Wall signs were once a part of every cityscape
By Mike Jackson
Posted on Sunday, April 30th, 2023
In early days, buildings in many of the large cities were made of bricks. Much like the brick house in the children’s story of the Big Bad Wolf, these structures tend to stand the test of time. Brick walls also made a great substrate or background for advertising products or identifying the building.
Many of these signs were simply black and white, both of which hold up well over time, while colors like red, violet, and some blues and greens tend to fade. Some could have been painted while standing on a plank spanning across two ladders, while the tallest buildings required a swing stage scaffold, a block and pulley system which hung from steel hooks over the top fire wall.
Since all of the old wall signs were painted in the out of doors, the old “walldogs” had extra challenges of wind and both cold and hot weather. Painting over rough surfaces like brick walls and corrugated metal takes a degree of skill and patience seldom required of most ground-based sign painters, which still makes walldogs a special breed.