Vice President of Product Support & Marketing
Tractor & Equipment Company
May 20, 2013
The centerpiece of all the displays at TEC's 70th anniversary event was a mammoth-size, neon-tube International sign that has been in restoration for seven months at Tractor & Equipment Company. The sign measures approximately 20' x 14', with all-new, hand-blown neon tubes. Originally from North Carolina Equipment Company, the sign was in rough shape when TEC purchased it. It went straight into restoration at the TEC shopin Birmingham and is about 90-percent completed.
North Carolina Equipment Company had two of these unique signs built for them in 1947; this one came from its Greensboro, N.C. branch. Tim Tipton, TEC Vice President of Product Support Marketing, spearheaded the restoration project. He estimated between 800 and 1,000 man hours have been poured into the steel and porcelain sign so far. “The original sign was covered over in yellow paint, which we stripped away and took down to the original porcelain finish. The interior steel frame that holds the sign together required extensive refabricating and rewelding. We paid careful attention to maintaining as much of the original sign substructure as possible.”
Tipton went on to say that Tate McNees in the TEC aftermarket department was a big help on the project.”If it weren’t for Tate, this wouldn’t have happened. He was responsible for outsourcing the hard-to-find componentry for the restoration and lining up the new neon tubing, as well as powder coating andpainting. He also worked with a tin fabricator to design each piece that needed replacement and ensure they exactly matched the original sign. He located old replacement glass and other parts, and made sure the wiring was the same as the original and the animations were correctly done.”
Tipton also gave accolades to welders Steve Faulkner and Todd Phillips. “Those two gentlemen stayed on this project for several months and put a great deal of welding and engineering work into this restoration. There were so many aspects to this project, but we had a great time doing it. Next year, we plan on completing it and lighting the other side.”
Check out the video recap of the full restoration project here: