The American Art Works started out as the Tuscarora Advertising Company which was a beer tray and sign manufacturer founded in 1895 in Coshocton, OH. Breweries could either commission a unique design or use one of Tuscarora’s stock images tailored to include their logo, bottle design, and other specific design details onto their beer trays. At that time beer trays we’re just used to serve beer, they were also used as advertising pieces to promote a specific brewery as well as their products.
In direct competition with Tuscarora was the Standard Advertising Company, also of Coshocton, OH, which quickly began printing its own lithographed tin trays as well. Both of these manufacturers identified their work with their name and a copyright date along the tray’s lower rim.
In 1901 the Tuscarora Advertising Company and Standard Advertising Company merged to become Meek and Beach. In 1908 they change the name to The American Art Works. The American Art Works (AAW) became the best-known tray company thanks to its popular Coca-Cola trays. The AAW made at least 24 different full-sized Coke trays and vast numbers of advertising novelties. In 1926 The American Art Works alone produced 72 million pieces between advertising trays, signs, thermometer, calendars, and other various advertising pieces.
The original factory building was eventually torn down in 1995.
Below are a few examples of American Art Works trays and signs: