The First Interstate Sign Company Ever?!
In 1959, the first Interstate sign company was established in Little Rock, Arkansas by William C Hill, Richard Butler, and Frank Lyon, as a part of Arkansas Sign and Neon, Co. Only three years prior, Dwight D Eisenhower approved funding for the Interstate Highway System—or as it was first called: Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.
In 1954, Eisenhower appointed Clay to head the President's Advisory Committee on the National Highway System. The so-called "Clay Committee" began what would become a report on the National Highway Program. The resulting "Grand Plan" obligated $50 billion of federal funds over 10 years to build a "vast system of interconnected highways” appealing to safety. The report cited 36,000 traffic fatalities each year and the multibillion dollar effect on the economy.
One of the major contributors to interstate safety is proper signage, which is why we stepped up to fill that need. Standardization has gone on a journey of its own and the Interstate Highway Sign Company kept careful track of individual states and their requirements for interstate, highway, and road signage. When asked how we first put out signs when we initially opened, I was told, “We screen printed in 1959, using one-armed bandits. We had our own dark room, and we built our own screens—we built them ourselves. Back where the printers are now was the dark room; then electro-cut vinyl — Reverse-cut EC film— a machine would cut it with a knife and we’d individually put the letters on.”
We’ve come a long way since then, moving into our own warehouse in March 1992 at the Little Rock River Port where we could keep everything under one roof—even the aluminum processing! When digital printing came around, we anxiously jumped on using the latest technology and incorporating digital prints in 2015. Now, we no longer do any screen printing, maximizing our production abilities, accuracy, and output capabilities by keeping up with the newest technology and keeping a staff of quick learning, highly-intelligent engineers and designers.