If you went on car trips in the 1950s, you may recall them. More than 40,000 small signs promoted a brand of shaving cream along America's roads. It was Allan Odell's idea.
Allan was the son of Burma-Shave founder Clinton Odell. Allan's job was to promote the brushless shaving cream. He started by placing a series of signs every 100 feet along a road near Minneapolis in 1925. The cars' occupants would see the message one sign at a time as they sped past. The first signs didn't rhyme.
But soon, 600 rhymes and many more signs were delighting drivers across the nation. A typical sign sequence read: "This cream/ makes the gardener's daughter/ plant her tu-lips/ where she oughter./ Burma-Shave." A car traveling 35 m.p.h. would pass the message in 18 seconds or so.
In 1963, faster cars, bigger billboards, and more competition forced the sale of Burma-Shave. Today the right to the name belongs to the American Safety Razor Co., which is still investigating what to do with the brand.
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