Origin: American Period: Art Deco Provenance: Unknown Date: c.1925-35 Height: 48 inches Width: 108 inches Depth: 9.5 inches
The four by nine foot long walnut veneered ice cream parlour shop fitting with a stained American whitewood carcass having illuminated milk glass panels featuring the names of the ice creams on sale, the original carved lettering to the top frieze reading ‘Ice Cream Bar’ with scalloped deco period central glass mirror and side shelves for glasses and sauces, the whole with moulded detailing, is quintessentially Art Deco and hails from 1930s USA, manufactured by Fort Pitt Sign Co Pittsburgh, PA.
Imported to the UK over a decade ago the ice cream fitting has had an amazing journey thus far and has recently been rescued and undergone restoration. She is now in the kind of condition and fettle that she would have been eighty years ago with her veneers and moulding all in tact and standing solid and stable. The original manufacturers enamel label for Fort Pitt Sign Co the still remains. Our electrician has replaced the period American fitments where necessary for the fitting to work via UK standards and the piece has been thoroughly PAT tested. There are seven working bulbs in total that illuminate the fitting.
The Fort Pitt Sign Co specialised in custom commercial cabinet work, store fixtures such as this, millwork and specialty items of exotic wood. The business was founded in 1920 by Thomas Martin and located on West Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh. Upon the founder's retirement responsibility for the company was assumed by sons Roy and Jack Martin, who in 1946, converted the business into Fort Pitt Fixtures. They completed custom interiors for Equibank, Westinghoise, Alcoa, to name but some and interior work for many general contractors, retail stores, design firms and hospitals.
During the 1930s and 1940s, jukeboxes in ice cream parlours made them popular gathering spots for teenagers, With the increase in automobile ownership in the 1920s, and into the 1930s and 1940s, chains of roadside ice cream stands and eateries featuring ice cream began to form, among them in America were Dutchland Farms, Howard Johnson’s, Prince Castle, Henry’s, and Friendly’s. “Soft serve” – a product whose name reflects that it does not meet the official definition of ice cream – caught on in the 1940s. In seaside resorts during the 1930s, chains such as those of the Forte family in England, led to the creation of smart art-deco parlours with coloured and mirrored interiors.
NB. The Ice Cream Bar in San Francisco has recreated the Art Deco look wonderfully and has a very similar (but reproduction) bar fitting, modeled on our original, in its premises – see http://theicecreambarsf.com/
The term Art Deco encompasses the distinctive styles in art, architecture and design, and is typified by bright bold colours, and stylized designs derived from the onset of industrialism, as well as artistic movements such as modernism, cubism, and futurism. It is one of the best loved, most influential, instantly recognisable, international, and elegant of all artistic periods.
A once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire an all singing all dancing piece of original art Deco period ice cream parlour history that resurrects the golden age of 1930s-era soda fountains with old-school floats and malts. Mines the Basil, maple cone pecan please…