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Ghost sign

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– **History and Preservation:**
– Ghost signs are found worldwide, with the US, UK, France, and Canada having many examples.
– Also known as fading ads or brickads, these are painted advertisements on brick that have survived over time.
– Old barn advertisements in rural areas continue to promote defunct brands and attractions.
– Many ghost signs from the 1890s to 1960s are still visible today.
– Painters of these signs were called wall dogs.

– **Signage Evolution:**
– Signage formats changed over time, leading to less durable signs in the later 20th century.
– Original ghost signs were painted with oil-based house paints, often containing lead for durability.
– Preservation efforts have included repainting entire signs to maintain their visibility.
– When ownership changed, new signs were painted over the old ones.
– Detroit and Philadelphia have undertaken efforts to preserve ghost signs in their cities.

– **Conservation Efforts:**
– In 2013, conservators in Philadelphia worked on preserving ghost signs.
– Detroit has uncovered well-preserved ghost signs during blight-fighting efforts.
– Various publications and websites document the history and preservation of ghost signs.
– The New York Historical Society highlights the cultural significance of ghost signs.
– Ghost signs serve as portals to past eras, preserving commercial history on city buildings.

– **Further Reading:**
– A.D. Harvey’s work on painted advertisements in Islington provides insights into this form of advertising.
– Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society contain valuable information on ghost signs.

– **External Links:**
– Wikimedia Commons hosts media related to ghost signs.
– Websites like Ghost Ads at and UK Ghost Signs offer further exploration.
– Social media pages and books dedicated to ghost signs provide additional resources.
– Various countries have documented ghost signs, such as the US, UK, France, and Ireland.
– University libraries, historical societies, and online platforms contribute to the documentation and preservation of ghost signs.

Ghost sign (Wikipedia)

A ghost sign is an old hand-painted advertising sign that has been preserved on a building for an extended period of time. The sign may be kept for its nostalgic appeal, or simply indifference by the owner.

Ghost sign advertising Bile Beans in York, England
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