Historic sign donated to Lansford historians
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Bill Harleman, left, president of the Lansford Historical Society, thanks Michael Knies for donating an enameled sign. Knies, who will turn 92 this year, has safeguarded the sign for nearly eight decades.
Michael Knies, who will turn 92 this year, turned up at Wednesday's meeting of the Lansford Historical Society and presented the group with a piece of the town's industrial past.
Knies turned over an enameled advertising sign for Nazareth Cement, a partnership of Hall & Kressley.
Knies believes that a change in ownership resulted in the sign being obsolete, which in turn, led to someone discarding it by tossing it over an embankment in 1935.
Knies happened to walk by and discovered the sign, which was in outstanding condition. He salvaged it and held on to it for nearly eight decades until deciding that it needs to be preserved for posterity for the benefit of generations to come.
The area where it had been tossed aside 78 years ago, and where Knies discovered it, is near today's Panther Valley Lumber Company.
Knies served for many years as a blacksmith for Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, and worked in the Lansford Shops and the Number 9 and Number 11 mines. He gets daily exercise by walking through historic Lansford, much the same as he did in the 1930s when he stumbled upon the sign.
Early advertising pieces have increased in value as the public increasingly appreciates their beauty and decorative value in addition to historical significance. Porcelain-coated signage, such as this Nazareth Cement piece, is highly collectible and sought after by antiques enthusiasts and industry archivists.