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Sputnik Signs (page 2)

Bel Aire
Motel
(now Ace Sign Company)
Springfield, IL
Monica's Bakery
Long Beach, CA
The Clubhouse at
This Old House
San Luis Obispo, CA
Eugene's Pizza
Glasgow, MT
The Bel Aire Motel sputnik sign was installed in the early 1960s. It appears to have been produced by the same manufacturer as those at Monica's Bakery and the Clubhouse. I have heard the company was known as Gulf Industries. I have also heard that this model was marketed as the "Sell-Star." The sputniks shown in the rows below have fewer bulbs on their spheres and have stubbier spikes than those in the row shown above. These may also be larger than those shown below. None of these signs were designed to revolve.

The Bel Aire Motel was demolished in 2015. The sign panels were sold to a collector. The sputnik was restored and is now on display at the Ace Sign Company sign museum in Springfield, IL. The flashing mechanism is operating as it did originally.

The sputnik at Monica's Bakery is installed on top of a pole sign. [map]

The Clubhouse at This Old House operated from 2007-2011. The building is still vacant but this sputnik remains on the roof. [map]

Eugene's Pizza opened in 1962. This sputnik sign was installed in 1967. In 2012, after being dark for many years, the bulbs on the Eugene's sputnik were replaced. However, the flashing didn't work properly. In 2016, the owner took the sputnik to an electrical shop to have it repaired. The owner wanted to keep the sign as original as possible. However, the fiberglass strands were exposed on the sputnik's arms. The flashing mechanism and motor were fixed, a couple of sockets were replaced, and the arms were repainted for $1,100. From tip to tip, the sign is about five feet across. The bulbs on the globe and the tips of the arms flash sequentially. The body lights, then some of arms light, the body lights again, and then different arms light. The globe's bulbs are red, blue, green, and yellow. The bulbs on the arms are clear white. [photo thanks Sam Knodel] [map]

Skid's Drive-in #1
Burlington, NC
sputnik sign
Las Cruces, NM
City Glass Co. [gone]
San Bernardino, CA
International Motor Sales
Fresno, CA
The Skid's Drive-in sign uses round bulbs on its sphere and longer bulbs on its spikes. This sign is mounted on a rooftop pole and its bulbs still flash in a Christmas tree light pattern. Skid's opened in 1949 and management believes this sign was installed in the 1950s. I suspect it was most likely in the 1960s. [map]

The sputnik sign in Las Cruces is installed on a pole in front of an unidentified business east of town. [map]

The City Glass Co. sign was installed on the company's roof. This photo is from 2008. By 2011, the business had closed and this sign was gone.

International Motor Sales might not be the original business name but this sign has probably always been used for a car dealership. [map]

Hilltop Auto
Cortland, NY
Park Plaza [gone]
Bailey, CO
C&S Car Co. II
Waterloo, IA
Rabe's Service Station
Edgewood, TX
Lakeside Motel [gone]
Gage, OK
The Hilltop Auto sputnik is installed on top of their canopy. For more, see this website. [map]

The sputnik at the Park Plaza strip mall was installed on top of its sign. This photo is from 2008. By 2012, the sign and sputnik were gone. The strip mall is now known as Bailey Plaza.

The sputnik at C&S Car Co. II is installed above the company's pole sign. The building appears to be an adapted gas station. Does anyone know where this sign came from or how long it has been here? [map]

Rabe's Service Station sputnik is installed on a pole high above the canopy. [map]

The Lakeside Motel sign had only one plastic panel when this photo was taken in 2011. By 2014, both panels and the sputnik were gone.

Space Station Gas
Steamboat Springs, CO
Pine Grove Motel
Grand Rapids, MN
Zoobie's Old Town Tavern
Lansing, MI
The Space Station Gas gas station and sign are believed to be from the early 1960s. [map]

The Pine Grove Motel sign most likely had neon originally. It may have even gone by another name. The bulbs were broken on the sputnik sign when these photos were taken in 2011. [map]

The Zoobie's Old Town Tavern sputnik sign seems a little smaller than the others shown here. I don't know if there were different manufacturers or if these signs were available in different sizes. This sputnik appears to be a match for the one at C&S Car Co. II shown above. From the neon tubing holes, this sign appears to have been reworked. Does anyone know what business this sign advertised for originally? After being closed for several years, Zoobie's reopened in 2013. The new owners are restoring the sign's neon. [map]

Wagon Wheel Restaurant [gone]
Escondido, CA
Lucky Liquor
Shreveport, LA
The Wagon Wheel Restaurant opened in 1953. I believe this restaurant closed in 2014. The sign with the horses appeared to be made of plywood. It disappeared in 2014. By 2015, the sputnik was gone as well. For more, see this website.

Lucky Liquor has another example of these signs. For more, see this website. [map]

Brown's
Service Center [gone]
Paris, IL
Stewart's
Root Beer
Burlington, NJ
Pushnik's
Diner [gone]
Lebanon, PA
Corral Bar
Gallatin Gateway, MT
Nick Nackery
Evansville, IN
These red globe signs represent a style that was fairly common. However, there are very few left now. The sockets allowed the owner to choose from a variety of bulbs: long and clear, colored and stubby, or a combination of both. The bulbs would pulsate in a pattern. The spheres did not rotate. I believe these signs were produced by National Outdoor Display of Memphis, TN. The best date I can come up with is late 1950s.

The top tubes of the Brown's Service Center sign were broken off and the ball was not lit when this photo was taken in 2006. Brown's has only been here since 1988. They believe that this sign was used by the gas station which was here originally. By 2013, this sign had been removed and is now in a private collection.

The Stewart's Root Beer sign is still lit at night. [map]

This sputnik sign was installed on top of the Pushnik's Diner sign. In 2010, when the diner became home to Marabelle's Restaurant, this sign was put in storage. Marabelle's closed in 2013 and the location of this sign is unknown.

The Corral Bar sign uses the stubby bulbs. It seems out of place out in Big Sky country near Yellowstone National Park. [map]

The Nick Nackery is a costume and party store. It opened in 1985. I don't know if this sputnik sign was here before that. [map]

Simple Simon Shoppes
Spartanburg, SC
Trophies Bar &
Grill [gone]
Columbus, OH
Helen's Place
Fort Wayne, IN
Biker's Corner
St. Louis, MO
Best Auto Parts & Repair
Long Beach, CA
Simple Simon Shoppes features this rooftop sign and another freestanding sign. [map]

This Columbus spiked ball was mounted way up on a pole in front of Trophies Bar & Grill. There was previously a record store here. Does anyone know the original business that this spiked ball was associated with? This photo is from 2009. By 2014, the spiked ball and pole were gone.

This Fort Wayne spiked ball is installed in front of Helen's Place which sells used clothing and furniture. I can't find any trace of Helen's Place on-line. Does anyone know if this spiked ball is still there?

Biker's Corner may have gone by another name but there was probably always a bar here. This sputnik sign has probably been here since the 1960s. [map]

The sputnik at Best Auto Parts & Repair is apparently no longer in use. These signs frequently mixed different lengths of bulbs. [map]

Spartan Motel
Three Rivers, MI
Party Times
Grand Prairie, TX
The Spartan Motel is probably from the 1950s. The sputnik may have been added to the sign later on. While the sign is lit at night, I don't believe the sputnik is. For more, see this website. [map]

The Party Times Strip sign is topped with these two sputnik signs. These must have been red originally like those shown above. There might have been five of these sputniks on top of the sign. For more, see this page. [map]

former Loretta's Cafe
Kansas City, KS
Alibi Club
Kansas City, KS
Bardon's Wonder Freeze
Travese City, MI
Shepherds Motel
Denver, CO
This photo of the Loretta's Cafe sign is from 2010. By 2011, the cafe had been replaced with a check cashing business but this sputnik remained. There's now a hair salon there but the sputnik remains. [map]

The Alibi Club sign has only been here since around 2008 so it must have come from another business. [map]

Bardon's Wonder Freeze opened around 1950. This sputnik is installed on the roof and lit at night. It was probably painted red originally. For more, see this website. [map]

The Shepherds Motel sign appears to be from the 1960s. The sputnik was probably painted white when it was installed. [map]

Fontana Motel
San Antonio, TX
Belleair Village Motel
Largo, FL
The Fontana Motel sign is probably from the 1960s. [map]

The Belleair Village Motel opened in 1965. The neon on the motel's sign is well-maintained. The ball on top, which is still lit, is approximately three feet in diameter and holds about 300 bulbs. It originally rotated and flashed. For more, see this website. [map]

Satellite Inn
Alamogordo, NM
The Satellite Inn sign is topped with a 3-D atomic symbol. It was probably built in the 1960s. I don't know if this sign ever revolved. It still flashes at night. One of the corrugated plastic sign faces has been fitted with a vinyl replacement. Alamogordo was known as the Rocket City due to its proximity to the White Sands Missile Range. There are several space age signs in town including this one. For more, see this website. [map]

Laurel Lounge
Oakland, CA
The Laurel Lounge opened in 1948. This sign is probably from the 1960s. The sputnik has been missing at least a couple of its arms for many years. For more, see this website. [map]

More Sputnik Signs:
Satellite Burger (Crescent City, CA) [gone]
Tower Theatre (Fresno, CA)
former Basque restaurant (Guadalupe, CA) [gone]
Capri Motel (Redding, CA) [vintage; sputnik gone]
Satellite Lodge (Ukiah, CA) [vintage; gone]
Celebrity Lanes (later Celebrity Fun Center): 1, 2 (Glendale, CO) [gone]
Biff Burger (St. Petersburg, FL)
O'Goodies Irish Pub (Fort Dodge, IA) [map]
Urban Artifacts (Peoria, IL)
Taylor's Dairy Bar (Pendleton, KY) [gone]
White Star Cleaners (Houma, LA)
Spruce Tree Court (Alexandria, MN) [map]
1st Realty (Hibbing, MN)
unknown location (Sunrise Beach, MO) [gone?]
Eugene's Pizza (Glasgow, MT)
Joe's In & Out (Malta, MT)
Satellite Motel (Omaha, NE)
former Denny's (Las Vegas, NV)
West Wind Drive-in (North Las Vegas, NV)
Mardi Gras Motor Lodge (Reno, NV)
Welcome Arch (Reno, NV)
Satellite Shopland (Cincinnati, OH)
unknown business (Cleves, OH)
The Treat Drive-in (Shippensburg, PA)
Piggie Park (Charleston, SC) [gone]
Grouper's Calabash (Loris, SC)
Mardi Gras Motel (Waco, TX) [gone]
Columbian Motel (Provo, UT) [vintage; gone]
Bunny Hop Cafe (Junction City, WI) [map]

Flickr Group: Roto-Spheres & Sputnik Signs

If you know of any other signs like these, I'd be very interested to hear about them.

Sputnik Signs (pg. 1) Roto-Spheres
Main SCA Article
Companion Page
Main Signs Page

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