Archive of 77 original photographs from the Wagner Sign Service, circa 1950s-1960s

Chicago: Wagner Sign Service, Inc., 1950s-1960s. Archive of 77 vintage black and white photographs from the Wagner Sign Service, circa 1950s-1960s. Each photograph features the name of the local manufacturer or installer, location, and the type of Wagner Sign assembly used, as well as Wagner Sign Service's Chicago address.

Archive includes 69 single-image photographs, four composite photographs with two images each, and one composite photograph containing three images.

A tremendous archive of photographs of novel marquee signage made during the midcentury American automobile boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Archive features photographs taken in over 20 states, with photographs of marquees for grocery stores, restaurants, motels, shopping centers, automobile dealerships, sports arenas, and a drive-in theater, among many other businesses. The marquees are usually comprised of a playful combination of neon and Wagner’s signature plastic and metal copy letters.

The Wagner Sign Service was founded in Chicago by Irwin Wagner in 1928. Wagner's easily changeable, slotted, dimensional letters, usually lit from behind, allowed for regular copy changes and quickly proved essential for theaters, heralding a significant change in marquees nationwide. By the 1940s Wagner began using lightweight, weatherproof plastic letters, later combined with neon or fluorescent tubes and light bulbs, to create personalized marquees. By the 1960s the signs were ubiquitous across the American landscape. 3M purchased Wagner Sign Service in the 1970s following the death of Irwin Wagner.

8 x 10 inches. Near Fine overall.

[Book #157033]