Now, I wonder how this sign compares to the electric signs of today.
From The Saturday Evening Post, August 17, 1912:
“The above photograph shows the monster Kellog Toasted Corn Flake electric sign on the top of the Mecca Building, at 48th and Broadway, NY.
This sign is 106 ft. wide and 80 ft. high—the letter “K” in Kellogg’s is 66 ft. high—the boy’s head and the package are 40 feet high.
Eighty tons of structural iron were required for the frame work, making necessary six mammoth trusses to distribute the weight and wind stress over the building.
A mechanical device changes the boy’s face and the heading. When he cries the heading reads “I want Kellogg’s.” He then smiles and the heading reads “I got Kellogg’s.” The sign portrays a true story told in millions of homes daily.”
Thanks to Mamluke, I have found out that the building has a very rich history, and has now been turned into more (offensive, IMHO) condos.
Also, The NY Times has a fab article which discusses the changes in signage over time, commenting on a current sign “three basketball courts” in size.
Here’s a 1937 photo (from Lileks) of the same billboard structure, with “Four Roses” instead of Kellogg’s. Note that by 1940, it was “Available.” Other advertisers included Maxwell House, Chevrolet, Braniff and Sony.
More history of the building before its demise…