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Public Works Shop

Courtesy of sapphire, all rights reserved
Collection: Downtown, USA
Location: Boston, Massachusetts,
Time Period: Time Period Unknown
Type style: sans serif
Materials and methods: painted and wood
Purpose: identification


Help Build Our Collections

Throughout history lettering and type have been used on buildings and signs, surrounding us with visible words -- messages aimed at the common man. These signs reflect the character and activities of a neighborhood. Advertising on buildings give insight into how people lived: the products they used, the popular vocabulary of their time. Variations in materials and form reveal each generation's fascination with new technology.

But lettering and type in signage and on buildings get lost over time. Change of building use, the elements, and restoration decisions have led to the disappearance of decades of type history—and by extension a valuable component of the histories of architecture, advertising, industry, and society.

Submit an image to any of our collections. Tell us as much as you can about the lettering, materials, time period and location of the signs. If you do not know specific information, that's OK! Tell us as much as you can, and our editors will update unknown information.

Help document this ubiquitous, yet ephemeral history of lettering and type.

A community-based image database, dedicated to collecting, documenting, and preserving images of type and lettering on old signs and buildings in the United States.

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