Paul and Carol Louys have visited the museum several times over the last couple years, and each time they have brought with them information and items related to the family business, Standard Neon Supply—a St. Louis sign supply distributorship founded in 1944 near the end of the war. The Louys family name stretches back to the earliest days of neon when Paul’s father, Roger, and partner, Gordon Shaw, opened Acme Neon Accessory in Detroit in 1934. Paul joined Standard after he graduated from high school in 1958 and retired a half century later in 2008.
Standard made several marks in sign history, most notably becoming the first Rohm and Haas distributor in the Midwest—signaling the advent of plastic signs soon after World War II. Before that Standard was a very early distributor of Corning Glass’s clear tubing. The company was also the master distributor for the “Neo-Lectra” Sputnik signs developed by Jim Henry of Oklahoma Neon in the early 1960s. See an example here:
Together with the many vintage photos, correspondence and advertising specialty items relating to Standard and Acme history, the Louyses also donated one of two gilded glass transoms from Standard’s original location on North Broadway, shown below. The piece is in rough condition, with much of the gold lifting. We are undecided as to whether to restore the sign or leave as is. We extend our thanks to Greg Rhomberg, a friend of the museum who volunteered his time to carefully remove the fragile glass panel from the building.
The Louyses also donated two very early “electrode-less” neon letters. The image below shows back side of the letters. The letters were a gift in 1970 from Omer B. Clark (deceased) of the former Wilkraft Neon Sign Company, Vincennes, IN. Mr. Clark was 70 years old when he passed on the letters to Paul. He told Paul that the letters had been given to him when he was a young man working in Chicago in the late 1920s.
We thank the Louyses for their continued dedication to the craft and their support of the American Sign Museum.Note: The photo of Paul and Carol was taken at the Ladue High School Class of ’58’s 50th anniversary. Courtesy of http://www.ladue58reunion.org