A History of Innovation
In 1928, Irwin Wagner started Wagner Sign Service, an outdoor sign maintenance and cleaning company serving the greater Chicago area.
Wagner was a relentless innovator, and developed the concept of changeable copyboard letters in the early 1930s using readily available materials like glass, aluminum and wood. Wagner saw the limitations of these materials: glass was breakable, aluminum was expensive, and wood was affordable, but not very durable. After inventing the slotted marquee letter in 1935, Wagner continued to experiment with different materials, and settled on a relatively new one: plastic.
Plastic Letters Revolutionize
The Changeable Copy Sign
In 1942, Wagner invented the first injection-molded plastic letters. Lightweight and practically indestructible, plastic quickly became the material of choice for changeable sign copy, and Wagner Sign Service three-dimensional letters and numbers could be seen on theater marquees from coast to coast. Theaters were soon joined by drive-ins and other businesses that recognized the positive effects of advertising through changeable outdoor signs.
From Dimensional to Flat letters
Following Wagner’s death, the Wagner estate sold the company to 3M in 1971. Four years later, Wagner Sign Service partnered with Zip-Change Manufacturing Company, adding the Zip-Change flat letter to the premier slotted Wagner letter. For the first time, sign owners could buy both 3D and flat letters from a single source.
In 1981, Wagner Sign Service became Wagner Zip-Change, Inc. after Jack Bercier bought the company. The company was sold again in 2013 to current owners Brad Ginsberg and David Sinclair.
Today Wagner Zip Change sells Zip-Change flat, Wagner® slotted dimensional, and Zip-Lite reverse letters and numbers, Jewelite trim, and sign accessories to sign companies and distributors around the world from our headquarters in Melrose Park, IL.
All of our plastic products are made in the USA, including the plastic sheeting we use for custom printing.Wagner Zip-Change continues to grow and to add innovative products to our extensive inventory.