Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vintage Roadside spends the day with a few giants of the American roadside

We recently had an opportunity to get to see two icons of roadside advertising up close - the wonderful, orange Union 76 Ball and the lighted, rotating Kentucky Fried Chicken Bucket. It was a great chance to see these two wonders that are usually 20 feet above your head.

The Union 76 Balls are being replaced by either flat panel signs, or in a select few cases, a new red ball. Unocal is now owned by parent company Conoco and in an effort to re-brand their gas stations they have been removing the signs that many remember fondly. It was interesting to discover just how fragile these signs are. There is a pole running up the middle of each ball which houses the lights and rotating motor however the outer "shell" is so flexible that if the ball is tipped or pushed the sign crumples. The balls are roughly 8 feet in diameter. The two pictured below were located in a secure area and were being disposed of as per Conoco's directions.

The KFC Bucket below was also quite interesting to see up close. We had no idea how complex the sign would be nor how heavy! For starters the bucket weighs in at roughly 800 pounds. The sign also has a fairly intricate series of braces, lighting, wiring, and a very heavy electric motor that enabled the bucket to rotate atop the pole. The sign is also almost 8 feet across at the top and 6 feet across the bottom. As you can see by the pickup in the photo the bucket is huge!

We hope you enjoyed seeing a couple different views of these wonderful signs and that the next time you walk or drive underneath one you have a little better idea of just what's going on up there.

1 comment:

Larry said...

just for fun, I would create a new version of this phot and flip it 180.