email: roadarch@outlook.com

Opal Glass Signs (page 2)

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Rex Hotel
Rock Springs, WY
W.A. Haslam Company
Santa Maria, CA
The Rex Hotel sign has got it all: opal glass, incandescent bulbs, and neon. However, it didn't start out that way. The building first housed the Oracle Theatre. In 1924, Rex Amusement bought the building and added the hotel. This sign was probably installed then. Initially, it was a combination sign with opal glass and bulbs. When other sign companies began actively producing backlit opal glass letter signs, Federal Electric jumped on the bandwagon. Originally, the company got its letters from Flexlume. However in 1921, Federal Electric patented its own "Silveray" letters. By 1923, the company was describing its "embossed snow white silveray glass" electric letter signs in its advertising and offering customers 12 month payment plans. Federal Electric also began producing modular signs with opal glass letters. The Rex Hotel and W.A. Haslam signs are among the handful of examples of this type to survive.

At some point, neon tubing was retrofitted over the "Rex" letters. The bottom panel which was also lit with neon was most likely added at the same time. The opal glass letters were presumably not lit by then. The sign's panels were originally Federal Electric's standard navy blue. They had faded considerably by 2005. By 2010, they were painted light blue and the neon was removed from the bottom panel. The photos above are from 2012. Thankfully, the border details were left in their original state. While the long-closed hotel's sign has not been lit for decades, the owner is considering restoring it. [map]

The W.A. Haslam Company opened was established in 1883. In 1906, the company moved into the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building. The store sold men's clothing and dry goods and catered mainly to farmers and ranchers. This sign was there by the mid-1920s. It is about 12 feet tall. The store is long gone but this sign remains. In 1997, the City of Santa Maria named the building an Object of Historical Merit. [map]

Sequoia Hotel
Redwood City, CA
Hotel Durant
Berkeley, CA
The Sequoia Hotel was built in 1912. The "Rooms" sign is a Federal sectional sign with opal glass letters. The "Sequoia" panel on top of it was probably added later. The other sign with the neon and tin border was probably installed in the late 1920s or early 1930s. [map]

The letters at the top of the Durant Hotel are made of opal glass. The hotel was built in 1928 and this sign is probably from then. The sign was previously painted green. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Delta Hotel
Stockton, CA
Plotkin
Furniture
Athol, MA
Lahiere
Restaurant
Princeton, NJ
Keit's Flowers
Bay City, MI
The Delta Hotel was built in 1919. The building was remodeled in 1924 and this sign may be from around then. [map]

Plotkin Furniture was founded in 1919 and moved to this location in 1953. This sign must have been moved with the business. The top part of the sign originally read "Glendale Ranges". This photo is from 2011. The store closed in 2012. This sign was still there in 2015. [map]

The Lahiere Restaurant opened in 1919 and this sign is most likely from then. It was produced by Flexlume Sign which was one of the biggest manufacturers of opal glass signs. The restaurant closed in 2010. The space was being renovated for another restaurant when this photo was taken in 2012. It's not known what will happen with this sign. [map]

Keit's Flowers was established in 1856. The flower shop moved to this location in the early 1930s and this sign was most likely installed then. This sign also has ripple tin panels. The top line of text is composed of opal glass letters while the rest of the letters had neon tubing. Signs in the 1930s frequently had both neon and opal glass. [map]

Jensen's Recreation Center
Los Angeles, CA

2013:

2017:
Jensen's Recreation Center was built in 1924. This rooftop sign was erected then or shortly thereafter. It is 28 feet long and 17 feet tall. There are an estimated 1,300 red, green, and white bulbs. The building originally had a bowling alley and pool hall. The man at the top of the sign bowls a strike with bulbs lit in sequence into dancing pins. The letters in the center of the sign are also lit sequentially. The signs on the sides of the sign have backlit opal glass letters. The sign was restored and relit in 1997. The building was sold in 2014. The sign was restored again in 2017. It was repainted and all of the bulbs and internal components were replaced. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. [map]

San Francisco Fire Department Station #35
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Fire Department Station #35 houses a functioning firehouse with a fire engine and two fire boats. It was built in 1915 and these signs may be from then. For more, see this website. [map]

Winnedumah Hotel
Independence, CA
The Winnedumah Hotel was built in 1927. These letters and ripple tin panels are probably from then. The panels were originally installed on the building above the portico. For more, see this website. [map]

John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home
Meriden, CT
This sign for John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home is probably from 1937 or earlier. For more, see this website. [map]

Tribune-Monitor Building
Fort Scott, KS
The Tribune-Monitor Building was built in 1925. The building features the original copper or bronze signs with opal glass letters. For more, see this website. [map]

Victor Lundeen Company
Fergus Falls, MN
The Victor Lundeen Company building was constructed in 1919. This sign was there by 1923. The sign is backlit at night with bulbs inside the sign. The flat letters appear to be translucent glass or plastic with each letter surrounded by some type of black material. It is not known if this was the original style of the lettering or if this sign had raised opal glass letters originally. For more, see this website. [map]

More Opal Glass Signs:
The Star (Mena, AR) [map]
Ambassador Dog & Cat Hospital (Los Angeles, CA)
Hoot Hoot Ice Cream (Los Angeles, CA) [vintage; gone]
Eng-Skell Building (San Francisco, CA)
Southern Plate Glass & Paint Co. (Ocala, FL) [private collection]
Watson's Grocery (State Center, IA) [map]
New Talmage Apartments (Malden, MA)
Hotel Northampton: 1, 2 (Northampton, MA) [map]
Richardson's Stationers (Baltimore, MD) [vintage; gone]
Criterion Theatre (Bar Harbor, ME)
Polish Cadets (Buffalo, NY)
Kingston Theatre (Cheboygan, MI)
Yellowstone Hotel (Duluth, MN)
Johl & Bergman Hosiery (Greenville, MS)
Nitta Yuma Service Station (Nitta Yuma, MS)
Chinook Hotel (Chinook, MT)
Southern Hotel (Elizabeth City, NC) [map]
Guilford National Bank (Greensboro, NC) [map]
Soda (Hendersonville, NC)
Hotel Troy (Troy, NC)
Benson Hotel (Oakland, NE) [map]
Elks Club (New Brunswick, NJ) [map]
Glassman's Drugs: 1, 2 (Paterson, NJ) [map]
Hotel Pershing (South River, NJ) [map]
Shultz & Co Hardware (Angola, NY) [map]
Parkside Candy Company (Buffalo, NY)
Palace Theatre (Geneseo, NY) [map]
Mohican Market (Kingston, NY) [map]
Ayres & Galloway Hardware (Middletown, NY) [map]
Interborough Subway (New York, NY; now Miami Beach, FL)
Abbott's (Saugerties, NY) [map]
Chevrolet (Canal Winchester, OH) [gone]
American Sign Museum (Cincinnati, OH)
Vernondale Motel: 1, 2 (Erie, PA) [map]
Benedum Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Lincoln Lunch (Providence, RI)
Florsheim Shoe (Nashville, TN)
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (Covington, VA)
Billups Funeral Home: 1, 2 (Richmond, VA) [map]
Goodyear (private collection)

Opal Glass Flickr group (various cities)

If you know of any other opal glass signs, I'd love to hear from you.

Opal Glass Signs
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