Sputnik Signs (page 2)

Bel Aire Motel [gone]
(now Ace Sign Company)
Springfield, IL
Monica's Bakery [gone]
Long Beach, CA
The Clubhouse at
This Old House
San Luis Obispo, CA
Eugene's Pizza [gone]
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. They are now displayed at the Route 66 Motorheads Bar in Springfield. 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 was installed on top of a pole sign. In 2020, the entire pole sign was gone.

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. In 2022, the sputnik blew off the roof and two of the arms were broken. They might be fixed and the sign reinstalled in the future.

From tip to tip, the sign was about five feet across. The bulbs on the globe and the tips of the arms flashed in this sequence: the body, some of arms, the body, and then other arms. The globe's bulbs were red, blue, green, and yellow. The bulbs on the arms were clear white. [photo thanks Sam Knodel]

Skid's Drive-in #1
Burlington, NC
sputnik sign
Las Cruces, NM
City Glass Co. [gone]
San Bernardino, CA
International Motor Sales
Fresno, CA
private collection
Albuquerque, NM
The sputnik signs in this row and the four rows below appears to have all been produced by the same manufacturer. They were patented in 1964.

The Skid's Drive-in 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]

This sputnik in Albuquerque is part of a private collection.

Hilltop Auto [gone]
Cortland, NY
Park Plaza [gone]
Bailey, CO
Service Station [gone]
Edgewood, TX
Lakeside Motel [gone]
Gage, OK
The Hilltop Auto sputnik was installed on a pole about the canopy. The sign was gone by 2022. For more, see this website.

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.

Rabe's Service Station sputnik was installed on a pole high above the canopy. This one was still there in 2019 but by 2021 it had been removed. it is now in a private collection.

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
2012: 2023:
The Space Station Gas gas station and sign are believed to be from the early 1960s. In 2014, backlit plastic letters were added to the top panel. [map]

Pine Grove Motel [gone]
Grand Rapids, MN
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. By 2022, the sputnik sign was gone. It is now in a private collection.

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. The paint has faded so much that the fiberglass threads are showing. [map]

C&S Car Co. II [gone]
Waterloo, IA
Zoobie's Old Town Tavern
Lansing, MI
The sputniks at these two businesses are different from those in the rows above. The arms are not as conical and the sphere appears smaller. The arms are also screwed on directly on top of the sphere rather than recessed below the spheres in the examples above. Most likely, they were produced by a copycat manufacturer. These are the only two that I have seen.

The sputnik at C&S Car Co. II was installed above the company's pole sign. The building appears to be an adapted gas station. This photo is from 2009. This sputnik was still there in 2012. By 2019, the entire pole, sign, and sputnik were gone.

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. [map]

Service Center
Paris, IL
(now Cincinnati, OH)
Root Beer
Burlington, NJ
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. I believe they were first made in the mid-1950s.

The bulbs on top 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 had only been there since 1988. The business believed that this sign was used by the gas station which was there previously. By 2013, this sign had been removed. The sign was restored and was in a private collection in Whiteland, IN. It was then sold around 2014 to Mainly Art Vintage Modern Furniture where it is now displayed in the front window. [map]

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. This sign has been here since at least the early 1970s. The flashing mechanism was repaired in 2017. [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 [gone]
Spartanburg, SC
Trophies Bar &
Grill [gone]
Columbus, OH
Helen's Place
Fort Wayne, IN
Car n Dog Wash
Bismarck, NE
The Simple Simon Shoppes featured this rooftop sign and another freestanding sign. In 2017, the restaurant moved to a new location. Both of these signs were sold.

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?

The Car n Dog Wash spiked ball has been here since at least 2008 and may have been installed there many years before that. [map]

Spartan Motel [gone]
Three Rivers, MI
Party Times
Grand Prairie, TX
Stango's Coffee Shop
San Angelo, TX
The Spartan Motel is probably from the 1950s. The sputnik may have been added to the sign later on. Sometime between 2016 and 2018, the sputnik was removed. Then, around 2019, the entire sign was gone and replaced with a backlit plastic, rectangular panel. For more, see this website.

The sputniks at Party Times are installed on top of the sign. [map]

The Stango's Coffee Shop sputnik sign is located inside the business. It has an unusual flashing pattern. For more, see this website.

former Loretta's
Cafe [gone]
Kansas City, KS
Alibi Club [gone]
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. It was still there in 2015 but gone by 2016.

The Alibi Club sign had only been there since around 2008 so it must have come from another business. This photo is from 2010. The sputnik was still there in 2015 but gone by 2016.

Bardon's Wonder Freeze opened around 1950. This sputnik is installed on the roof and lit at night. It was probably painted red originally. In 2021, the sputnik was removed for restoration. It will be back in the spring. 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]

Biker's Corner
St. Louis, MO
Best Auto Parts & Repair
Long Beach, CA
Bucky's Sports Bar
Meridian, MS
Atomic Candy
Denton, TX
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]

The sputnik at Bucky's Sports Bar has been installed on top of the sign since at least 2008. [map]

The sputnik at Atomic Candy is displayed inside the store. I have not seen one like this anywhere else. It does not have the seam in the middle and it appears to be made of metal.

Fontana Motel [gone]
San Antonio, TX
Belleair Village Motel
Largo, FL
The Fontana Motel sign was probably from the 1960s. Around 2022, a new sign was installed and this sputnik and pole sign were gone.

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 revolved and flashed. The sign poles were shortened at some point due to the City sign code. For more, see this website. [map]

Satellite Inn [gone]
Alamogordo, NM
2008: 2012:
The Satellite Inn sign was 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 flashed at night. One of the corrugated plastic sign faces had been fitted with a vinyl replacement. Alamogordo was known as the Rocket City due to its proximity to the White Sands Missile Range. There were several space age theme signs in town including this one. In 2018, the motel became a Rodeway Inn. The sign was removed and was stored in the empty pool. In 2021, the sign was sold to a private collector. For more, see this website.

Terry's Hot Rod Lounge
Watertown, SD
Zip's Dive In Grocery
Rosebud, TX
Laurel Lounge
Oakland, CA
This sputnik sign is installed on top of the Terry's Hot Rod Lounge sign. I suspect it was installed when the space housed the Busy Bee Cafe in the early 1960s or when it housed the Double-D Cafe from 1963-1978. [map]

The Zip's Dive In Grocery is now known as the Rosebud Grocery. The sign is probably from the 1960s. The bulbs in these add-on signs must have originally had flashers. [map]

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:
Ignite Sign Art Museum (Tucson, AZ)
Satellite Burger (Crescent City, CA) [gone]
Tower Theatre (Fresno, CA)
former Basque restaurant (Guadalupe, CA) [gone]
Vogue Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)
Capri Motel (Redding, CA) [vintage; sputnik gone]
Satellite Lodge (Ukiah, CA) [vintage; gone]
Starlite Motel: 1, 2 (Cocoa Beach, FL) [vintage; gone]
Biff Burger (St. Petersburg, FL) [gone]
O'Goodies Irish Pub (Fort Dodge, IA) [gone]
Urban Artifacts (Peoria, IL)
Taylor's Dairy Bar (Pendleton, KY) [gone]
White Star Cleaners (Houma, LA)
Ray's PeGe (Monroe, LA)
Aladdin Orient Carpet Corporation (Detroit, MI)
Spruce Tree Court: 1, 2 (Alexandria, MN) [map]
Mirabella Realty (Hibbing, MN)
Signature Electric (Victoria, MN)
unknown location (Sunrise Beach, MO) [gone?]
Joe's In & Out (Malta, MT)
Satellite Motel (Omaha, NE)
Toby's Cup (Phillipsburg, NJ)
former Denny's (Las Vegas, NV)
West Wind Drive-in (North Las Vegas, NV)
Mardi Gras Motor Lodge (Reno, NV) [gone]
Welcome Arch (Reno, NV)
unknown business (Cleves, OH)
Classen Inn (Oklahoma City, OK)
Treat Drive-in (Shippensburg, PA) [gone]
Piggie Park (Charleston, SC) [gone]
Grouper's Calabash (Loris, SC) [gone]
Tower Motel (Fort Worth, TX) [gone]
Mardi Gras Motel (Waco, TX) [gone]
Jim's Frostop (Cedar City, UT) [vintage; gone]
Columbian Motel (Provo, UT) [vintage; gone]
Earl's Restaurant (Danville, VA) [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
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