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Signs, Signs, Signs

    Little brings more life to a model railroad than era-appropriate sineage.  In addition to clearly identifying the railroad's time frame to a visitor, these color spots convey the impressions of a highly detailed model as well as the most expensive and lavish details.  There are many sources for model signs: catalogs, antique stores, magazines, books, matchbooks, hobby shops, the internet and we have used all of them.  The proliferation of home computers has made it easily possible for us to design our own sineage and to download, scan, and alter printed mattter for modeling purposes.  We would like to make some of our favorites available to you, and hope you will add some of yours to our collection.  For a large selection of contemporary billboards, please visit the Mathew Billboard Museum.  DMK has pointed us to a website that displays many usable classic billboards. A second link from DMK takes us to a very large collection from the first half of the 20th centry.  Many older gasoline company logos and advertising may be found at the Gas Sign web page. and, sent by DG, have a vast number of magazine ads, some of which may be useful.  D.G. has given us three more useful links. contains a large collection of signs fof all types from diffeerent eras.  has a number of unusual warning signs.  All of these contain copyrighted images.  A collection of American highway markers has artwork from every state and includes US and Interstate highway logos.  Jim Powell also has a fine selection of classic signs on his page.  Leon Honings  has scale rulers and some georgeous examples of freight car graffitti.

    To download, merely place your cursor over the image and click the right mouse button.  The resulting menu will offer the option to "Save image as..."  Left click this box and follow the directions to download the file to your computer.  These images have been tuned to offer rapid downloading but are large enough for O scale use.  We do not recommend that you enlarge these images since quality will suffer considerably with any significant change.  On the other hand, and size reduction (easily performed with any photo-paint software) will only enhance the quality of the image. Some of the images may appear to be quite small on your screen, but they are still well-sized for model railroad use.   Reports from users indicate that the art reproduces well even if the quality is lacking on the screen image.  We would be happy to offer advice to anyone experiencing trouble with any aspect of the use of these signs.

   To speed downloading times and help avoid licensing problems, we have divided these signs into several different categories.

Public Domain    These images were drawn by us and represent fictional businesses.  Those that are named after existing corportions were drawn by us and were NOT scanned from printed matter.  There is no restriction on their use, but commercial users are asked to contact us for permission.

Decals   Artwork we have used to decorate railroad cars.  These may be printed on blank decal film with laser or dry ink printers, or with a photocopy machine.  Please refer to out decal tips page for additional information on the use of these.  Once again, there is no restriction on their use, but commercial users are asked to contact us for permission.

VintageThese images have been scanned from printed matter and most should be copyrighted, but it is unlikely that the principals are still in business or even alive.   However, it is unknown if anyone had purchased the rights to these business trademarks and images.  We do not recommend these for commercial users.  Any use of these signs on your part implies no liability on ours.

CommercialWe have scanned or downloaded these signs from commercial sources and it is quite likely that the rights to these are privately owned.  While we are not lawyers nor are we qualified to give legal advice, we believe that private use of these images is unlikely to cause problems.  Commercial users should refrain from using these signs to avoid possible copyright infringement.  Any use of these signs on your part implies no liability on ours.

Retropolis Collection   A commercial siign company that features original artwork printed on self stick media.  A FREE downloadable .pdf sample page of their wares.
Email for information.

Frank Bernard Collection  We are pleased to be able to display these digitized images from our friend.

Andrew Hebron Collection  Another large collection which we are privliged to offer for downloading..

Dana Gill Collection  A surprisingly large and varied assortment of new signs- some of the best movie and music posters we've seen.  Many multinational images.

Cletus Waldman Collection   Vintage signs from a new friend and an excellent modelbuilder.

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