The nostalgic flap signs that once filled Penn Station and train stations around the world are now being brought back by a Philadelphia-based company, Oat Foundry. Specializing in “cool,” unique products for brands and businesses, the engineering design company is redesigning split flap signs for the 21st century.
How a Split Flap Helped Reading Terminal Market Reconnect with its Past
A Historic Philadelphia Market
In 1889, the Reading Company, owners of the Reading Railroad, decided to build a passenger station at 12th & Market in Philadelphia. The location was occupied by an open market that had been in operation since 1853.
After many hours of hard negotiations, the Reading Company agreed to purchase the market for $1,000,000 and move it to a new location, 12th & Filbert Street. Four years later, the Reading Terminal Station officially opened.
Reading Terminal handled its last train on Nov 6th, 1984. Four days later, the final track connections were made to the Septa connection tunnel, officially replacing Reading Terminal with the Market East Station, or Jefferson station as we know it today.
Of all the glorious things to rise from the 1889 deal, only one remains to this day, the Reading Terminal Market.
“12th & Market Streets, (1892), HAER”
The Market Today
In the 1990’s a nonprofit was formed to preserve and manage the Reading Terminal Market. The management team has done a phenomenal job of maintaining the old-timey feel and high quality of the market over the years.
Now, over 100 stalls make up a strong community of market vendors. Some vendors, such as Dinic’s roast pork, have been serving guests for nearly 75 years.
An Opportunity to Connect Past and Present
When asked, Oat Foundry was honored to provide a nostalgic item for the historic market to enjoy during the holiday season. Our team installed a modern 6×32 Split Flap display that is an exact replica of the Split Flaps commonly found in train stations throughout the 1900’s.
Instead of flipping through train arrival and departure times, the Split Flap displays fun and helpful information about Reading Terminal Market.
A Welcomed Attraction
As guests enter the main seating area, the Split Flap can be heard flipping through holiday messages. The display acts as a welcomed attraction for guests wondering what is making such an interesting sound.
After investigating the noise, guests often stop by the sign to read messages as the sign flips through them.
For guests visiting the market, the Split Flap has become a focal point to share with friends on social media. Across Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat can be found images and videos guests have captured of the Split Flap during their visit.
The Oat Foundry team was delighted to provide an attraction that can connect with any visitor, from the first time tourist to the local shopper. The Split Flap display has helped the management team provide its guests with an audible experience through the market’s rich history.
The Split Flap will remain in Reading Terminal Market until an undetermined date. Until that time, it will continue to delight guests young and old.