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Signs of the Times

February 1912 Signs of the Times Cover: Bless Them Advertisers!

Plus, 25 categories of signs at the time and the latest addition to the “Great White Way.”




The Weight of Commerce

THROUGHOUT 1912, Signs of the Times took a more experimental approach to cover illustrations, using bold colors, visual metaphors and even optical illusions. This February 1912 issue uses self-deprecation, where a harried mail carrier slings three sacks full of posters and flyers over his shoulders while crying, perhaps out of exasperation more than joy, “Bless Them Advertisers!” See this and other issues dating back to 1906 at

  • The Great White (No, Not That One)
    The “Black and White” Scotch Whisky polo pony was the latest addition to the “Great White Way,” a nickname for New York City’s Broadway due to its dazzling lights, signs and billboards.
  • 25 and 25 Only
    Herbert N. Casson wrote in a feature that he classified 8,100 ads “as a pleasant little summer recreation.” From this experience, he created a categorization system for 25 types of ads that included testimonies, bulletins, cartoons, jingles, illustrations of pretty girls, catchy slogans or “college yells” and more.



Who’s Steering Signs of the Times?

We dive into the history of the sign industry’s oldest trade journal, highlighting some interesting facts about how it all started to where it’s headed. Did you know that Signs of the Times is nearly 120 years old?

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