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Published: January 10th 2021
Sign for glasses
Signs en masse
One thing we find a bit fascinating is that once you go about two hours by car north or northwest from Stockholm the shop signs start to change in style. The best way we can describe them is that the shop signs look antique. Similar signs further south in Sweden are more likely to look more modern. It seems to be a north of Stockholm thing. Or possibly, it is more of rural thing?
We like these signs so much that we have decided to dedicate an entire blog entry to them. We have not posted all the photos we took, only the best ones. We have like a dozen more pictures of antique style signs that did not come out any good for various reasons.
If we had really tried we guess that we could have taken at least 50 more photos of antique style signs just by visiting more towns.
How many of these signs that actually are old and how many that have been made to look old we actually don't know. Our guess is that many of them actually are from the
Sign for a hair dresser
1960-ies or possibly from the 70-ies. Are they still around because the owners of the establishments they are advertising can not afford to buy new signs or are they deliberately preserved as a cultural heritage? We hope the latter is the reason we have these wonderful signs around, but fear that the former might be closer to the truth.
Some of the signs only say what kind of business that is run in the building, such as hair dresser, bar, café or men's fashion. Other signs have the name of the business. For example Appelbergs, Ohlséns or Sven Larsson. Then we guess the customers will have to find some other way to figure out if it is a butcher shop, a hotel or if they are selling stationeries inside. If the shop has windows they hopefully display their merchandise there.
Thinking about it, there is a neon sign in Stockholm with an interesting background. It advertised toothpaste and was very recognisable and a famous part of the city life in the 1950-ies. It was taken down in the 60-ies and nobody thought more of it until 30 years later. They were then making a
A business called Ohlséns
TV series where the story takes place in Stockholm in the 1950-ies. They had to recreate what Stockholm looked like then and, to make it authentic, they recreated the toothpaste sign. After they had shot the TV series it was decided that the sign should remain. 30 years later it is still there telling us all to buy toothpaste.
One more thing, the second part of the title we did not come up with ourselves. We borrowed that one from people who are better at writing texts than we are. If you listened to Brit pop in the 1980-ies you might recognise the lyrics below. If the cultural reference is lost to you, well the song is pretty good and it is an old one, just like we thing these signs are, so don't be afraid to look for it and listen to it. This is the sign of the times Piece of more to come This is the sign of the times Time to be alone This is the sign of the times (the sign of the times) Piece of more to come This is the sign of the times Time to be
A business called Appelbergs
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