The I. Trager Company certainly knew how to appeal to the consumer’s eyes! Featured today is a large self-framed tin sign for the company’s flagship brand, Cream of Kentucky brand of whiskey. The caption of the image proclaims the girl to be “The Cream of Kentucky Girl”. This particular sign would have hung in many saloons and taverns of that era not only in Cincinnati but amongst many cities of the Midwest and most likely the East Coast also. Produced by one of the tin lithographic producing companies which had been based in Coshocton, OH around 1900, this particular image is actually a stock image, meaning the image was produced on a sign where any company which contracted for advertising signs to be made could have chosen this image, and then simply had their own brand and company name included on the signage itself. I don’t know why, but this particular girl is not found very often in other advertising signs, perhaps due to it’s larger size and cost to produce for the companies who were having these made when compared to a smaller round serving tray for example. Whatever the reason is, beautiful signs like this were saved and cherished by owners for the last 120 years just because the beauty of the design is truly timeless.
The I. Trager & Company was a distillery in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1887 until 1918 when prohibition ended this business enterprise like thousands of other companies during the “great experiment” known as prohibition. Imagine working for 40 years only to have the government shut your business down and send all your employees to the unemployment line. Sadly this was reality for tens of thousands of workers when this law was enacted in the early 20th century. The law also ended a way of life for the Trager family as they were forced to close their family business also. The company produced many brands of whiskey during their heyday, including Black Warrior, Creme de La Creme, Deerfield, Old Colony Club, Tulip Rose, Edgemont, Youghiogheny Malt, and Union Rye.