Flame Signs

(hit "refresh" to get the most recent version of this page; click on photos for larger images)

The photos on this page were moved here from my Signs section to accompany an article I've just started working on for the Society for Commercial Archeology's Journal magazine. The issue will be out in the Fall of 2020. The signs below are organized alphabetically by state.

Bonfire Club
Gordon, AL
Frick's Butane
Texarkana, AR
The Bonfire Club has been here since at least 1950. There is a modern neon sign on the building but this old sign remained by the road when this photo was taken in 2010. I believe the sign has been refurbished or replaced and moved further back from the highway. [map]

Frick's Butane was established in 1935. The company moved to its current location in 1956. This sign appears to be from the 1960s. [map]

Torch Room Lounge
Norwalk, CA
The Flame
San Diego, CA
The Torch Room Lounge sign might be from the 1950s or 1960s. [map]

The Flame opened around 1954 and this sign is from then. There was previously an Egyptian themed restaurant here which was destroyed in a fire. "The Flame" was a reference to that fire. I believe this bar has been closed since 2013. In 2017, the sign was removed for restoration. For more, see this website. [map]

Blue Flame
Pico Rivera, CA
Wimpee Fuel Oil [gone?]
Jacksonville, FL
This Blue Flame sign was installed on top of the Southern Counties Gas Company building in downtown Los Angeles in 1960. It was outlined with neon and lit at night. The steel flame is 46 feet tall. It was removed around 1989 and put in storage. In 2012, it was installed at the SoCalGas training facility in Pico Rivera. Before being installed in Pico Rivera, the neon was changed to LED tubing. It is installed back from the road so as to not exceed the height restrictions of the local sign ordinance. It was also registered as an "icon" rather than a sign in order to not raise any red flags. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

This Wimpee Fuel Oil sign is probably from the 1950s. In 2016, the sign was damaged in a hurricane and removed. It's not known if the sign will be repaired. It was still on-site and covered with a tarp in 2019. [map]

Torch Lounge
Boise, ID
The Torch Lounge has been here since at least 1946. The business is now a strip club. The sign has apparently been reworked many times. These photos are from 2014. The sign panel is now painted red. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Grasso Plaza
St. Louis, MO
Dowdle Gas
De Kalb, MS
The bottom part of the Grasso Plaza sign has been updated. The flame part of the sign is probably from the 1950s or so. For more, see this website. [map]

This Dowdle Gas sign is probably from the 1960s or 1970s. There are other signs like this in Louisville, MS, Meridian, MS, York, AL, and probably a few others elsewhere. There were other signs in Columbus, MS and Philadelphia, MS which are gone now. I don't believe any of these signs ever had neon. [map]

Mr. Barbecue
Winston-Salem, NC
Mr. Barbecue opened here in 1964. In the 1970s, the neon flame replaced a real gas-lit flame. For more, see this website. [map]

Rochester Fire Equipment Co.
Rochester, NY
Fireside Inn
Reno, NV
The Rochester Fire Equipment Co. sign is probably from the 1950s or 1960s. For more, see this website. [map]

The Fireside Inn sign is probably from the 1960s. The neon flame was not lit at night in 2014. [map]

Blue Flame Restaurant
Clairton, PA
The Blue Flame Restaurant signs are probably from the 1950s or 1960s. [map]

Lone Star
Gas Company
Grand Prairie, TX
Lone Star Gas Co.
Hillsboro, TX
Beef House
Garland, TX
The Lone Star Gas Company in Grand Prairie opened here in 1962 and this flame-shaped sign was installed on the roof then. The company moved in 2000 but the sign remains. It is about two feet tall and revolved on an eight foot tall column. The Housing and Neighborhood Services Department had the sign restored when it moved into the space. [map]

This neon flame sign in Hillsboro advertised for the Lone Star Gas Co.. These signs were mass-produced for the company's local offices. [map]

The Beef House restaurant has been here since at least the 1990s. The sign has obviously been adapted. The restaurant may have opened as the Koffee Kup and later housed the Blackhawk Restaurant. However, I don't know when this sign was built or for which business. [map]

El Paso
Natural Gas Company
El Paso, TX
Clem Mikeska's Bar-B-Q
Temple, TX
Cascade Natural Gas
Longview, WA
This flame sign in El Paso is located downtown on the roof of the El Paso Natural Gas Company building. It is also known as the Blue Flame Building. In 1996, the company moved to Houston and is now known as the El Paso Corporation. This sign was built in 1955 and was lit from the inside. It predicted the weather like the Weather Ball in Flint, MI. El Paso's "Weather Flame" is 21 feet tall and made of plexiglas and stainless steel. It was lit red for warmer weather, gold for cooler weather, and blue for no change. It flickered to warn of wind, rain, or snow. For more, see this website. [map]

Clem Mikeska's Bar-B-Q was established in 1965 in Temple. The restaurant moved to this location in 2008. This sign might be the original or a replica of it. There are two other locations now in Belton and Cameron, TX. [map]

The Cascade Natural Gas sign is probably from the 1950s or 1960s. [map]

Blue Flame
Gas Service [gone]
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
I can't tell if the Blue Flame Gas Service sign was modern or vintage. This photo is from 2011. By 2018, the sign was gone.

More Flame Signs:
Torch Cafe (Tuskegee, AL)
Clark Gas Co. (Muscle Shoals, AL)
Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company Building (Pine Bluff, AR)
Screaming Banshee Pizza (Bisbee, AZ)
Rice Bowl Restaurant (Bakersfield, CA)
Crestview Lanes: 1, 2 3 (Carmichael, CA)
Sequoia Gas Co. (Fortuna, CA)
Magic Lamp Inn (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
Flames: 1, 2 (San Jose, CA)
Condes' Restaurant (Universal City, CA)
Firelite Shopping Center (Orange, CT)
Jimbo's Pit BBQ (Tampa, FL)
Atlanta Gas & Light Co. (Macon, GA)
BAC Cinema (Belleville, IL) [vintage; gone]
Klemm's Candlelite Cafe (Fort Wayne, IN)
Decock Bottled Gas (Escanaba, MI)
Axel's Bonfire (St. Paul, MN) [gone]
St. Clair Broiler (St. Paul, MN) [gone]
Flame Theatre (Wells, MN)
Triangle Motor Inn (Jacksonville, NC)
The Flame (Las Vegas, NV)
Cotton-Eyed Joe's Barbeque (Claremore, OK)
Richardson Fuel Company (Nowata, OK) [gone]
Automatic Heat: 1, 2, 3 [gone]
gas company (Portland, OR) [vintage; gone]
Equitable Gas Co. (Pittsburgh, PA) [vintage; gone]
Tiki Lounge (Pittsburgh, PA)
Lone Star Gas (Dallas, TX) [gone]
Charcoaler Drive-in (El Paso, TX)
Lone Star Gas Company (Fort Worth, TX)
The Corral (Victoria, TX)
Lee's Mongolian Bar-B-Q (Ogden, UT)
Red Carpet Inn (Harrisonburg, VA)
Frontier Room (Seattle, WA) [gone]
Washington Energy (Seattle, WA)
Wisconsin Gas Building (Milwaukee, WI)
Steak Pit (Washburn, WI)
flame (Madeira, Portugal)

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

Main SCA Article
Companion Page
Main Signs Page