Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Muffler Men

As I have travled the highways and byways of this great country there has never been a greater awe inspiring sight then to see one of the Muffler Men smiling down on me as I go on my way. The Muffler Men are roadside advertising icons made of fiberglass and stand about 20 feet tall. The first was made to look like Paul Bunyan and holding his axe but they usully hold a large replica of what they are advertising or a sign for the place they are advertising.
The company to make the men was International Fiberglass. They had a variety of characters that they derivied from one mold. The first was around 1962 for the BP Cafe in Flagstaff, Arizona and that was the previously mentioned Paul Bunyan.
The person who started the company was Bob Prewitt and it was originally called Prewitt Fiberglass. He was really a cowboy and preferred to ride in rodeos. He hired other cowboys to work for him between rodeos. So it's no surprise to see some of those giants were made to look like cowboys. In 1963 he sold the company and it became International Fiberglass Company. Soon they were being covered in trad magazines and the owne of the Paul Bunyan one told how his sales doubled when it was installed.

Their biggest program was with Texaco where they did the big friend. One of their more famous was with Phillips and the big cowboy. Soon they were making huge Yogi Bears and Chickens for fried chicken places. Then came the fiberglass woman. It was Miss Uniroyal. There were two versions. One with a skirt and another in a bikini. The sculptor modeled her after Jackie Kennedy.
To get one today it would cost you between $15,000 and $20,000 but back then it was between $1,000 to $2,800. Shipping was a nightmare.
That's all for now. I hope you have good day today.

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