Smile Soda Tin Menu Board Sign, Circa. 1950

One of the most prolific and lost lasting images of the 1940-50’s era was the Smile Soda brand’s distinctive orange with a human like face on it. This logo was used on so many of the brand’s advertising signage, as shown here on this tin over carboard restaurant menu sign. This sign’s caption reads “Refresh with a Smile”. Of course the smiling orange certainly was a play on words for this design. Menu boards are found today with lots of advertising products on them, but the ones you will find most often are related to both beer, soda and dairy products. This makes sense given the products and menu style signs were most often hung in local restaurants and smaller grocery type of establishments. Menu boards in the tin design or even reverse on glass designs lasted until about 1960 or so, when the tin black chalkboard style signs became all the rage.

The Smile brand of soda pop originated in the St. Louis, MO area in the 1920’s era. Based in St. Louis, the city had at least fifty different carbonated beverage companies in the metropolitan area. The Smile brand was made specifically by the Orange Smile Syrup Company, and their headquarters building still has a distinctive art deco tile emblem built into the wall in the Soulard area in South St. Louis. A few other prominent captions were “Drink Smile” and “Refresh with a Smile”. The brand was a sister product to the Whistle brand of soda of the era. Unlike Smile which was an orange drink only, the Whistle brand came in many flavors. Because Smile was an orange soda only, instead of listing all types of soda style flavors, this sign was used to advertise various types of food selections the restaurant was selling.