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Professional Character

THIS APRIL 1907 issue boasts columns and stories by practitioners in the arts of advertising and signage, often told through their own colorful, highly particular lenses. One such professional featured here is “Tom” Murray, one of Chicago’s most successful businessmen at the time. Murray insisted on only showing the back of his head in ads, not his face, for he believed “a man flatters himself that he is good-looking when he uses his picture in an ad.” See this and other issues dating back to 1906 at

  • Hand of the Builder
    This cover marked the first instance of Signs of the Times using a non-indicative, general illustration for the world of signs. All issues prior to this one centered a person’s portrait on the cover.
  • Ego-Blind
    The captions read: “Mr. Murray’s likeness is shown here with his eyes blindfolded. He has never had his features reproduced in any publication … The above is the best compromise he was willing to make.”



Introducing the Sign Industry Podcast

The Sign Industry Podcast is a platform for every sign person out there — from the old-timers who bent neon and hand-lettered boats to those venturing into new technologies — we want to get their stories out for everyone to hear. Come join us and listen to stories, learn tricks or techniques, and get insights of what’s to come. We are the world’s second oldest profession. The folks who started the world’s oldest profession needed a sign.

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