The Golden Age of Chrome

A couple of weekends ago, I attended the “Back to the Fifties” car show in St. Paul. This was the first time for me, despite the fact that we live within walking distance of the Minnesota State Fair Grounds, where the show takes place every year. Since the cars are always cruising around our neighborhood when the event is held, we never felt a pressing need to pay the admission fee. But this year, I decided to get a closer look.

I was glad I brought my camera. I realized what a great opportunity it was to snap photos of car nameplates—the stylized chrome lettering that adorns automobiles. The Fifties was an especially inventive period for “brightwork,” as it is called. For practical reasons, script styles were most often used—it meant that the nameplate could be molded in a single piece of metal. It was a treasure trove.

Here are some gems that I found:

July 9 Update: I just posted these photos (and a few more) on Flickr where you can see them a bit larger.