The six original Mail Pouch barn painters all lined up for a picture in 1925. If you were to travel some of the U,S, routes throughout the Northeastern part of these United States, such as New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, or West Virginia, you will probably see some remains of a now forgotten art of outdoor advertising by way of the Mail Pouch Tobacco barn signs.
This all started back in 1925 in Syracuse, New York, when six men, 2 per truck, started their "barnstorming" painting: of Mail Pouch signs on barns. The trucks were Ford model T's with side curtains.
The original six man crew included: Bill Hart, Bill Bucks, Kenneth Walkerman, Carl Wunelle, and Maurice Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman, affectionately called "Zim" by family and friends, is the only living member of the original crew. He is the one who tells this story of barn advertising signs.
Zim was 18 when he graduated from high school near Washington Ct. House, Ohio, in 1924. His brother, Walter, was an executive with the YMCA, then living in Youngstown, Ohio. He urged him to come to Youngstown to find a job. He became interested in sign painting and went to night school at the YMCA and worked during the day as an apprentice in a sign studio.
In August of 1925, Maurice traveled to Syracuse where he met the contractor for the sign work which was hired by the Bloch Brothers Tobacco Co. in Wheeling, W,Va., where they manufactured Mail Pouch chewing tobacco. The money paid to the contractor to do barn signs was from funds the Company allotted for Advertising. From Syracuse they traveled west on main highways, the U,S. and state highways. They looked for barns to paint their signs on.