The Evolution of Signage and Why Versatility for Sign Makers Matters

The Evolution of Signage and Why Versatility for Sign Makers Matters


In honor of the International Sign Expo 2021 – Virtual that was kicked off yesterday, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, the Saw Trax team would like to pay homage to our friends and partners within the sign industry! In today’s world, anyone can take a stroll down the street and within minutes encounter a multitude of colors, shapes, sizes and even lights galore. If a business has a brick-and-mortar establishment, it is pertinent for that business to have a well displayed sign that is easy to read. The sign serves multiple purposes such as displaying a company’s name and contact information, allows consumers to easily locate the establishment, creates interest from potential new customers; honestly, the list is endless!

With the abundance of signs and graphic displays that seem to flood the streets and every corner in today’s market, it is difficult to envision a time without such advertisements. After a quick look at the overall history of sign making it may be surprising to learn that a time without outdoor signs goes back farther than many may believe! Historians have evidence of the earliest signs dating back to an amazing 3000 BC and experienced great strides in advancements up to approximately 500 AD. Usually depicting a single image to convey the messages, these ancient signs were originally made from wood, stone, leather, and even terra cotta.

ancient civilization carvings used as signage
Ancient Civilizations Used Carvings to Act as Signage Well Before Literacy was Common

After the Dark Ages came a time of prosper while the economy rebuilt. By time the 17th Century came around materials like iron, wood and textiles were common in sign making. Signs were still being made with an image or symbol as opposed to including text; however, signs featuring single letters were beginning to be found. As the times progressed, signs became more and more wordy allowing the business to convey more information to any passerby.

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The first gas illuminated signs were not made until 1840, well into the 19th Century, and manufactured in Chicago for the Barnum Museum. These newly created bulbs were a part of the first electric signs and were able to illuminate, for a whopping, 5 straight hours! The use of gas illuminated bulbs exploded across the US. Storefronts such as retail stores, theaters and banks were popular establishments well known for displaying these early signs.

Great Chariot Race Illuminated Sign

Roughly 40 years later came the introduction of incandescent bulbs. These types of light bulbs are common in many homes and offices even in today’s world. America took to the forefront with the first designs of “night display” signage that used these new incandescent bulbs that took sign making to a new level. As the use of these types of signs surged, it became more evident that this type of advertising was much more effective than newspapers and the like. In 1910, the most famous sign in all the world called New York City home and proudly displayed 20,000+ lights in different colors that would flash to give the horses the appearance of running. That infamous sign would be known as the Great Chariot Race Sign. A truly remarkable invention to say the least!

Great Chariot Race Sign

The sign industry kept growing and saw the likes of neon tube and fluorescent tube lights. With less and less restrictions as innovations progressed, the finding of plastics seemingly relinquished them all. Manufacturing improved and quality thrived all while the costs remained effective and profitable. The best part, since plastic is so versatile, it could be incorporated with any type of bulb to produce much more complex signs. Acrylics surged in popularity and virtually every business/organization had an acrylic sign whether it be with or without illumination… they were simply used everywhere!

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In today’s age and time, sign making has never been perfected more. Shops utilize a host of different materials ranging from Dibond, Foamboard, PVC, Acrylics and so much more. To take advantage of these materials, it is imperative for sign makers to have the correct tools on hand that is sure to give a precision cut every time, no matter the material, no matter the thickness, and any limitations must be negated. Saw Trax wanted to give all sign makers the ability to work with any material they see fit for their design by creating The Sign Maker’s Series Vertical Panel Saw.

Saw Trax Sign Maker's Series Vertical Panel Saw with Substrate Cutter
The most versatile panel saw and substrate cutter all-in-one Sign Maker’s Series Vertical Panel Saw

The Sign Maker’s Series Vertical Panel Saw puts just as much versatility into the designer’s hands as the material itself. Quickly, and effortlessly, release the tool insert plate which allows for the fastest tool change possible. The insert tool plates include different substrate cutting tools, the best in their class, such as an ACM cutter and OLFA Knife, as well as a “blank” plate that is compatible with most 7-1/4” saws.

acm edt 2 p 8561 panel saw signmaker series full size vertical panel saw 8 blank universal plate floating router insert Glass Cutter e1442093374403

Sign Makers are designing, creating, cutting, building signs indoors which justifies a dire need to keep a handle on all the dust an average machine/saw will produce. The Saw Trax Sign Maker’s Series Vertical Panel Sawn is far from average and includes our very own dust collection system! Not only does the saw pull the dust and debris but also includes a medium coarse brush around the blade that cleans as it cuts. With each pass, the brush gives the rip or cut a clean sweep every time. Talk about convenience removing the need for extra cleanup after the job is done.

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The most amazing, stand apart aspect that sets a Saw Trax machine apart from the competition is our patented spinning plate mechanism that allows the user to cut in both directions horizontally and vertically! Named the most accurate of the panel saws, each Saw Trax Vertical Panel Saw will remove limitations giving your shop the versatility the materials expect. This all-in-one tool makes leaps and bounds in terms of space saving! You will never need multiple machines to cut different materials just to complete one job. We took the design of the panel saw to the next level to give each user results that are not only time saving but material saving as well. One thing is for sure, if it’s not a Saw Trax, it just doesn’t cut it!

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