Manhattan, NY / Lima, OH / Milwaukee, WI
The Artkraft Sign Company began in 1897 as Strauss Signs and was established by Benjamin Strauss located in New York, NY. The company started out as a posters and painted show cards advertising company and printer. By the 1920s, Strauss Sign Company had become Time Square’s main contract builder of theater marquees and entertainment displays. In 1931, local sign and advertising competitor Artkraft merged with Strauss, creating Artkraft-Strauss. By the 1950s, the company dominated the outdoor advertising market in Times Square, NY and created such iconic signage like various large-scale Coca Cola signs, and the high-neon north-Square “spectaculars” created for Canadian Club and Admiral Television. For almost a century, Artkraft was also responsible for the annual midnight ball drop that signified the new year’s arrival.
Artkraft’s sister company was a company by the name of Biltmore Sign Company located in Lima, OH. Biltmore Sign Co. was a major producer of smaller store display neon signs. Biltmore Signs were made of a metal art deco-stylized box body with neon lettering behind glass. These signs were very popular with breweries and used as bar back signs to advertise both the brewery as well as the beer, ale, or porter products that they produced.
Besides making a name for themselves as a large-scale sign and marquee maker, the company also made a variety of large outdoor porcelain enamel and neon signs for businesses and industries across the country. One such industry that took a liking to Artcraft signs were breweries. Various breweries contacted Artkraft Sign Co. to create large and attractive sign to promote their brewery as well as their products as well. Among some of these breweries were Kaiers, Horlacher, Beth Uhl, Mauch Chunk, Leinenkugel, Blatz, Grainbelt, Budweiser, Coors, and Indianapolis as well as many others.
Below are a few examples of Art kraft beer and brewery signs: