I’ve been touring eastern New York the last couple of months seeking examples of early to mid-century roadside promotional signs (a few examples here). Right on cue, this sign is exposed about 3 blocks from my office.

What a great piece of history!


According to a post published by the Bernhardt Fudyma Design Group, the INER SEAL mark, a forerunner of today’s NABISCO logo, dates this sign to somewhere between 1900 and 1918. Though other sources suggest it might have been in use as late as 1941.

During the 15th century this design was used as a pressmark by the society of Printers in Venice. Prior to that, in the early Christian era, the mark symbolized the triumph of the spiritual over the worldly.

This lineage suggest ties to other products introduced during the great food purity movement – otherwise known as the anti-sex movement – of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Corn flakes and Grape Nuts, to name just a few. If you’d like to jump into the deep end, academically speaking, here’s an even more serious related history (authored by yours truly).