They don’t make things like they used to, so they say. There was a heyday, of sorts, from 1890 to 1950, in sign making. During this period, the majority of outdoor signs made in the U.S. were constructed in a fashion that has become their unmistakable trademark: heavy rolled iron, die-cut into a shape, coated with multiple layers of powdered glass, and finished by kiln firing. The icons of Route 66 and many other highways and byways – a la 7up!, Dairy Queen, and Doggy Diner – were usually made this way, because the process made them highly durable and water resistant. These signs were often called porcelain enamel signs or just plain “enamel signs”. (Source: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/13/60-rare-and-unusual-vintage-signs/)
Originally a German invention, enamel signs began showing up in the U.S. and rapidly became the outdoor advertising sign maker’s standard. At the turn of the 20th century, designers began to expand the pallet, bringing in bold colors and striking graphic elements. From Chevrolet’s latest sedan, to Cadbury’s Chocolates, to Chesterfield Cigarettes (“They Satisfy”), vivid enamel signs spanned the continent. Stenciled designs of earlier enamel signs were replaced by silkscreens and steel bases instead of iron ones. Eventually, around the time of WWII, when porcelain enamel became too pricey, tin bases were substituted for steel. Decades later, porcelain enamel signs in top condition are a coveted rarity among vintage sign collectors, a sign of not only their novelty, but also a testament to the appeal of their excellent workmanship and enduring aesthetic appeal. The rarity of well-maintained antique porcelain signs makes them highly valued, in the commercial sense. Collectors are willing to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to obtain such an example.
It is this kind of durability of craft and timelessness of design that informs the work of Blue Pond Signs. Blue Pond Signs works to create one-of-a-kind signs that take the logo or aesthetic vision of each client and craft into a sign that will, likewise, last far into the future, carrying with it the mark of quality and trustworthiness that a well-made and designed can do.