WINFIELD S. FISK operated a sign painting business in Camden. He left the city in 1905, returning 25 years later, in 1930, to re-establish his business in Camden.
Camden Courier-Post - March 12, 1930
PAINTER MAKES NEW START
In business here 18 years before he left the city 25 years ago, a Camden man has come back here to start business again.
After having worked in many parts of the country and as far west as St. Louis, Winfield S. Fisk has chosen Camden in which to make a fresh start.
Fisk has been painting signs and showcards for 48 years and now, at 72, expects to build up as profitable a business as he had when he left here in 1905. Fisk does gold and silver lettering on glass, showcards, real estate and other sign work and painting on paper, muslin and any other substance that may be used.
He has taken quarters at 310 Federal Street and maintains another office at 906 Cooper street. A graduate of Central High School, Philadelphia, he became an apprentice to John Castle Turner, known in Camden. He was for many years located at 139 Market Street, Philadelphia and was a member of he firm of Fisk and Everhart, Philadelphia.
Fisk is also somewhat of an artist and has painted many portraits, besides doing landscapes, still life and other work. He has made a study of the history of signs and declares that the Romans knew the value of signs, and utilized them in large numbers.
"The first sign about which we have any historical knowledge is a bunch of grapes,” explains Fisk. "It was carved in stone and hung above the portals of Roman taverns.
"The Greeks it is surmised, also employed signs in the same way, as many allusions from the old Greek writers indicate. These first signs, carved or molded from clay, are the forerunners of the painted sign of today.
"During the Middle Ages, in Europe, when people were seldom able to read, for education was far from being general, it was necessary for tradesmen to I have signs before their places to indicate the nature of the business they were conducting. The symbolic sign was then most in evidence, such as the three gilded balls of the pawnbroker, and which is one of the ancient forms, that survive to this day. The barber pole is another example.
"James Whitcomb Riley began life as a sign painter, and it is said that he was a good one, too. If he had failed as a writer of popular verses, at which he amassed a goodly fortune, he would have been successful as a sign painter, for he had the artistic tempera4tlent, and did very fine work when he did work at it.
"There have been other American sign painters who have distinguished themselves in other James Arthur Quartly, for instance, who was well known for his oil paintings
"The most important event in sign painting in our country was the introduction of the art of gilding letters on glass, in 1828, by an Englishman by the name of Edwards. This gave impetus to the art of sign painting for business houses, banks, etc., and its importance cannot be overestimated.".
March 12, 1930
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