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Restoration of Meadow Gold sign completed March 9, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Preservation, Signs.

OK, the refurbishing of the historic Meadow Gold sign on Route 66 in Tulsa isn’t 100 percent done. After all, the sign still has to be re-erected at its new site at 11th Street (Route 66) and Quaker Avenue.

But the repairs on the massive letters and new neon tubing were recently finished by Claude Neon Federal Signs of Tulsa, which carefully dismantled the sign from its original location at 11th and Lewis Avenue (shown right) nearly three years ago. It was hoped the sign would be renovated there, but a car dealership insisted it be removed despite the pleas of preservationists. Ironically, the dealership moved to a suburb barely a year later.

Brad Nickson, a member of the Route 66 Committee of Vision 2025, informed me last week that restoration of the sign’s letters and neon had been completed. All that remains are a few minor technicalities before construction of the sign’s platform begins. It is hoped that starts later this year.

Nickson said the original metal-bar structure that held the Meadow Gold sign had to be replaced because it was not up to code. Officials are confident the redesigned, new metal structure won’t affect the Meadow Gold’s historic status. And I’d sure hate to see the sign to come crashing down during a thunderstorm because of purist demands to re-erect a rickety, 60-plus-year-old metal framework.

Ricky Jaubert, shipping and receiving manager at Claude Neon, was kind enough to show us where pieces of the restored Meadow Gold sign are stored. Here are the spiffed-up “Meadow Gold” letters:

We measured the big “G” at six feet tall. Jaubert says the letters weigh between 100 and 200 pounds apiece.

The glass-looking objects on the letters are new electrodes insulators for the neon tubing.

Here are pieces of the “Milk, Ice Cream” portion of the sign:

Here is the “Beatrice Foods Co.” portion:

Despite the Meadow Gold sign being more than 60 years old, its porcelain finish allowed it to age very little. Most of the work wasn’t cosmetic, but internal — replacing transformers, electrodes and the like.

There originally was a clock on the top of the Meadow Gold sign, but it has been gone for many years. That will be eventually replaced, too, as money becomes available.

(Photos by Emily Priddy, who also has a post about this.)


1. redforkhippie - March 9, 2007

The glass parts on the sign aren’t electrodes. They are insulators. The glass part protects the wiring from direct contact with the metal sign surface. The electrodes — which are located on the ends of the neon tubes themselves — will be plugged into the openings you see inside the glass parts. The electrodes make contact with wires behind the insulators (which typically look like springs of roughly the same diameter as the insulators). The wiring is connected to the transformer inside the sign, which supplies the electrical charge to the gas inside the tube (either neon or argon) that makes it light up.

I forgot to ask whether the original tubes were uranium glass (which they appeared to be) and whether the replacements are made of the same material as the original. Can’t wait to see it back on 11th and up and running again.

2. Ron - March 10, 2007

I fixed the insulator reference. Just call me a neon novice.😉

3. redforkhippie - March 12, 2007

Rookie. Time for a lesson over the torches.😛

4. Tally's Good Food Cafe « Indie Tulsa - March 21, 2007

[…] — with its retro-styled sign mounted above the door (on a framework that evokes the Meadow Gold sign in miniature), stylish architectural neon around the exterior (complete with glowing Route 66 […]

5. Meadow Gold sign will be re-erected next month « Route 66 News - December 5, 2008

[…] Ron in Preservation, Signs. trackback The Tulsa World today posted an update about the historic Meadow Gold sign on Route 66 in Tulsa, which was dismantled and put into storage several years ago after a local car […]

6. Getting there « Route 66 News - January 3, 2009

[…] on the new home of the historic Meadow Gold sign on Route 66 in Tulsa is progressing […]

7. Meadow Gold sign update « Route 66 News - March 5, 2009

[…] Signs. trackback It looks like the main structure for the re-erection of the historic Meadow Gold sign in Tulsa is nearly complete. I e-mailed Dennis Whitaker in the City of Tulsa’s Planning […]

8. Mark your calendars « Route 66 News - March 10, 2009

[…] today says that Claude Neon Federal Signs will begin re-erecting the neon-festooned letters of the historic Meadow Gold sign at 11th Street and Quaker Avenue in Tulsa on April […]

9. And so it begins … « Route 66 News - April 6, 2009

[…] from Claude Neon Federal began re-erecting the historic Meadow Gold neon sign at 11th Street and Quaker Avenue in Tulsa on Monday […]

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