We have made a number of acquisitions in recent months, including several large signs.
The museum acquired the Moesch Edwards sign in a trade with local striper, Josh Shaw of Shaw Signs, Milford, OH. The sign had been taken down by a Moesch family member and kept for more than a decade with the idea of restoring it. I had at one-time approached the family about acquiring the sign, but nothing doing. So it sat leaning against a concrete pillar for an overpass along I-71 until Shaw was able to wrangle it away. He wanted it for his signshop, but its 15 ft. height was just a few inches taller than his ceilings. That’s when Shaw approached us about a trade. The sign will need some major restoration, but it is a nice example of late 1940s porcelain enamel.
As recent as mid-October, this 16-foot Pohlman’s Drugs sign was still operating in all its neon and light bulb glory. It was donated to the museum, as was the takedown and delivery to the museum. Our go-to guys—United-Maier Signs—and in particular the crew of Deron Johnson, Chris Doherty and John Schneider took down the sign, having to shore-up the distressed angle iron which supported the sign as it hung from the single pole.
Charles Pohlman purchased the double-faced sign from the local branch of Federal Signs in 1956. He had recently acquired the Pfister Drugs store in the Madisonville area on the east side of Cincinnati. Pohlman moved to a new location in Goshen, OH in 1971, taking his beloved sign with him. Four years later, he realized his dream by building his own store across the street and the sign was again moved and became a well-known local icon. Pohlman passed away in 1996, but the sign lived on under its new owner. The business closed in the fall of this year. See the article in the Clermont Sun.
Three other recent acquisitions came via museum founder Tod Swormstedt’s pilgrimage to the fall Coin-Op show in St. Charles, IL—about 40 miles west of Chicago. Our first purchase was a GloDial clock, mounted on a wood panel with handcarved scrollwork at top. The piece had probably sat in the window of “Lamine Insurance,” which is handlettered top center. The piece originally had a border tube mounted on the outside of the GloDial metal face and will be restored. A second border tube behind the chrome clock bezel is intact.
We also purchased a 3 x 5-ft. punched-for-neon, painted tin sign cabinet . The late 1930s can is in excellent condition; the paint is somewhat weathered, but will be left “as is.” Neon will be restored on the “Drugs – Soda” sign.
The third piece is a cast metal clock, 32 in. in diameter, with a handlettered tin face reading, “Nystrom Jewelers.” A closer look reveals that the “Nystrom” lettering and panel were painted on top of the unknown original copy. A threaded bolt bottom center suggests the trade sign was originally pole-mounted and installed outside.
Last, but certainly not least, are the archives and signshop items of Everett K. White, a signpainter with a very colorful history who plied his trade primarily in Oklahoma for more than 40 years. His son, Thomas White of Grove, OK, visited the museum this past summer and donated his father’s signkit and mahlstick along with various papers and morgue files, signtags and artwork from the outdoor business his father owned, a collection of signpainting books, and even a shirt from his outdoor business. Tom recounted numerous stories about the various signpainters who drifted through his father’s Bartlesville, OK commercial shop, but probably none were as colorful as those he told of Steven Parrish, who is well-known to Letterheads and whose own salesman samples, signkits and other objects are on display at the museum.