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Ghost signs, ghost ads & other phantoms

Boxes & Paddocks for Pensioned [Horses] – La Seyne-sur-Mer, Toulon FR – Gaia Son

© Gaia Son

© Gaia Son

© Gaia Son

La Seyne-sur-Mer, or La Seyne is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. It is part of the agglomeration of Toulon, and is situated adjacent to the west of this city. – Wikipedia

Apparently, providing boxes and paddock space for horses is still a thriving industry in France – a service that offers “spa-like” conditions for your horse.

Mullins & Sons Furniture & Carpets – Sunset Park Industrial Park

© Frank H. Jump

Another Mullins vintage mural ad was seen from the elevated line off Broadway in Williamsburg and is featured on Kevin Walsh’s Forgotten-NY website- spotted during one of the first Forgotten Walks. [http://forgotten-ny.com/1999/01/on-broadway-brooklyns-broadway-el-has-a-fascinating-collection-of-old-advertising/]

Graves of Teunis Bergen & Folkert Sprung – Early Bergen Island settlers – Flatlands, Brooklyn

Gravestone of Teunis Bergen, early Flatlands settler. Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery, Kings Highway © Frank H. Jump

Heir legt het lichaem van Folkert Sprung overleden den 25 October 1807, in het 90 yaer siyns levens – Here lies  the body of Folkert Sprung, died on 25 October 1807 in the 90th year since living.” Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery, Kings Highway © Frank H. Jump

Historic Homesteads of Kings County – Charles A. Ditmas, 1909 © Google Books


Historic Homesteads of Kings County – Charles A. Ditmas, 1909 © Google Books


Bergen and Mill Islands

Among the numerous islands on the western side of Jamaica Bay and within the jurisdiction of Flatlands, three were inhabited or utilized by Europeans during the colonial period. One of these was Barren Island, the other two being Bergen and Mill Islands. All three of these islands at one time or another belonged to Elbert Elbertse, an early settler at Flatlands. Sixty acres of upland and ample meadows constituted the attraction of Bergen Island, and a mill site and a small parcel of arable land were the chief assets of Mill Island.

Bergen Island remained known into the eighteenth century by its Indian name of Winnipague. Europeans took title to the island in 1646, when Governor Keift granted “Meuters” or Bergen Island to John Underhill. Underhill shortly relinquished the property to others, and in 1665 Elbert Elbertse purchased the island. Probably Elbertse made actual use of the island; however, seventeenth-century records make no mention of a house or dwelling located there. In his will, made in 1686, Elbertse assigned to his son Gerrit Stoothoff “my island . . . under the jurisdiction of Amesfort.” Gerrit also was bequeathed his father’s house and lot “in the town of Amesfort.” The testator left to a son-in-law sixty acres on the mainland.

What became known as the Bergen House was erected well before 1800, the approximate year in which additions were made to the structure. By that time a complicated, drawn-out legal contest had been resolved concerning rival claims to Bergen Island advanced by two lines of Elbertse’s descendants. There is record of an ejectment suit in 1784. At least three men held meadowlands at Bergen Island in the mid-1780s, Wilhemus Stoothoof, Johannis Stoothoof, and Elias Hubbard. – JAMAICA BAY: A HISTORY – Gateway National Recreation Area New York, New Jersey


Young’s Stetson Hats – Clearance Center – 139 Nassau Street, NYC

© Vincenzo Aiosa

This venue is closed.

Since 1959, this hole-in-the-wall hat shop has been topping the pates of the New York City man. From elderly immigrants stuck in a fashion time warp to the hip-hop entrepreneur looking for that perfect lid, Hat Corner customers are as eclectic as the offerings on display at this quintessential hat shop. Newsboys, ivy leagues, newyorkers, berets, ascots, boaters, westerns, Bogarts, Indiana Jones fedoras, ball caps and visors from a plethora of brands such as Kangol, Capas, and Selentinio sit neatly arranged in veneered, wall-to-wall cubby-holes above an ancient parquet floor. The place feels like it has been around for a hundred years, and it has, in one form or another, since a hat shop called Truly Yours occupied this space circa 1890. The sales staff reflects the polarity of its customer base and knows both its hats and its chapeau history. Bring in your old topper for expert restoration or to find a new hatband to match a suit—or a throwback jersey.

Enlarged – Lost City

Enlarged & rotated – Lost City

Lost City Blog

I found this matchbook the other day. It was remarkable enough in that it was a matchbook for a hat store, not a bar or restaurant. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. But the address, 139 Nassau, corner of Beekman, rang a bell. Seemed to me I remembered a hat store being on that corner. – Lost City – http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2012/05/truly-yours-best-hats.html

New Paltz Savings Bank Revisited – Lonny Behar

© Lonny Behar

Tip Top Cereal Co – formerly 2515 Canal Road – Cleveland, OH – Kathi Waite & Joshua Kudlaty

© Frank H. Jump

© Frank H. Jump

Vincenzo on Vespa © Frank H. Jump

Vincenzo on Vespa © Frank H. Jump

© Vincenzo Aiosa

© Frank H. Jump

© Frank H. Jump

© Frank H. Jump


Several years ago, you posted a picture of my father’s “shop” Pump and Ice Machine, Inc, in Cleveland Ohio. My son Joshua Kudlaty drove by there Sunday [as they] were headed to a Cleveland Indians game, and decided to stop by and see “Grandpa’s shop.” Property is now out of the family, and it looks like may be headed for the wrecking ball. sigh. Yes, fading.  Place is now abandoned. Sigh. But he got this picture -the back view. I thought you might like to see it. – Kathi Waite

Previously posted on FAB


If it is really your last fading ad blog post, i will be very sad.

However, it seems appropriate. I have been thinking of you a great deal this past week. I discovered your blog and your world from a picture you posted of my father’s shop several years ago. Pump and Ice Machine Inc. It was located on Canal road in Cleveland, Ohio. Well, a week ago, my son made a very sad discovery.

This is the last picture we have of our dad’s beloved machine shop. It appears to have been demolished a day or two the photo was taken.

I felt i needed to share it with you.
Good Luck in whatever you do. I will miss your blog a great deal.

Flint Mi
Ultimate II

© Joshua Kudlaty

Dear Kathleen-

Although I’ve been toying with the idea of throwing in the towel, I thought I would post an April Fool’s Day posting and see what happened. I’ve not been posting as obsessively as I had in the past. After a decade, I’m re-evaluating, self-examining and basically existentially questioning where to go from here. Thank you for sending me this pic. Sorry the building was demolished but I’m surprised it took so long since the last update. I’m posting your pic tonight.

Keep in touch and all the best to you and your family,

Frank H. Jump

This is the last post for Fading Ad Blog

Thank you everyone. It has been really real.

Vintage Coca-Cola Ad in Aarhus, Denmark – Dr. Andrew Irving PLUS! Recent Cryptic Coca-Cola Advertising in Denmark

© Dr. Andrew Irving

Refreshes Them Best © Dr. Andrew Irving

Altered © Vissevasse.dk

Ad of the Day: This Coca-Cola Campaign Can Be Deciphered Only by Color-Blind People
Ishihara image is cryptic to everyone else By David Gianatasio|December 23, 2015 © Adweek

Can you connect the dots?

Ad agency Essencius recently launched a teaser campaign in Denmark touting stevia- and cane-sugar-sweetened Coca-Cola Life, but only about 5 percent of the population could actually see the message.

That’s because the copy was “hidden” in an image that looked liked blobs of greenish-brown bubbles to most viewers. (Technically, they’re called reverse Ishihara images.) Color-blind people, however, saw the word “Life” nestled within the design.

“Our idea is based on the premise of engaging many by targeting the few,” explains Essencius managing partner Brian Orland. “Surprising people and getting them curious about the hidden message in the campaign has had a great impact on the engagement rate.”

The images appeared in digital ads, social media, outdoor installations and at department-store sampling sessions. According to the agency, the unorthodox approach generated substantial earned media, reaching more than 17 percent of the Danish population between 10 and 60 years old. – Adweek

Seely Shoulder Shapes – Excerpt from Fading Ads of New York City (History Press, 2011)

JPG of full frame hi-res scan TIFF © Frank H. Jump

Excerpt from Fading Ads of New York City (History Press, 2011)

Seely Shoulder Shapes
Incorporated from November 17, 1953 through December 15, 1959.

According to the Manhattan Ghost Signs Digital Collection , an attractively designed new website created by Queens College Graduates Otto Luna and Dana Rubin to catalogue the fading ads of the Garment District (using the extensive photo-archive of Walter Grutchfield), Seely Shoulder Shapes was originally called Seely Shoulder Pad Corp., located at 263/5 W. 40th St. from 1945 until 1956. Shoulder shapes or pads are still produced today for the fashion industry, but no longer at this address.

In a New York Times article in which I was featured and provided the front page image, David W. Dunlap stated the following about the fate of this sign: “Another vintage sign that is not destined to last much longer trumpets Seely Shoulder Shapes, a garment business from the 1950’s. Painted byArtkraft Strauss, which is still in operation, the mural is at 265 West 40th Street, on the site where The New York Times is planning its new headquarters.” After the New-York Historical show came down, I tried to sell the collection. One of my benefactors is the lovely Tama Starr, President of the Artkraft-Strauss outdoor advertising company whom I had the pleasure of spending an hour or more talking about the sign painting industry. Starr was very encouraging of the campaign and gave me a copy of her seminal book about advertising Signs & Wonders, The Spectacular Marketing of America.

In Starr’s book, she speaks primarily on the illuminated sign industry although she does touch upon the origins of advertising and the innate ability of humans to create signs and symbols. In a section she calls “From Cave Artists to Wall Dogs,” Starr addresses questions about which I’ve always speculated, like what was the first advertisement and who invented the wall ad? Starr writes:

The story of outdoor advertising traditionally begins with the first symbolic marketers, the cave dwellers during the Upper Paleolithic period, starting about 40,000 years ago. At Lascaux, France, and elsewhere, elaborate action murals depicting a variety of animals and lively hunting scenes portray the dynamic relationship between hunters and the migratory beasts who represented fundamental economic forces: food and clothing, the entire constellation of blessings that Nature could either bestow or withhold.

Anthropologists identify these Stone Age rendering – the first wall-mounted messages – as the earliest examples of both art and writing. They speculate that, like modern media, the messages were intended to influence as well as reflect the viewer’s life. Like advertisements, they depict dreams fulfilled – the animals rushing into the hunters’ traps – and urge specific, concrete action – Hunt! Be hunted! – on both parties to the economic transaction.

All known cultures use signs, in one form or another, to convey straightforward messages with immediacy. Anthropologist Ashley Montagu defines a sign as a “concrete denoter” with an inherent, specific meaning: “This is it; do something about it!” He points out the essentially human character of signs by noting that while many types of animals respond to signals – interruptions in an energy field for the purpose of communicating – only a few intelligent and highly trained animals can understand even the simplest signs.

History’s first known poster bulletin was a notice of a reward for a runaway slave posted on a wall in the Egyptian city of Thebes more than 3,000 years ago. Egyptian merchants of the same periods chiseled sales messages into tall, square stone obelisks and roadside stone tablets called stelae, and painted them in bright colors to attract the attention of passersby.

In Pompeii, billboard-like walls covered with advertisements were preserved in the lava that engulfed them when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. Excavations there have revealed wall messages on the shady side of the marketplace too, offering enticing invitations along the lines of “For a Good Time, See Cora.” And even earlier, in ancient Greece, innovative practitioners of what may arguably be the world’s second-oldest profession (symbol-making being necessarily precedent) expanded their out-of-home client base by carving the message “ΕΠΟϒ ΜΟΙ,” “Follow Me,” in the bottoms of their leather sandals, leaving an impression in the clay pavement as well as in the imaginations of potential customers. The connection between the two ancient occupations was not limited to amateurs, however. Modern visitors to Kuşadasi in Turkey are shown magnificent Byzantine mosaics that once served as on-premises business signs for houses of pleasure.

The Romans brought the use of whitewashed walls with painted ads on them on their conquests throughout Europe. They also developed artful on-premise business signs specially designed for the illiterate, such as a friendly-looking bush denoting a tavern. Some ancient trade symbols – such as the three golden balls of the pawnshop, the giant key of the locksmith, the big shoe of the shoemaker, and the red and white stripes of the barber – have remained in use for a thousand years and more.

Tama Starr loved the image of Seely Shoulder Shapes and bought it. As I signed the photo for her she signed her book for me:

Frank Jump! It’s always a good sign to meet a new friend. Best wishes always, Tama Starr 7/14/00

I believe this image still hangs in Tama Starr’s office.

Gold Dust Twins – Tornado Reveals a Racist Remnant in Advertising – Atlanta, GA

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In April 2008, a tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta. Damage totaled around half a billion dollars. One life was lost. Amid the destruction came the resurrection of an early 20th century billboard—a caricature of coal-black, wide eyed, tutu-wearing twins, happily scrubbing dishes. The two were the Gold Dust Twins, the nationally recognized trademark for Gold Dust Washing Powder, a household cleaning product whose popularity soared with the antics of the cheerful, degraded duo.

The advertisement is painted on the exterior east wall of a vacant, three-story brick building at 229 Auburn Avenue.1 The structure was once the local office of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, founded in 1905 by Alonzo Herndon, one of the wealthiest African Americans in the South at the time. For more than eighty years the Gold Dust advertisement remained hidden from view, obstructed by the neighboring Herndon Office Building, completed in 1926. When the tornado-damaged Herndon Building was demolished in 2008, the advertisement came to light, raising difficult questions of race and culture—and more pressing, what to do with the twins now that they were back. Velma Maia Thomas, Scholar Blogs – Emory University (July 27, 2015)

Who are the Gold Dust Twins?

The Gold Dust Twins were advertising icons for a soap company called N. K. Fairbank, created to sell its Gold Dust Washing Powder.

According to Marilyn Kern-Foxworth, author of “Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” the Gold Dust Twins were around starting in about 1887, but they really took off after their appearance at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. 

Tornado Uncovers Disturbing, Nearly Century-Old Ad On Auburn Avenue
By Stephannie Stokes • Jan 21, 2015 – WABE (NPR), Atlanta (see and hear more with a podcast) – http://news.wabe.org/post/tornado-uncovers-disturbing-nearly-century-old-ad-auburn-avenue