Pre-War New York Trolley Scroll
This is a miraculously well-preserved original New York City and Mount Vernon trolley sign likely dating to the 1920s or ...
moreThis is a miraculously well-preserved original New York City and Mount Vernon trolley sign likely dating to the 1920s or earlier. This is a sign 'curtain' or 'scroll' that would have been mounted in a 'sign box' to illustrate the destination of a given trolley. Conductors and motormen would change the signs as appropriate for the given service, and straphangers would see just one of these destinations at a time. The New York City trolley system is long gone (the whole Bronx network was abandoned through the 1940s), but its many myths and legends are well-preserved in memory. Even the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team owes something to the robust trolley system, as their original name (the Brooklyn Dodgers), comes from stories of Brooklynites 'dodging' trolley cars rolling through the streets. The five-borough network was slowly replaced by buses and subways, and while all the tracks are torn up and the trolleys are long gone, relics and memories of the system are still preserved today. This ancient scroll is a perfect example.
This scroll would have been mounted on a Bronx-Mt. Vernon trolley, as indicated by its diverse mixture of Manhattan, Bronx, and more northern destinations. The primitive design of some of the destinations indicates this sign was likely the product of a hand painted stencil, then reverse painted on vellum or a similar oil cloth. The material is fairly thick, mildly translucent, and designed to be backlit. Paint splatter and uneven paint lines can be found on the sign, which was clearly made with extremely primitive methods. Excess vellum, unpainted, lines the top and bottom of the sign (the height labeled indicates the text portion of the sign only). The sign is in incredibly good condition, fully uncut, presented in its original form. I have spotted slight fraying and a some minor instances of wear. These signs are today coveted by designers and collectors alike, as the bold white on black text is as striking a design statement in any room as it is a record of an era long past. The common thread, however, is the city this sign refers to, and many of the destinations on this sign will be familiar to those who have traveled in New York City. This is one of the better-preserved trolley signs offered for sale in years, and under a frame the light creases from years of rolling are bound to disappear, making this sign even more striking. less
- 15.5ʺW × 0.1ʺD × 70ʺH
- Early 20th Century
- Printmaking Materials
- Good Condition, Vintage / Antique / Used, Original Condition Unaltered, Some Imperfections
- Condition Notes
- Some fraying and spotting upon edges, extremely well-preserved original condition Some fraying and spotting upon edges, extremely well-preserved original condition less
fromunderground in New York, NY
Vintage goods of the New York City subway.
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