Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before: Railway Stop Sign, ca. 1910

I came across this old, heavy-duty stop sign recently while on a trip upstate. It had been so blacked with decades of dirt that there was no color at all showing through but after a gentle cleaning and oiling, it really came up well with a strong yellow enamel coming through. It even still has its original cast iron point at the base.

After speaking with the owner, it was explained to me that the sign had been used locally (in Delaware county) by one of the railroads. A man would stand at the railway crossing and signal traffic using this 6’6″ item.

The fact that this sign survived the punishing day-to-day treatment it received, yet remains sturdy and complete is a testament to the quality of the craftsmanship of the day.

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