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Painted Mail Pouch Signs

Mail Pouch barn repainted in 1989 by famous barn painter Harley Warrick. This structure is one of the last barns painted by Harley and is located near his hometown. Note initials of Harely Warrick on lower corner of barn.

Mail Pouch Sign

Between 1946 and 1992 Harley Warrick, often working by himself, made the Mail Pouch barn an American landmark by painting the Mail Pouch Chewing Tobacco advertisement on the sides of more than 20,000 barns in the United States. His only training being his talent for drawing and his job as assistant to a sign painter at the age of 13, Harley began with the Mail Pouch crew after returning home from the Army in 1946. Within months he had been prompted to journeyman painter.

Mail Pouch Sign

Harley soon developed a practiced eye and could deftly work the layout of the advertisement for any size or differently shaped barn in his mind without the use of a measuring stick to find the wall's center. He would then set up the "stage" on which he would work, traversing the scale of the barn through a series of "swings" or movements of the stage.

Because every barn had different dimensions, stencils were never used and spacing problems were adjusted so that the message always looked perfect from a distance. Harley often snuck in extra letters or added whimsical touches to the layout just to keep the viewer on his toes!

Mail Pouch Sign

Harley used a weekly average of 50 gallons of paint and numerous mops and brushes. As he traveled across the United States during his 45 year barn painting career, he wore out 25 trucks, retiring each after the mileage surpassed 100,000 miles.

To read more about Harley Warrick, his "swing stage", "ghosting", "cutting", and "spotting" and how he began with Mail Pouch, pick up the beautifully illustrated and informative The American Barn written by Randy Leffingwell and published in 1997 by MBI Publishing Company, Osceola, WI.

Mail Pouch Sign 

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