Artkraft Strauss built Times Square's greatest 20th century displays: the smoking Camel sign, Bond's block-wide waterfall, the New Year's Eve ball—and a host of others.

Founded in 1897 by artisan Ben Strauss, the company made hand-painted show cards and gas-illuminated marquees for New York's new theater district. Under the innovative leadership of foreman Jake Starr, a young Russian immigrant, Strauss Signs soon became the Square's principal creator of electrical signs and displays.

In the 1920s Starr took over neon pioneer Artkraft of Lima, Ohio, and merged the two companies in 1931, forming Artkraft Strauss. The new company dominated Times Square advertising from the 1930s through the century's end.

Even after video displays began to eclipse neon in the 1970s, Artkraft Strauss maintained its dominance, and spearheaded the area's rebirth after years of decline. We created block-wide news and stock tickers on Morgan Stanley's Broadway headquarters; Coca-Cola's animated 1992 display at the north end of the Square, featuring advanced robotics, fiber optics, and exquisitely synchronized motors; and many other one-of-a-kind spectaculars.

Early in the 21st century we sold our advertising locations, closed the factory, and became sign designers and consultants. Our archive of photos, blueprints, and memorabilia is housed at the New York Public Library. The collection, whose Index is here, is an outstanding resource for those interested in signs, sign history, cultural history, advertising, urban culture, and great design.

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Coca Cola 1992
TWA 1956
Wrigley's Gum 1937
Camel 1960s
Miss Youth Form 1947
Kleenex 1952
Bond 1950
New Years Eve Ball Lowering Rehearsal 1986
Canadian Club, Admiral 1953
Planter's Peanuts 1937

Over the years our clientele has included industrial, advertising, and entertainment greats such as