In 2017 I had the pleasure to work on several sign projects for Miller-Coors, including this embossed tin sign to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. Founded in 1867 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Leinenkugel’s is the seventh oldest brewery in the United States.
To commemorate their Sesquicentennial celebration the client commissioned me to faithfully create an exact facsimile of this wonderful example of Leinenkugel Beer advertising. No expense or time was spared to create a contemporary version of their original 1890’s-era tin sign, which made by F. Tuchfarber Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. Founded in 1869, Tuchfarber was well known throughout the world as masters of chromolithographed printed advertising. The companies advertising self-promoted them to be ‘The Handsomest Cheapest and Most Durable Signs in the World’.
Among the most common signs offered by Tuchfarber Company were tin signs mounted to oak frames for use in outdoor advertising. The frames were notched, allowing advertising on the corner of buildings or poles.
To begin this project our client provided an original sign off of which I could work. The example they provided had an interesting backstory. While doing repairs to the roof in the kettle house the brewery made a discovery that some of these thin metal signs were being used as sheathing beneath the shingles. While many of the signs were torn and frayed, thankfully a handful were salvageable.
The project began by carefully drawing every detail. Viewed from a distance the artwork of this advertisement may appear basic. However, upon closer examination, the surface of the sign has alternating textures of a smooth surface and a frosted surface to create a ghosting affect in the background.
After nearly half a week of work to hand draw the art, the sign was ready to go into production. A tool-and-die consisting of metal plates was made to create the embossed raised letters of the Leinenkugel brand. After the signs were reverse embossed, we achieved the frosting appearance by screen printing a special varnish into the surface of the metal.
These 150th Anniversary signs are one of the most affordable and beautiful signs we’ve offered and as you can read Miller-Coors was ecstatic when they arrived for sale.
You can get yours here by shopping at the Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin or ordering one online at: