Rare piece of Americana; an advertising item that would have been hanging in a general store in rural America at the turn of the century, singing the praises and virtues of using Frazer Axle grease, and lamenting what happens when not applied; a product used obviously for lubricating the wheels and axles of horse drawn carts and wagons. This is an original self framed tin sign, manufactured circa 1900 by the American Art Works Company, established in 1895 in Coshocton, Ohio (See image; label and logo in lower right hand corner). They would eventually go on to merge with similar type companies and become the Meeks Company. The Frazer Axle Grease company would have commissioned American Art Works to produce the sign and then they would have distributed it to their jobbers, retailers and sellers.
The sign is in excellent condition; there is no rust, and the colors are nice and bright. The term “self framed” references the 3″ black border which is part of the entire composition; a 1″ border is then folded over and hammered down and attached to wooden stretchers which support the sign.
Note the context of the images on the sign. To the right you have the successful well dressed farmer with healthy horses and a well maintained wagon, saying to his counterpart “My Friend don’t cry! Get your wagon fixed up and then use the Frazer Axle Grease petroleum. Grease both black and white will ruin your axles every time”. To the left you have the obviously less successful farmer in a broken down wagon with underfed horses saying “If I had used Frazer Axle Grease I would not have had this trouble”.
Dimensions: 25 1/2″ high x 37 3/4″ wide x 1″ deep
An example of this sign was featured on “Antiques Road Show” from Billings, Montana on April 11, 2011.