New Numbers

The house numbers that came with the place were never to my liking. They were brass that had oxidized from years of exposure, screwed onto a piece of varnished wood. The font was bad.

I always really liked the vintage number signs that were reverse painted on glass.

vintglassnum.jpgSometimes a person gets lucky on Ebay or Kijiji.

BUT – London city bylaw says that house numbers must be 12.7 cm tall. All the vintage glass house numbers were considerably smaller.

How they were made was quite primitive. The numbers were made with a crude stencil, and there was mirror, leaf or even textured foil in contrast to the black. I don’t know if the scalloped edge was done with glue chipping, or just a pair of pliers.

A long time ago I bought a bunch of thick bevelled glass panels, from french doors. The neighbour who was selling them had a late grandmother who was somewhat of a hoarder. How did she come to have dozens of bevelled glass panels but no french doors ? Did the doors rot away to nothing in her leaky garage so she saved the glass ? I will never know. Why I felt compelled to own them is another question.

I printed out numbers until I had ones that were the correct size. I forget where I learned this, but I oiled the paper to make it transparent. I taped the reversed numbers to the front of the glass and carefully painted the back (flat side) of the glass. I didn’t have One Shot Sign Painters Enamel – only plain old hardware store oil paint for metal, so I needed to do two or three coats to make it completely opaque. The nice thing was that any errors could be razored off once the paint was cured. I crumpled up aluminum foil until I was happy with the texture and  glued that to the painted areas with contact cement. I spray painted some mirror clips black, and hung up my new number sign, right under my light.

Despite this, cab drivers and delivery truck’s GPS routinely sends them to the far end of the block. This street is only one block long ! When I am waiting for a cab I now know to stand on my steps and frantically wave. The new postal carrier thought no one lived at my address. Why is my house is apparently invisible ?

number 36.jpeg





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