It isn't known which sign painter first took to four wheels, although it could well have been Winslow Quince on his horse-drawn wagon. What is clear is that trucks, vans, cars and trailers have served the trade for many years.
In this follow-up to the piece on sign painter bicycles, you'll find some of the rides that craftspeople around the world are driving today.
First, let's take a look back. While archival photos of sign painter vehicles appear to be rarer than those of shops and work in progress, some do exist.
There's even a book, Van Writing Up-to-Date by W.H. Coates, that features lettered vehicles for Oldham Sign Service in Leeds, UK. (Thank you to Rob Metcalfe for sharing this.)
And, jumping forward a bit further...
Studio Sign Co.
Noel B. Weber
"I bought this truck from a friend, Mike Moore, in 1979, and it was some of the best money I ever spent on a vehicle. I sold it in 2016 to help pay for the first 300 books copies of A Sign Painters' Sketchbook which we sold at the London Letterheads meet."
And then Australia in the 1980s...
"This is my Holden Gemini panel van that I painted over 40 years ago, and the original felt-tip artwork. I was hooked on the Letraset book, and the lettering here was based on Serif Gothic Heavy and Avant Garde Gothic."
Shane Mc Mullen
Hampton, Victoria, Australia
"It was the early 1980s and I’d just finished my signwriting apprenticeship. I was 21 years old and decided to travel around Australia with this F100 and the 22 ft (6.7 m) Viscount caravan.
"We (me and my then girlfriend, now wife of 35 years, Sally) spent four years on the road working, travelling thousands and thousands of miles, signwriting in lots of small country towns in the Australian Outback.
"From Broome to the famous Birdsville Pub, all parts of Gulf country including Cattle Stations, and lots of towns in Queensland, The Northern Territory and Western Australia, we were never without work as most towns rarely had a signwriter pass though.
"The long wheel base F100 was a terrific reliable workhorse as we could carry all our trestles, work plank, paints and sign equipment, including a Honda XR 500 Trailbike."
Shane Mc Mullen / @shanemcmullen0
"This is my old ute [utility vehicle] that I had in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, along with my dog Rory. I wish I'd kept it; it certainly got noticed around Freo [Freemantle]."
Keeping it Classic
Just like painted signs, old cars age gracefully. These have been further enhanced with fresh paint and gold leaf.
McMinnville, Oregon, USA
"This 1951 Ford Panel Truck was originally owned by the US Navy. I picked it up two years ago, stripped it down completely and took it apart, and had a friend help do some metal work. I repainted the whole thing, reassembled it, then finally added my signage."
Jess Marsh Wissemann
Sunderland, Massachusetts, USA