Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Magiskist Carpet sign that once stood near 87th & Dan Ryan #tbt

The Magikist sign was a childhood landmark for myself until it was dismantled in 1992 according to Pete Kasantes of Vanished Chicagoland. I'm sharing this with you as the Chatham neighborhood was home to this recognizable landmark for many commuters going into the city on the Dan Ryan Expressway. I was disappointed to see it was gone at some point in the 1990s, however, the memories remain.

Magikist went out of the business in 2001 according to this wiki article. They were known for being a rug cleaning company, so perhaps for someone unfamiliar with their services or products some might be wondering where the lips come into play. Regardless if you were looking in the direction of that sign it was a recognizable and memorable landmark and there were others on other expressways throughout the city.

There was one on the Eisenhower and Kennedy Expressways - near Montrose - and both have since been torn down. The Magiskist sign on the Kennedy was the last to go in 2003. 


  1. I seem to remember that the font on the 88 x 7 matrix electronic sign accompanying the time/temperature display on those Magikist signs was identical to the type seen over Times Square in NYC from 1969 to the mid-1980's on the billboard that, to 1976, peddled Canadian Club whiskey, then Suntory Whisky on its first round, and after that Midori Melon Liqueur. (When Suntory returned to that spot, the font running through that zipper changed.) I wonder what sign company installed these zippers, I know they date to at least 1969. Could it have been Chicago-based Naxon Telesign, or if not them, who?

    (I know that the 1956-6? TWA sign on North State and West Randolph atop the Shoppers Corner building used "traveling message sign" zippers with fonts from Trans-Lux, for example. And that other companies such as Daktronics and Time-O-Matic a.k.a. WatchFire had fonts that were seen through such zippers and/or LED displays over the years.)

  2. P.S. Naxon's font was used on a Magikist sign - on the West Randolph Street side of the frontage for the Shoppers Corner building at 150 N. State from 1968 well into the 1980's. The year before that (1967), it was seen on the billboard on that same side for 'Chicago News Central', a smaller cousin of the Walgreens / Life news zipper at 151 N. State on the corner with East Randolph that in turn was a sister to the news zipper around what was then the Allied Chemical Tower at what would come to be designated One Times Square in New York City.


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