Author Archives: Penny Wolfson

Ephemera Road Trip Roundup

Back home after a whirlwind road trip across the U.S., Print contributing editor Penny Wolfson picks out a few favorites from the journey.   On our very first day, we stopped in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, whose preserved downtown “diamond” includes this ironwork sign from the Brockerhoff Hotel, built in 1864-65, with its clean letters bordered...

Ephemera Road Trip: A carousel in Colorado, a craft store in Kansas

  I doubt that the frontiersman Kit Carson ever had any connection with a carousel—in fact, he died before the merry-go-round age flourished—yet there is one that bears his name on the county fairgrounds in Burlington, Colorado, near the Kansas border. A quite elaborate one, in fact, manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Co in...

Ephemera Road Trip: Books from the Napa Wine Library

  The Robert Louis Stevenson Silverado Museum in Mount St. Helena—the town Stevenson dubbed the Mont Blanc of this region—was closed the day we came, but we got a sweetener: the Napa Valley Wine Collection in the public library next door was giving away free books. The collection, initiated by foodies James Beard and...

Ephemera Road Trip: Signage from the Pacific Northwest

Seattle is a city of signs and wonders. The Pike Street market flickers with great neon (one of my favorites is the elegantly curved green-letters-inside-an-arrow “Rest Rooms” directive), and the town contains an endless supply of espressi and coffee logos, including the flagship Starbucks and the Cupcake Café (see below). In Pioneer Square, one...

Ephemera Road Trip: Seeing the Signs

I like scenery as much as the next person–the lush Pennsylvania mountains, the reminiscent-of-Huck-Finn islands in the Mississippi, the barren landscape of eastern Montana–but the truth is I like people and history better. And there’s nothing that shows the mark and march of humankind more than signs, painted in giant black block letters on...

Ephemera Road Trip: Writing on Hot Dog Buns

At Tony Packo’s in Toledo, Ohio, they’ve come up with a writing surface previously unknown to man: the hot dog bun. Packo’s is a Hungarian place with a black stamped-tin ceiling and city themed memorabilia that’s been around for 77 years, but it was “discovered” in the 1970′s when Jamie Farr’s cross-dressing Klinger character...

tonypacko

At Tony Packo’s in Toledo, Ohio, they’ve come up with a writing surface previously unknown to man: the hot dog bun. Packo’s is a Hungarian place with a black stamped-tin ceiling and city themed memorabilia that’s been around for 77 years; butit was “discovered” in the 1970′s when Jamie Farr’s cross-dressing Klinger character mentioned...

Ephemera Road Trip: Truckload

Some starting notes on a trip cross-country: It doesn’t take too many days of being on the road to realize that trucks are the most print-ly thing in the landscape. Sure, there are license plates and highway signs, but those are usually commonplace and visually insignificant; billboards are few and far between, and so...

Word on the Street

I recently attended a lively lecture and slide show given by Paul Shaw, a calligrapher, typographer, and design historian, (and author of PRINT’s Hot Type column in the magazine) about the lettering of New York City. In a two hour talk to an audience of more than 60 people, Shaw shared dozens of the...