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United Motors Service sign

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United Motors Service sign


This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — Fixing Cars

United Motors Service sign
Catalog #: 1989.0751.02, Accession #: 1989.0751
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
The United Motor Services Incorporated was created in 1916 to handle sales for the United Motors Corporation, an accessories and parts maker. United Motor Service Inc. set up what it called "factory service branches" to service cars and sell the parts of the companies that operated under the umbrella of the UMC's name. In 1918, when the company became part of General Motors, those companies included Delco, Klaxon, and Remy Electic Company. By 1923, according to the Los Angeles Times, United Motor Services was a huge concern, with "6357 branch, distributor, and dealer points of service throughout the United States and Canada."
Physical Description
48" L x 28.5" H; Oval Horizontal; Porcelain enamel on steel, two sides. Orange background with black and white letters, black silhouette of touring car. "United Motors Service."
Date Made:
about 1930
Gift of Frank R. Righetti, Sr.
Automobiles changed the nation's streetscapes, as the view through a windshield—rather than from a carriage, sidewalk, or a streetcar—began to influence signage. American commercial steets were already awash with signage before the automobile was invented, but companies began to make larger signs that could be read at higher speeds, and to hang them so that drivers could see them as they drove by.

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