Where could I find an electromechanical sign?
September 9, 2008 11:44 AM   Subscribe

So if I wanted to find an old school electro-mechanical signboard, where would I find such an animal? I seem to remember the stock exchange or train stations used to have something similar but I've google my brains out and can't seem find anything. I have the feeling that they're handbuilt, so has anyone seen any plans or schematics for one?
posted by jackofsaxons to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Are you thinking of something like the one seen at this blog? I'm not sure of the exact term for that type of signage, except maybe arrival/departure sign?

I work in electronic message displays (specifically LED signs). Sometimes customers (or the customers sign shops) need digits or text scrollers retro-fitted to existing setups. You might ask around at sign shops or current arrival/departure sign makers to find out what those signs are called and if they know who the manufacturers were. I'm guessing they were mostly hand-built and that there were probably only a few big makers in the industry. Model railroad enthusiasts might have some leads, as well.

Happy hunting!
posted by bonobo at 6:18 PM on September 9, 2008

That's almost exactly like what I'm looking for, the only difference is it flips tiles to change the text, in a rotary fashion...
posted by jackofsaxons at 6:46 PM on September 9, 2008

I remember those. Back in the day, they were astonishingly fast and elegant — white letters and numbers on black background, one of the first widespread use of Helvitica, if memory serves. You can catch a glimpse of them in movies from the period.

Apparently they are called a Solari departure board, a type of split flap display made by Solari di Udine.
posted by exphysicist345 at 7:03 PM on September 9, 2008

You want flip-dot signs.
posted by jdfan at 12:12 PM on September 10, 2008

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