bubba

Show Us Your Signs

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A Sign to Break the Ice

Thought I might jump start this with the only sign I own.  I could post pics of my Buicks in my garage but I'm afraid it's not a pretty sight.  Lotsa "stuff" around.  Nothing hanging neatly on walls or painted flooring.  Everything is where I last used it.  So here is the sign.  It's 20" round and was told that it's very rare by a dealer.  I guess it's from the teens or 1920's.  Would like more info as to the age.  All of the round signs say service on them but this doesn't.    it's heavy.  The finish is porcelain. it"s single sided.  Thanks for looking.

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Edited by MrEarl
Changed title with posters permission (see edit history)
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What a great sign.  Can't say I've ever known of one without the Authorized Service. What part of the country did you find that in Bubba? 

Edited by JohnD1956 (see edit history)

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It came from a north east quality collection that was sold off twenty years ago.  Most of the signs the owner collected himself since the 1930's.  Got them right from the old dealers.

Edited by bubba (see edit history)
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Well, right here in the backyard!  I never really consider memorabilia cause it always seems to me that I'd rather spend those bucks on parts to keep the cars going.  So I am very glad you posted this picture.  Tanks! 

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Given the size and colors, that is indeed a rare one bubba. I've never seen one with the white around the outer edge.  And I think you are right about it being from the 20's maybe 30's.

Thanks for sharing!

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Bubba and Mr. Earl, since we're talking about signs I thought you might like seeing the sister sign to the round Buick sign and a couple of other interesting signs.  There is a whale of a tale about the Sales & Service sign that involves several cases of beer and a farm field on the outskirts of Mason City, Iowa.  Every word of it is the absolute truth now.  About the two round porcelain signs.  They were produced by Walker and Company of Detroit.  They were both originally on Neon signs and there were two of each of them on the sign along with the neon tubing.  The Chevrolet sign came from the old dealership in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  I personally took it off the remains of the original sign.  The opposite side had been hit with something and suffered a severe bend that rendered it almost worthless.  The Buick sign came off the sign that hung above the service entrance to Stuart Conklin Buick in Hutchinson, Kansas.  I bought the one side from Mr. Conklin in 1986 before they moved to their new dealership on the east side of town.  I tried to buy them both but he would only let me have the one side.  The original sign dates from the early to middle 1930's when neon lighting was starting to be used.  Our area of the country was very lean on electrified outdoor advertising because of sometimes harsh weather conditions.  I have really never done too much to either of the round signs toward cleaning them up or polishing them.  I guess I should - they would look like new then.  Several years ago there was a guy here at the shop who was bound and determined to take all of the signs with him.  He offered a horrendous amount of cash for them and I just smiled at him and said thanks but not thanks.  I have to smile every time I think about the story behind the Sales & Service sign.  Thought you guys might like to see them.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Terry,  That looks like the same as mine. I've only found one other searching the web looking at collections and auctions .  Are you saying that it was with another on a neon sign?  Were they back to back?  Was the neon just a circle around the rim of the sign?  Is your sign 20"?  There is a difference between them.  The holes in mine are in the blue area while yours are in the white.  Thanks for posting it.  

Edited by bubba (see edit history)
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Terry,

     I am surprised you didn't post some of the reproduction signs you sold.  The last hanging sign came from a local collector.

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Edited by Mark Shaw (see edit history)
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 There is a whale of a tale about the Sales & Service sign that involves several cases of beer and a farm field on the outskirts of Mason City, Iowa.  Every word of it is the absolute truth now.  I have to smile every time I think about the story behind the Sales & Service sign.  Thought you guys might like to see them.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

 

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So let us hear it Terry. What is told on the BCA forum stays on the BCA forum.... well some of it anyway. Also I like those exposed wood stud and siding walls. Your garage I presume?

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Terry,

     I am surprised you didn't post some of the reproduction signs you sold.  The last hanging sign came from a local collector.

 

I have the same two Buick Centennial signs you do Mark.  I love those Centennial signs, and the memories they bring of when my son and I attended the Centennial. I remember I was worried that we may not have enough $$ for gas back home but I HAD to have those two signs.

What is the story on the BUICK AUTHORIZED SERVICE sign and hanger Mark, do you know.

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This sign had been advertised here on the forum several years ago for too much $$. Then a couple years ago I saw it on CL for a lot less so I made an offer on it, the guy said come get it and Rita and I took a fun road trip to Savannah TN to pick it up. It had been used for years to cover a window on an old house, hence the rusty side.  A couple months after I bought it I saw one in great condition advertised in the Bugle but by the time I called it had been sold. It was in the upper northwest anyhow so probably just as well. I considered restoring it but really like it just the way it is so will probably just use it as a pattern and paint a repro. 

Terry, this appears to be the same as yours but is yours two sided like mine?

Also, what year was the Buick Better Buy slogan used, anybody know.

 

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The weather here in south central Kansas has put a stop to my outdoor painting for the season I am afraid, so, it is move inside and work on inside window trim and catch up on the reading.  I will answer the questions the best I can.  Bubba, yes, there were two of the 20 inch, round signs on each of the Buick and Chevrolet neon signs.  They were back to back (readable from each side) and mounted toward the back end of the main body of the sign.  In the case of my round Buick sign, the main body of the sign had just the word SERVICE on it with the neon tubing running around the perimeter of the sign body.  Several years ago on my way home from Hershey I stopped in Canal Winchester, Ohio (Columbus area) and visited with Bob McDorman at McDorman Chevrolet.  He had one of the largest and best GM advertising sign collections in the world at the time and he let me look at the books that were available to the dealers to order outdoor signage from.  The Buick Service sign like what was on the front of the dealership here in Hutchinson was priced at $49.50 and dated to 1935.  The Chevrolet sign was also priced at $49.50 and dated to 1936.  McDorman recently passed and he had disposed of a lot of his collection before he died.  I am not joking when I say that a person could have spent several days at his place just looking over the collection.  He had a ton of money in the signs and they were all in almost excellent condition.  It was eye candy overload for the serious automobile enthusiast.  Now, Lamar, yes, my Sales & Service sign is the same double faced one as yours.  I have forgotten the dimensions but it is good sized and the lettering on both sides is in reflectorized paint.  There is a small code symbol down in the one bottom corner on my sign that I believe is for 1946.  The lettering style is very period for that time frame.  I suppose you guys are just dyin' to hear the story - so here it is.  I went to work for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa at the Research and Engineering Center in June of 1975.  I was living with my Aunt and Uncle and enjoying a very well paying job and just having a blast in general.  One of the guys I worked with had just bought a new Harley from the dealer in Mason City.  He was going up on a Saturday to see about something and asked me if I wanted to go with him.  I'm in I told him and off we went.  There is a small farm town by the name of Nora Springs about 7 miles out of Mason on state highway 18.  On the north side of the road about 4 miles out of Mason City there was this farmstead that had this old Buick Sales and Service sign on the edge of this bean field about 100 yards from the homestead driveway.  I thought that that old sign sure would be nice to have on my dad's shop wall since he had the '16 in there.  I went back up a few weeks later by myself to try and find out what I could about the sign.  I spoke with the farmer and asked if the sign was his and if it was for sale.  He told me that the Buick dealership in Mason City had changed ownership several years back and that the previous owner never came out to get the sign so he figured it was his now.  He told me that several people had stopped and asked about the sign and his answer was always no, it was not for sale.  I asked him if he would take my name and phone number and if he ever changed his mind to get in contact with me.  I was walking back to my truck and he called me back.  "you really want that sign don't you", he asked.  Yes, I'd like to have it for my dad and his old Buick.  He told me that he would not sell it to me, but he would give it to me under one condition - I had to remove it from his field.  I got real interested in a hurry.  I told him I was in - I could get it out of there in a hurry.  The catch was he wanted the sign post AND the three foot cube of concrete gone from his field.  He told me that he had a tractor with an end loader that I could use in getting it out of there.  I talked three of the guys that I was working with into helping with this job.  It took us two Saturdays and several cases of beer to get the sign post and concrete block out of the field.  I still have the 10 pound sledge hammer that I bought to break up the concrete with and my buddies told me that they would never help me do anything like that again - EVER.  We all had fun doing that and we talked about that for years to come.  The upright part of the sign post was three inch pipe and the pipe that ran around the outside of the sign holding the clamps was 2 inch pipe.  You can see where the clamps were in the photo.  I think about that every time I look at that sign hanging there in my shop.  That sign will go with the cars when I'm gone, but until then I will always have the memories of those two Saturdays and my friends helping me.  To me this is what makes this hobby so much fun - the friendships.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Ahhh, GREAT story Terry, I can just envision and your buds in that bean field hammering away at that chunk of concrete. I take it by the amount of b consumed it was summertime too? Thanks again for sharing

 

That "reflective" paint sure holds up well as evidenced on mine by how much surface rust is on where the blue part of the sign was compared to the amount in the letters. Here is probably what the sign frame looked like?

 

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Lamar, it looked exactly like that.  Getting the sign out of the frame was the easiest part of the whole deal.  It was early Fall when we did that project.  We had to wait till the beans were in to get it.  I'm told that a person's life flashes before their eyes right before they die - that bean field and that old Buick sign will be there for me when it's my time.  We had more fun than any 10 people could have ever had doing that, but, we all agreed 'we ain't doin' it again'  That sign was the one used for the 100th Anniversary sign that we had in Flint in 2003.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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