Google Reviews
April 29, 2021

History of American Signage

Home » Blog » History of American Signage

Times square is one of the most iconic places in America. A picture of time square is identifiable by almost any American, even for those who never visited New York! What makes it iconic? Take a good look at any picture of Times Square, and the first thing you notice is the signage! Lighted commercial signs, channel letters, outdoor business signs, you name it, and it's there. It's the signage that makes Times Square identifiable as a vibrant hub of commerce and worldliness. It is also a representation of how America has been a pioneer of signage for the past 100 years! Here is an abridged history of modern American (and therefore the world's) signage.

The Pre-Electric Dawn of Lit Signage (1840-1882)

In 1840 America began its love affair with illuminated signage by using gas-lit signs. The first gas-lights were installed on the Barnum Museum in Chicago, Illinois. The gas lights quickly adorned retail spaces, banks, and theaters all over the country. The downside was they only worked for about 5 hours straight

America and the Night Sign

Shortly after Edison introduced his highly efficient incandescent bulb design, they were adorning signs.

It was in America that gave birth to the eye-popping night signs that lit the streets of every major city. Major retailers were brandishing their stores with thousands of illuminated light bulbs, to spell out words or create works of art. These newly lit signs transformed cities like New York.

It was in New York City where the famous great chariot race sign was erected! It was installed on the top of a seven-story building and had over 20,000 light bulbs of various colors, and featured an animated roman chariot race, with the bulbs flashing to imitate the movement of horses.

Herald Boulevard, where the famous chariot sign was.

Neon Nightlife

An alternative to incandescent lights, neon lights brought back the use of gas as a light source, though with an electric flare. Neon signs were very popular as an alternative light for illuminated signs. Though they were limited in color compared to incandescent bulbs.

Neon lights provided an eerie and unique glow that has lit the imagination of just about every director with a sci-fi or cyberpunk tinge aesthetic.

neon sign
Neon signs littered the legendary U.S. Route 66 for decades!

American Signs Now

American signage has been leading the world with its innovative techniques and unlimited vision. Signage is the best way for a business to make itself known. And you can tell a lot about a business based on the type, make, and quality of the sign they are using. Companies like Envision Orlando are proud to continue in America's homegrown art form and are experts at making the sign that best suits your business.

Envision Orlando

As a local sign business and approved vendor of Orange County Public Schools, Orange County, the City of Orlando, and the City of Winter Park (among others), we're nimble enough to turn on a dime and deliver best-in-class products in rapid order. With Envision Orlando already registered as a vendor for most government agencies, this means we can act at a moment's notice.

We offer free consultations, quotes, and designs on school signs to any public school, private school, or district in the State of Florida. Contact the sign specialists at Envision Orlando now at [email protected] or (407) 951-5532

Welcome to Envision Orlando! We are a full-service sign and graphics company in Orlando, FL. We design, print, and fabricate custom signage for businesses. We are your growth partners, and our sign makers are dedicated to helping your business grow.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram