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Not all signs had grommets ???
#421156 Sat Jun 08 2013 07:34 AM
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Maxgas Offline OP
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Holy cow, just got done catching up on the latest on OLDGAS and thought of a great lingering question and key piece of evidence when discussing or trying to defraud fake signs on this site & Ebay etc. From the beginning I have always been a stickler for noticing the mounting holes and specifically the grommets or lack there of on signs. From Flange signs to PPP's & even the larger 72" signs I look for evidence or examine whats left on all signs. But I have also had many discussions with experienced collectors that point out that not all signs had grommets. So I post here whats your opinions?

Outsourcing from sign company to sign company in the early years caused many variations of truly original signs. This poses questions and usually stems in controversy in many posts and hangings of authenticity of the signs. Some original signs that did not have grommets have "valcano holes" or may have been a "Friday sign" Much like the early "Friday cars" we have heard about. Split Back grommets?? Whats the deal? Let's hear what everyone has to say to help with your own future and current sign investigations of authenticity.


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Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
Maxgas #421166 Sat Jun 08 2013 08:31 AM
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Maxgas, I visited the Peotone show a few years ago. I was shocked to see so many dealers at the show dropping signs off to a guy that had a booth set up to install grommets. I would say, most of the signs getting grommets installed were the real deal. The lack of grommets is not a true test when calling a sign a fake. I would say a better test is to look at the hole location. A good example is "Stencilworks" on eBay. This repop king can't get four corner holes in the same location to save his life. He must drill the holes with a hand drill. Have you ever noticed that most repop signs have large chunks of porcelain missing around the mount holes? Popped porcelain and holes not positioned right are better test than missing grommets.

Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
Jerry Westfield #421171 Sat Jun 08 2013 09:31 AM
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Maxgas you raise a good question. I too wonder if all old signs(early 1960s and previous) used a split washer exclusively....I don't necessarily think so. While most signs do have a grommet of some sort ,the lack of them is not enough to declare an item is not a vintage, factory original.
The Carnation Ice Cream sign, whether tin or porcelain, is one of the most inconsistently produced pieces I have ever seen. Most do not have grommets...but some do....and the number of holes varies (although the location is the same).
Another sign I have is an NOS "We Use the DeLaval Cream Separator" that still has an Ing-Rich (Ingram-Richardson MFG. CO)paper label on the back. I would describe the holes on this sign as "volcano". The metal is pretty thick and was likely punched from the back causing an upward protrusion on the face. There are no grommets. Part of the label headlines "Directions For Putting Up Signs" and is followed by "Use round headed brass screws, being careful not to screw up too tight as iron expands. As this sign is made with our patent hole (Feb. 5, 1907)no unsightly washer is needed."
I am interpreting their use of the word "washer" as "grommet"...but could very well be incorrect. It is possible some folks used an actual washer for more surface area contact.

Anyway, a little more information to chew on. I'd like to know what was so unique about their hole in order to warrant and issue a patent? No patent number is listed on the label.

Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
Donald D. Brock #421201 Sat Jun 08 2013 02:29 PM
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I let an original Chief Pontiac Die cut sign go at Repop prices because the sign didn't have any grommets, because of this I was convinced that it was not authentic. I shared the photos of the sign with some very experienced collectors after I traded it only to be informed of my mistake. It was my belief that especially in mint condition the sign should have had grommets. It was confirmed on here last year sometime in one of my posts on the sign value forum if I remember right. If some one can figure out how to attach the original photos from my original post that would be cool to introduce into the thread as a key piece of evidence of sign that did not have them from the manufacturer.


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Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
Maxgas #421202 Sat Jun 08 2013 02:34 PM
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Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
Maxgas #421263 Sat Jun 08 2013 09:37 PM
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So, what was the reason you were convinced it was real? the mounting holes seem to be uneven, some closer to the edge..If this sign is real, I think it was part of a large dealer sign, below the PONTIAC name, or some such. maybe with neon around it? Im not saying its not real, just wondering.


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Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
rd_signs #421270 Sun Jun 09 2013 03:32 AM
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It's my opinion the issue of grommets is far too overblown when attempting to authenticate many signs. On a scale of 1-10, presence of grommets rates a 2 on importance.

Sign makers have provided many variations on mounting since day one.

Washers are not grommets, the purpose is different. Washers expand the pressure holding point across the surface providing greater hold.

Grommets protect the material they are inserted into, the shape of the whole, and as necessary allow expansion/contraction based on heating/cooling and possible motion of the sign itself.

Depending on where a sign was to be mounted, whether a sign was intended to sit inside a frame, did is suspend from hooks, was it attached to a wall flat, angled, perpendicular. All these and other factors would be important to determining whether a grommet was even necessary.


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Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
carolinaskies #421274 Sun Jun 09 2013 04:30 AM
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Back to my original comment, hole location is a better test than no grommets. Without holding that sign in my hands, the attached photo showing the uneven hole locations would make me question if it is original. If I had to make a call using just the photos in your original post, I would say you did the right things if owning a repop was a problem for you.

NEWS FLASH: Odds are, unless you gave it a life long mark indicating it was a repop, it got flipped as original after you gave it away at what you call repop prices. As Paul Harvey would have said "Now, for the rest of the story".

Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
Jerry Westfield #421300 Sun Jun 09 2013 08:55 AM
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Looking at the Pontiac sign and placement of holes I think it is more likely the sign shifted in the punch press. If you look at the side showing the holes if they were shifted about 1/4" toward the 7 o'clock position they would be in equadistant location. Repops would be far more consistent especially on a sign like this.


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Re: Not all signs had grommets ???
carolinaskies #421970 Tue Jun 11 2013 06:43 PM
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Basically if it was a repop we would have seen more then just this one floating around here (OG) in the last couple of years. So far no one has mentioned that. So I'm leaning on that I traded it in a knee jerk reaction with out thinking the whole think through. If I were 100% sure It was a repop I would have marked it but I didn't Oh Well better luck next time. Maybe I had too much Florida sun that day Jerry who knows? I do know that it hasn't got flipped and won't be.


-MAXGAS-
Looking for Independent Gas & Oil, Oilzum,& Early FORD dealership items.

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