painter Pub Sign
Located in Chillerton, Isle of Wight
Murphy’s Irish Stout advertising painter pub sign This is a rare piece, the sign is made in
Category

Early 20th Century English Industrial Signs

1936 Porcelain Advertising Sign for Sewing Machines Pfaff
Located in Antwerp, BE
Large enamel advertising sign for sewing machines of the brand Pfaff. This porcelain sign has a
Category

Mid-20th Century Belgian Art Deco Signs

Materials

Iron

Sunderland Dixon Austin & Co. Pottery Creamware Frog Mug, ‘Good Ale’, C. 1815
By Dixon Austin & Co.
Located in Gargrave, North Yorkshire
dogs, being served beer by the landlord, outside his pub, ‘Three Horseshoes’. The pub sign, with the
Category

Antique 1810s English Georgian Pottery

Materials

Creamware

1960s Vintage Tetley Beer Outdoor Advertising Sign
Located in Antwerp, BE
Great large outdoor Tetley Pub enamel sign. Impressive fiberglass sign with enamel - porcelain
Category

Mid-20th Century English Mid-Century Modern Signs

Materials

Enamel

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Finding the Right signs for You

Vintage and antique signs are popular collector’s items loved not only for the charm and pops of color they add to a space but also for the unique story each one has to tell. An interesting sign can help set the mood for a room and spark dozens of lively conversations.

Before and during the 18th century, many European peasants and colonists in the Americas couldn’t read, so shopkeepers, in an effort to promote their goods and services, hung trade signs with limited amounts of text.

Indeed, symbols and representational physical objects comprised early-day advertising efforts. In lieu of painted words on a wooden board, trade signs made use of handmade three-dimensional symbols to indicate the function of the shop. The iconic red, white and blue pole could be found outside barbershops, while a figural trade sign mounted to an apothecary’s storefront might be a mortar and pestle sculpted from bronze in order to indicate to passers-by that inside there were apothecary cabinets full of remedies for common ailments and a druggist to carefully dispense them.

As literacy rates improved, signs evolved into rectangular, round or square shapes that featured text. Short and sweet, early iterations were characterized by a mere few words, such as “tavern,” “boarding room” or “apothecary.”

During the 19th century, proprietors endeavored to render their signs more appealing. This meant the introduction of more color, font types and other pictorial representations. After the Civil War ended, logos, branding and advertising became increasingly more important, and the design of signage evolved. Trade signs were still in use during the 20th century, and you will likely find hand-painted tin eyeglasses for an optometrist’s office or an oversize bowling pin that likely had a home in the front window of a bowling alley.

Today, collectors and art aficionados alike collect and display antique and vintage signs. Old signs hearken back to a long-gone era, infusing any interior with warmth and nostalgia.

A vintage sign can help anchor a room — think of decorating with signs as you would arranging any kind of wall art. A large-scale sign in particular can prove a distinguishing feature in a living room or dining room, a focal point so prominent that it might lessen the burden of introducing any additional decorative elements to this particular space. Smaller signs work wonders too — pepper sparsely decorated corners with small colorful signs or add a humorous or graphic element to your gallery-style hang with a small text-based sign or two.

On 1stDibs, find metal, wood and glass antique and vintage signs that span a number of styles, including mid-century modern, industrial and folk art.