Author: Helen Cox

Helen Cox is a UK author. She made her on-screen debut in The Krankies in 1990. Given the choice, her Mastermind topic would be Grease 2 and when someone asks her if she is a god she says 'yes.' Oh, you want to know about her books? Best click some of the links below.

Fading Ads of Philadelphia (Part II)

1 Philadelphia Ghost Sign 2

Last autumn I spent about a month out in the States. Living on a shoe-string and using my experiences to add texture to my Starlight Diner books. While I was out there however, being an author of a book about hand-painted signs and a total typography geek, I took a lot of photos of fading adverts.

You don’t have to walk far in Philly to see a ghost sign. Maybe it’s because there was a lot of redevelopment in the city throughout the Fifties and Sixties but, particularly around Walnut Street, there is fading type aplenty.

The Formal Dimensions company featured in the sign above is actually still in operation, but not at this address. Now, 1105 Walnut Street is houses a branch of Hollywood Tans.

DSCF9758Society Hill Furniture was actually around as late as 2008 and was a family run business on Chestnut Street for forty-five years before that. There is some more faded type underneath that sign, but even after glaring at it for fifteen minutes in the rain I couldn’t quite make out the wording. A ‘W’ and a ‘U’ are definitely in the mix but that was all I could decipher in the time I had.


There are two sets of type on this building in Camac Street, both related to food products. The less-legible sign at the bottom reads: ‘Camac Food Market,  free delivery, phone no 6-172(?)6.’ The lettering underneath that seems to say ‘Every body’ probably part of a slogan that has been worn away over the years.


Walk out to the industrial edges of the city, along Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and you’ll find more fading signs. Beneath the type for Poggenpohl Kitchens on the chimney above you can also make out the word ‘Wilbur.’


Judging by the name of the building: The Chocolate Works, and the advertisements for cocoa on the underside of the bridge, it’d be safe to say this building was once occupied by Wilbur Chocolate. You can read all about their history here.

If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy Fading Ads of Philadelphia (Part I) or my book Fading Ads of London.


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This entry was posted on August 23, 2016 by in Author Blog and tagged , , , , .
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