SIGNS: BACKLIT (Hanging & Wall Mounted)

BACKLIT SIGNS - Background

As the name indicates, Backlit signs have lighting from the behind the face of the sign. They usually have a metal frame, a plastic or glass face with lettering and images and fluorescent or incandescent lighting inside the case.  In the late 1940s the use of a painted plastic face-plate with lighting behind it in a metal frame. They became more popular than neon signs in the 1950s and thereafter over neon signs. That's because they allowed more illustration, could come in some much large sizes and, when the sign lighting was off, they were still very visible.  They could also be less inexpensive. They came in varied sizes, becoming quite long if desired, and had some versatility in being displayed in either window, hung from a ceiling or mounted on a wall. There were essentially five periods that these signs were distributed. They include i) those years after Bavarian's Old Style was introduced (mostly late 1940s-1950, ii) 1950 to 1956, iii) 1957 after Bavarian's Select Beer replaced Bavarian Brewing Co.'s former brand with their new 3-flag logo, iv) 1958 with a new slogan "brewed the Old World Way" and, v) 1959-1966 when International Breweries Inc. owned Bavarian/s. Backlit signs for each of these periods are presented below.

Late 1940s: The oldest backlit signs for Bavarian's Old Style Beer may be some 3-D variations.  They included raised lettering covered by plastic.  The signs often indicated the beer was "On Tap," or occasionally that the beer was "In Bottles."  The bottle shown lower rights below is actually only one-half of a plastic bottle.  Both signs were illuminated with fluorescent lights.

Circa 1950 - 1956:   The earlier signs in this period likely had white and off-white backgrounds, like the first three shown below, and around 1950. Those with the blue background were probably in the early and mid 1950s. Often the signs  featured the slogan "A Man's Beer" or "On Tap." In 1955-1956 the phrase was changed to "Flavor... at its Finest." The last sign below with stars may be from around 1956, just before Bavarian/s Select Beer was released.

Mostly 1957 - 1959. Besides neon signs for Bavarian's Old Style Beer, backlit signs were also made when Bavarian Brewing Co. modified the brand to Bavarian/s Select Beer and included a three flag design beginning in 1957. All the signs shown below were made before the brewery sold to IBI in 1959. Note that during this period and afterwards the beer name was Bavarian's, but more often Bavarian/s, with a forward slash replacing an apostrophe.

Bavarians Select Oval Sign, Bavarian Brewing Co., Covington, KY

1958.  A year after Bavarian/s Select Beer was introduced, the slogan for the beer changed to "...brewed the Old World Way!"  Some signs were made with this slogan with different variations than the previous signs, and occasionally without Bavarian/s three flag logo.

Bavarian Select "Old World" Backlit Sign, Bavarian Brewing Co., Covington, KY.
Bavarian Select Outdoor Scene 'Old World" Backlit Sign, Bavarian Brewing Co., Covington, KY.

1959 - 1966.  After IBI's acquisition of Bavarian Brewing Co. in 1959, it seemed IBI did not want to replace the signs made just a year or two earlier, and instead emphasized making Posters, Non-Lit Signs or Lighted Specialty Signs.  Therefore, apparently few backlit signs were made for Bavarian/s by IBI.  In this period, the posters, signs and ads usually used "International" or "IBI," and this is reflected in the sign below. Occasionally, the images in three flags were replaced with the letters IBI.

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