The word “smaltz” is actually short for “Osmalto” and it refers to a method of applied decoration – often used in early sign making- which employs finely crushed glass or sand aggregate to the surface of a sign to add definition and character. The use of this technique began to appear as early as the 1870’s, though it had been employed by jewelers for many years prior in methods like cloisonne. This early 20th-century sign has that great smaltz surface treatment as well as some very unusual Greek lettering. Atlas, no doubt a throwback to mythology, was a printing company and this sign even retains the manufacturer name on the lower left (National Sign Co.). The pointed finger is a classic icon of early signage and the deep blue color contrasts beautifully with the white ground of the lettering.