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Original Post (Thread Starter)
Porcelain Signs #778094 06/07/2022 4:37 PM
by Dtimekw

While reading through posts trying to learn more about porcelain signs I have collected over the past few years, I have more questions than answers, hopefully someone can shed some light.

As an example, I have a Texaco Marine Lubricant sign. I believe it to be porcelain, it is curved and has 4 holes in each corner. It measures 16 1/4" wide by 12 3/4" tall. The same sign I have seen here has the holes located differently, date stamped and the dimensions are different. I believe they were called "pump signs or PPP"??

Biggest question I have is: Is my sign a fake/reproduction? My sign doesn't have a date either. I attached a pic (hopefully).

I appreciate any help.

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Re: Porcelain Signs #786993 Jan 29th a 11:40 PM
by coltex
I'll post a few comments to help the readers of this thread. I'm NOT the authority nor do I want to be, but this is what I have learned over the years. I started collecting about 40 years ago. I made an attempt to buy American Porcelain in Dallas (in about 2005) that had been in business since the late 30's. They made all of the New Jersey transit signs. I spend several days in Dallas talking to the employees/managers who had been in the business 30 years. I watched them make signs and asked how signs were made in the 40's vs. 90's.

This is what was taught to me at the factory:

Old signs (before computer graphics) were "hand cut stencils" with an exacto knife. This means if you look close and the sign you are looking at has 2 - "O"s, each "O" will be slightly different because it was hand cut. Computerized graphics will make both "O"s exactly the same. This test will catch a LOT of signs.

Look at curved/arched letters that go around the perimeter of a 42" sign. Are the letters spaced properly? When "fakes" are made, these perimeter letters are hand spaced (copied and dragged) in place. In most cases, the spacing is slightly off, the angle is slightly off on a couple of letters, and it looks like an ugly sweater. You can't quite telll what looks wrong, but something does.

Barometric pressure effect firing and boiling point of frit (the compound fired to make porcelain), therefore "color" which are not stock colors are very hard to match. It is not like mixing paint, because there is no paint in porcelain and the color doesn't reveal itself until after the sign is fired. This is why the green T in the Texaco logo is so hard to match. Or the blue in the Magnolia signs are so hard to match.

These porcelain sign companies who were contracted in the 40's from these huge oil companies didn't put out junk. Although the signs were "production" signs, they had quality control and high standards in place.


If you take all of the obvious reasons, comments listed above, and apply some of my knowledge, it will be hard to get burned. AND lastly, unless you know the seller and he will not guarantee your satisfaction DO NOT buy from a picture because you can't always examine everything.
5 members like this
Re: Porcelain Signs #786961 Jan 29th a 02:29 AM
by Speedracer

I have been a collector for a long long time, and I would like to make something clear to everyone (as a learning experience).

Real signs can have shelving or no shelving. Period

Fake signs can have shelving or no shelving. Period

Shelving does NOT validate a sign’s authenticity.

What does help is knowing which signs should have shelving and which ones shouldn’t. It also depends on age sometimes. There are numerous real porcelain pump plates that have almost no shelving at all. There are also numerous fakes that have shelving when their real life counterparts didn’t. There are also numerous fakes that don’t have shelving when the real versions did. (some real Sinclair, Pure and Texaco PPP’s for example have almost no shelving at all. Some fake Coca Cola signs have serious shelving)

I am speaking from years of experience. I am not claiming to know the authenticity of all signs, as India is producing them by the hundreds or thousands each day. But one thing I can tell you is that shelving, wether present or not, doesn’t mean squat, unless you know what sign your dealing with and what the original should be.

2 members like this
Re: Porcelain Signs #778119 Jun 8th a 04:55 PM
by Dtimekw
Thank you for all of your input and advice!! I will certainly read up on this more. I am not too upset about buying a fake but really want to learn more about the old petroliana. I have a humble collection of oil cans, tube repair kits etc... They collect dust on a display shelf in the garage but I enjoy the looks on peoples faces when they come by.

Thank you again for all of your help!!

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