Paper KC Baking Powder Advertising Display. Black Americana

This example with the chef is a fantasy item that, according to popular seller lore, represents a type of advertising window display popular anywhere from the early 1900's through the 1940's. An exact date for when this item was first made and employed by grocers or in the windows of country stores tends to vary greatly from seller to seller. Most likely this is because finding an actual original example to compare it to for dating purposes would be difficult. Most if not all examples of cardboard or paperboard price-dial advertising signs on the market today never existed in any other era outside of our contemporary times.

The sign itself is printed on heavy poster-type board (sometimes described as cardboard) and on this example multiple wheels on the back made of the same material can be rotated to change to reflect through the windows cut through to the front the different prices for 'Butter' and 'Eggs.' This type of display was variously supposed to either attract customer attention, inform them of availability and prices in an entertaining way, or to be useful for announcing sudden price changes in an appealing manner.

Each wheel has numbers. Metal fasteners hold the wheels to the front and a metal reinforced hole at top is supplied for wall mounting. Of course, mounting such a display with its back to the wall would only make sense for prices that did not frequently vary. Or if such a sign were in fact only really made for decorative display, not actual use by a retail merchant in a store window or over-counter display.

Though on the reverse side the paper may seem to have aged, this appearance is frequently given to the paper surfaces of reproductions and fakes at manufacture with the application of a little spray-on patina. Note how only the outside edges of the wheels on the reverse side, for instance, are very brown, and not the entire surface of the wheel. This is done to obscure the cut edges which otherwise would give away their true age by showing very white surfaces. Much as does the surface of the paper on the front of the numbered wheels, where the surface shows through the cut-out windows.

If you have purchased one of these advertising pieces as old, already, go into a dark room with it and shine a black-light (ultraviolet spectrum light) across all surfaces. Areas not well covered with inks and sprayed patina will glow very white, as do almost all modern paper substances.

These advertising pieces can actually be purchased today for around $15 from many retailers honest enough (or knowledgeable enough) to represent them as the 'nostalgic' decorative items they really are. They may be handy for decorating the kitchen or restaurant, but should not be sold as if old - because they aren't. They can be had at even cheaper wholesale prices if purchased directly from the wholesale merchants who specialize in antique reproductions and fakes, from whom they originate.

Watch for the following similar paperboard price-dial advertising signs which are also newly made, but made in such a way as to appear aged:

- Baker's Delight Baking Powder, with a central image of an Aunt Jemima-type cook in a red dress and apron presenting a pan of biscuits.

- Calumet Baking Powder Butter and Eggs sign with a cute bow-tied child figure on the upper left.

- White Pearl Brand Creamery Butter, with cow on company box at top and slogan of, "This package assures you of quality butter." printed below.

- 'EGGS' with image of chicken and "Full-O-Pep Feed & Seed Co." printed below.

Item ID: 2007RP00045

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies


Ruby Lane, Comparisons, CA   

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