18 Mar 2017

Gold Dust Washing Powder: An Unsettling Reveal

Fading painted advertisement on wall advertising Gold Dust Washing Powder
Gold Dust Washing Powder Ghostsign, Atlanta by Velma Maia Thomas

Lurking in my folders of blog post ideas I came across a photo that I’d forgotten about, of a ghostsign advertising Gold Dust Washing Powder. This is shown below and was quite small so I did a few searches and discovered the one above, used in this extended article from Velma Maia Thomas about the sign, its revealing after a tornado in Atlanta in 2008, the business it represents, and the unsettling questions raised by the illustrations.

This is not the only Gold Dust Washing Powder ghostsign in existence, with another featured on pages 146-8 of Fading Ads of Birmingham. Each offers insights into how advertising has changed since these signs were painted by serving as lenses through which we can view the past. For me, this is one of the enduring values of ghostsigns, their ability to act as time capsules, bringing the past forward into the present.

Here’s the original photo of the Gold Dust Washing Powder ghost sign, if anyone knows where it came from then please let me know so that I can add a photo credit.

Fading painted wall advertisement advertising Gold Dust Washing Powder
Gold Dust Washing Powder ghostsign, Atlanta, photographer unknown

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