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1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 13 (xiii)

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition
1952 Theatre Catalog
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 13
Page 13

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 13

readability of the message the letters convey, certain requirements must be satisfied.

There are two types of changeable letters in general use. One is the glass letter mounted on sheet metal which permits the light to shine through the letter itself. The other is the silhouette type letter, cast of aluminum or plastic, and which is suspended in front of a bright ly illuminated glass panel. Of the two, the silhouette letter is readable at the greater distance, and has the important advantage of dispersing all of the light produced by the current expended, thus making a more brilliant front.

To produce even lighting over the entire panel and prevent lamp image, the best way of constructing a light box is to install the light sockets on the back of a sheet metal box which should have a depth from seven and a half to eight inches from the face of the glass. The sockets should be set eight inches on centers both ways, and, in areas where competition from other lighting is high, should be wired for 40 watts per socket. For suburban or neighborhood theatres, 25 watts is generally sufficient. Many local electrical codes limit the number of sockets Which can be connected to one circuit. In no event should the load of the circuit total more than 1,320 watts.

The best glass to use in an attraction Sign is a pot-opal glass which permits greater readability by good diffusion of light. If the flashed opal type glass used by many manufacturers in their signs is installed, a spotty effect results from the poor diffusive qualities of the glass.

Cold cathode tube lighting in attracs tion signs is being uSed experimentally, and varying degrees of success have been reported with it. While this type of illumination is said to produce the same amount of light at less cost, it entails considerable expense because of the higher costs of wiring, transformers, and light-box construction needed to accommodate the cathode tubing.

Structural portions of the attraction sign should be of sheet metal from 16 to 18 gauge in thickness, and reinforced with angle irons. The purely decorative portions may be of 24 gauge thickness.

A coat of white enamel inside the light box will offer maximum reflection, and, in this regard, it should be noted that this painted surface must be cleaned periodically to maintain its efficiency. Also, allowance must be made for draining the light boxes, since the assembly cannot be weatherproofed.

Somf Lighting

In lighting the marqueels soffit, or ceiling, a variety of effects can be obtained through the uso of neon, incandescent lighting, or both in combination. Special designs can be created by confining the lighting in open sheet metal channels, but the trend in recent years has been toward a perfectly smooth soffit with an all-over pattern of stud 1iEhting at 12- to 18-inch centers. This gives a clean, modern effect, and lends glitter otherwise unobtainable in this Part of the theatre front. Also, this method results in the greatest amount of light being shed on the pavement in front of the entrance.


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FIG. 3-Simplest and most effective construction of the light box is to install sockets, spaced 8" on centers both ways, on the back of a sheet metal box having a depth of from 71/2" to B" from the face of the gloss. For highly competitive areas wire for 40 watts, but for less lighted areas 25 watts will suffice. There are local code limitations, but in no event should the load per circuit be over 320 watts.

Soiiit lighting should be so wired that it can be controlled by at least three Switches, one for lights around the outside perimeter, one for the general field which can be turned off when the box office is closed, and another for the central feature. It is advisable to install a special circuit with outlets for floodlights or spotlights which can be used to emphasize display advertising material beneath the marquee and special features, or both. To provide for the hanging of special advertising banners, recessed or exposed iteyes,y should be cut around the full perimeter of the marquee and about 12 inches on center.

Sheet metal used in the construction of the marquee should be from 18 to 20 gauge in thickness, depending on the size of the sections used, and installed without visible bolts or screws. byrbending up the edges of the sheets, batting them together, and hanging the assembly to the structural supports.


In painting the marquee, it should be remembered to treat metal surfaces first with an acid solution, then spray on a synthetic enamel primer, following it with a sprayed-on coat of synthetic outdoor enamel, thoroughly covering all surfaces until the desired shades and thickness of coating are obtained. Enamel should not be sprayed on too heavily, or scaling or cracking will result.

In regard to durability and appearance, porcelain enamel is much more satisfactory than paint on the sign, if the component parts of the sign can be built and set in place without cracking or chipping the porcelain. As heat is used in the porcelain enameling process, there

is certain to be some warping and shrinkage, resulting in stresses on the metal during assembly of the sign.

When porcelain enameling is used, rubber jackets or some metal such as aluminum should be used in the connections between the members. Compound curved surfaces should be avoided, and the design of the sign should be kept as simple as possible.

With care in the manufacture, assembly and erection of the sign, so that there is no chipping of the porcelain, the Sign will require no maintenance except cleaning, and should last for many, many years.

Lef'l'er Storage

If storage for changeable letters has not been provided on the roof of the existing marquee, it is a goood idea to make such provision in the remodeling. A weather proof cabinet, partitioned for the filing of various letters and symbols in a manner to facilitate quick copy changes, will serve the purpose well. Should the cabinet be placed on the marquee roof, the entire deck should be covered with duckboards raised about two inches from the deck. This will protect the roofing from being punctured.

If the storage cabinet is not placed on the deck of the marquee, letters should be stored as close to the front entrance as possible. By mounting rubber tire casters on the cabinet, the cabinet can be wheeled easily to the sidewalk, and letters can be changed with a minimum of time and trouble. In changing letters, it is a good idea to have a self-supporting ladder which can be moved easily, and can be used without being leaned against the sign, thus sav XIII
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 13