Back then, advertisements were placed on walls where passing motorists could see and comprehend the pitch in the few seconds of their passing. The brick wall became the prime urban outdoor advertising media.
Sign companies had "wall dogs" that climbed up ladders or sat on suspended scaffolding, with paint can and brush, to painstakingly create the sign design, emphasizing color and letter font.These ghost signs are faded reminders of the younger days of American advertising, where products were pitched for both the necessary (shoes, clothing, furniture) and the frivolous (potions “guaranteed” to cure any ailment).
The city of Chicago didn't charge for sign permits back then, and there were no restrictions for off-site advertising. A simpler time.