Post Office Heritage Signs – A Restoration Project

heritage plaqueThe British Postal Museum and Archive take an active role in preserving our British Heritage. One such project was the restoration of a now rare blue airmail pillar box from the 1930s, including the recreation of heritage signs.

Special post boxes for the collection of airmail were on British streets for less than nine years yet they continue to fascinate. Originally intended to be placed in prominent positions in London, by 1936, there were 139 in London and 174 in the provinces. Much of the interest in these boxes comes from the colour that they were painted: blue.

Heritage Signs

Stocksigns, based at Redhill were engaged for the work of replicating the airmail signs. Founded in 1955, the company had purchased Burnham Signs (founded 1877) who, in turn, incorporated Garnier & Co. (established 1891). Garnier had been the original supplier of the small airmail signs to the Post Office in the 1930s. This commissioning was an attempt to preserve some continuity of provenance in the restoration.

Stocksigns was tasked with re-creating the oval and enamel airmail sign. As the originals were in quite poor condition, it was decided to conserve these in as original condition as possible and commission replicas to be fixed to the restored box. Restoration of the signs would have removed much that is original, and it is highly unlikely that more than a handful of original examples survive today. Such a curatorial decision permits the original signs to be available for research in their original and preserved condition.

heritage signs

To read more about this restoration project visit the British Postal Museum & Archive for the full story.

Jubilee Gardens – The Royal Opening by HRH The Queen

 

jubilee gardens lecternJubilee Gardens – Project outline

October 2012 saw the official opening of the newly redesigned Jubilee Gardens by HM The Queen.

Stocksigns is an established signage manufacturer serving the entire UK’s sign market but specialising in various niche areas where they have grown to be the leading sign experts.

Jubilee Gardens Project

Adriaan Wijsveld is Stocksigns’ specialist in parks and open spaces. He has completed many successful projects for councils and municipal gardens etc. His design background, coupled with his in-depth knowledge of the signage market enables him to work closely with his clients, not only to successfully manage large scale projects but also take on many of the design aspects of creating new products.

Adriaan was approached by The Small Back Room design agency, Waterloo, which was aware of Stocksigns’ expertise in Vitreous Enamel sign manufacture. They wanted Stocksigns to partner with them in a project to rejuvenate Jubilee Gardens in time for the 2012 celebrations.

The products included in the project were:

  • Vitreous Enamel pan trays
  • Vitreous Enamel Lecterns 
  • Vitreous Interpretation boards 
  • Engraved Slate
  • Engraved Stainless Steel

Read full story Case study SB – Jubilee Gardens (3)

Vitreous Enamel Signs – How are they made?

vitreous enamel signsVitreous enamel signs have been used for over a 100 years. However the enamelling process is believed to date back much further. We are often asked why people still choose vitreous enamel signs over more modern products. The answer is simple, nothing can compare to vitreous enamel signs in terms of;

  • Fire retardant properties – Vitreous Enamel signs are chosen for underground applications
  • Low maintenance – Very hard wearing
  • Environmental resistance – ideal for corrosive industrial or severe atmospheres
  • Long life – look as good as new for forty years or more
  • Vandal Resistance – graffiti and impact resistance

These exceptionally hard wearing and aesthetically pleasing signs are often still the preferred choice for many designers. The typical hard wearing qualities associated with Vitreous Enamel are created during the skilled manufacturing process. We have created a short film to give you a brief idea of what is involved.

The Vitreous Enamel Signs Manufacturing process

Vitreous Enamel Signs Guide

vitreous enamel signs Where you must absolutely NOT use  Vitreous Enamel Signs

If You Care about Your Signage – Don’t use Vitreous Enamel Signs (VE)

1. When you don’t want your signs to last a long time.
Why? –  Vitreous Enamel is notorious for its vastly extended life over other materials. They will look as good as new even after 40 years, making them an ideal long term signage solution.

2. When there is NO chance of any corrosion
Why?  – Vitreous Enamel’s glass-like properties protect the whole sign so that it is safe from attack from corrosion. That’s why they are specified for marine environments because they can resist attack from salt. Applications range from oil platforms to the logo’s on ships’ funnels.

3. When chemicals such as acids and alkalis are not going to be a threat.
Why? –  Vitreous Enamel has amazing resistance to most chemicals, including solvents. This makes them ideal for corrosive, industrial, or severe atmospheres.

4. When the finish and aesthetics of your signs are unimportant to you.
Why? – Vitreous Enamel’s lustrous surface appearance, “relief effect” of the enamel layers and the wide range of colours and designs available mean that Vitreous Enamel Signs are very pleasing to the eye. Because of this they are frequently used for decoration, especially in pubs, restaurants and hotels and used as a specialist medium for many artists.

5. When your sign will never be subject to mechanical abrasion.
Why? – Vitreous Enamel has the advantage of being virtually scratch proof compared with other materials, giving it  great robustness. This is one of the reasons why vitreous enamel is often specified for wayfinding lecterns in busy cities where there is a high level of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

6. When you are keen to be involved in regular sign maintenance.
Why? – Vitreous Enamel’s hard surface makes the signs very easy to keep clean, restoring the original brightness with a wipe. This quality has made vitreous enamel the preferred choice for electricity pylon identity plates where access is notoriously difficult.

7. When you don’t mind the colours in your sign fading.vitreous enamel signs
Why? – Vitreous Enamel’s colourfastness ensures the sign looks as bright after many years as it did when first manufactured. Examples of vitreous enamel advertising signs dating from the 18oos still look as vibrant as when they were first displayed.

8. When there is no danger of a graffiti assault on your signs.
Why?  – Any graffiti on Vitreous Enamel signs can be removed with a solvent cleaner. Vitreous Enamel signs are often the first choice for councils, particularly for park and recreation ground signage.

9. When you don’t have to worry about extremes of temperature.
Why? –  Vitreous Enamel can withstand a very wide variation in temperature, and is very fire resistant, which is why it is specified in London Underground stations.

10. When you have no interest in life time cost of your signs.
Why? – Vitreous Enamel Sign’s durability, longevity and brightness makes this material extremely cost effective over time. Their long life often means that vitreous enamels signs pay for themselves over and over again during long term projects.

So here in a nutshell are reasons for NOT using Vitreous Enamel Signs.

Tips for the Care and Installation of Vitreous Enamel Signs

Care & Installation of Vitreous Enamel signs

1    What is Vitreous enamel?

    Vitreous enamel is a glass-like coating which is fused onto steel at
    temperatures of 750-860 degrees C
    The enamel will exhibit all of the properties associated with glass including :
         •Hardness                                          •Colour Stability
         •Scratch & Graffiti Resistance           •Fire Resistance

care of vitreous enamel signs2     Vitreous enamel signs need to be carefully treated as if they were glass:


    a)    Carefully remove signs & any fixings from packaging.

    b)     Handle with care using protective gloves as there may be sharp edges & avoid dropping or hitting the signs.

    c)     Use stainless steel, brass or zinc coated fixings.

    d)     Ensure a soft protective washer ( plastic or fibre ) is used at all fixing points between the fixing & the sign surface.

    e)   Do not drill or enlarge holes as this will crack the enamel

    f)      Clean every two months with mild soapy water – ensuring there are no abrasives or grit on the cloth or sponge . For  stubborn marks use a non    abrasive bathroom cleaner.

3     Installation of Vitreous Enamel Signs


    a)    An enamelled sign pantray with return edges should never be fixed directly onto a hard or rough surface – the installation of vitreous enamel signslocalised compression which could occur on high points may cause chipping or spalling & possibly cause corrosion on the return edge.
    
    b)     Where an enamelled sign has to be fixed to an uneven or rough surface it should be spaced off from that surface to avoid localised pressure points.
    
    c)     If the sign is to be installed in a coastal or corrosive environment additional protection will be needed to the sign edge if slight corrosion is to be avoided. Edges of enamelled signs are  difficult to completely coat with enamel and so additional protection against corrosion may be equired. Protection can be given by exterior mastic, waterproof tape  or a rubber or plastic moulding. Alternatively the edge can be protected & hidden by an outer frame. Our technical sales department will be fixing vitreous enamel signshappy to advise.protecting vitreous enamel signs For more information about Vitreous Enamel signage contact our sales team at sales@stocksigns.co.uk

How to use Signs to Build Company Brand – Part 1 Corporate Signage

You don’t need to be a Marketing Guru to know that advertising helps promote a business and is vital to success. There are many ways to advertise and signs are one way of the most cost-effective and visual ways to do so. There are many forms of signs each with their own roles to play within a business. Signs can be divided into  four main groups: corporate signage, way finding, information and safety signs. Part 1 of this guide will concentrate on how to get the best from your Corporate Signage.monolith, signs, custom made signs, signage Continue reading

Vitreous Enamel Signs – New Gallery

Due to popular demand we have made some of our Vitreous Enamel Sign Pictures available to view. Enthusiasts and collectors from all round the world ask us for images of these iconic signs. Made from exceptionally hard-wearing Vitreous Enamel these signs have stood the test of time and look good as new for 40 years plus!

Shell Oil Vitreous Enamel Advertising Sign

For more about Vitreous Enamel Signs and Stocksigns visit our vitreous enamel signs page.

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