Object Record

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Title Sign: the "last drop" from the General Foods Maxwell House Coffee plant sign, Hoboken, that formerly faced the Hudson River.
Object Name Sign
Catalog Number 2001.171.0001
Collection Maxwell House Coffee, Hoboken Division, Collection
Credit Gift of Charles Moorman
Description The "last drop" from the former General Foods Maxwell House Coffee plant sign that faced east at the Hudson River. The sign was dismantled in ca. 1993-94 except for the supporting frame which remained atop the buildings. As far as it is known, all the other parts were scrapped.

The "drop" formerly was outlined in a red neon tubing. Ca. 14'h x 5.5'w x 10"d. Heavy gauge sheet metal with flanged edges. Solid front and back with six cut-out holes on the front for the neon and access panels on rear or edges for electrical access. Blue paint on rear and sides. The front is painted a dark coffee brown. Set in is a smaller symmetrical drop done in a lighter,sienna brown and inside that is a smaller drop in white.

The original sign was designed by Arthur R. Blair, father of long-time Hoboken resident, artist Barry Blair. Erected in 1938 by Claud Neon Lights Company, it was 182 feet long by 75 feet high. It was the largest sign in the New York Harbor. The cup was circa 45 feet high and 35 feet in diameter. It was featured in the 1940 film "Christmas in July."

Numerous dents and rust points.

The donor saved this piece and kept it at his home until he donated it. The Museum replaced the lost neon tubing and had it on display in the 2002 exhibition "Signs & Traces."Hank and Stella Forrest donated funds for the replacement. [See notes for 2002 exhibition label text.]

The publication, "Advertising Age" (AdAge), has the Maxwell House slogan "Good to the last drop" listed as no. 6 on the top 10 advertising slogans of the 20th century. A 1959 advertising campaign created by Ogilvy, Benson & Mather using the Maxwell House slogan is ranked as no. 15 of the top 100 advertising campaigns of the century.
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Date 1940-1993
Year Range from 1940.0
Year Range to 1993.0
People Blair, Arthur R.
Blair, Barry
Search Terms Claud Neon Lights Company
Maxwell House Coffee plant
Caption view of sign on exhibit 2002
Imagefile 008\20011710001.JPG
Notes Exhibit text label as written by Holly Metz:

Right: Painted metal form for the "last drop" of the giant neon coffee cup sign, Maxwell House Coffee plant, Hoboken, 1938, with restored neon, 2002. Donated by Charles Moorman to the Hoboken Historical Museum.

According to research conducted by Jim Hans, the 182-foot long, 75-foot high neon sign was designed by Arthur R. Blair and constructed in 1938 by Claude Neon Lights, Inc. of New York. The firm was one of 14 American neon sign franchises established in the early 1920s by French scientist Georges Claude, who perfected the neon lamp. Neon lights are bent glass tubes filled with rare gases and lit with an electrical charge.

The Maxwell House Coffee sign, the largest in New York Harbor, was installed on the roof of the Hoboken plant, the world's largest coffee processing facility, in 1939. The entire sign was disassembled in 1993 following the factory's closure. Engineer Charles Moorman save the form and donated it to the Museum. In 2002, Museum members Hank Forrest and Stella Strazdas donated the funds to restore its neon and transformers.
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Classification Architecture
Signs
Buildings
Business & Commerce