Muffler Man

 

photo: © David Moenkhaus - all rights reserved 773 612-4166

© David Moenkhaus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gemini Giant – Launching Pad Restaurant icon 1999 – Route 66 in Illinois

 

If you’re a Route 66 fan, you’ve probably seen the Gemini Giant along the historic road in Wilmington, Illinois. 

If you don’t know what a Muffler Man is you can see more about them here at the Roadside America site where

the history and allure of the Muffler Man is explained in detail. It’s a great site where fans can share information about the large

fiberglass structures that used to dot the rural landscape of America, usually as advertising signage.

 

The first time I saw one was in Nebraska in 1993 and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I love photographing them and

the fun chart below is from the RoadsideAmerica.com website about the physical characteristics of the Muffler Man and where to find them.

 

MufflerManChartjpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I don’t usually slug whole sections of Wikipedia text into my posts – I like to be a little more creative than that!

But I’m short on time tonight

 

The history of the Muffler Man – according to Wikipedia:

 
“Boatbuilder Steve Dashew established International Fiberglass in 1963 by purchasing and renaming Bob Prewitt’s workshop, Prewitt Fiberglass. The oversized fibreglass men, women and dinosaurs began as a sideline.
The first of the figures, a Paul Bunyan holding an oversized axe to promote a restaurant, was created by Bob Prewitt in 1962 for the Paul Bunyan Café on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona.
As the fibreglass moulds for this initial figure existed when Dashew acquired the company, similar characters could be readily created by keeping the same basic characteristics (such as the right palm up, left palm down position in which the original Bunyan lumberjack figure held his axe) with minor variation. Various fibreglass moulds allowed different heads, limbs or torsos to be substituted to create multiple variant characters. Some would promote food, others automotive products. A fifteen-foot Amish man standing over a diner in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and a Uniroyal gal in a skirt or bikini were among the many variants.
Thousands of the oversize figures would be deployed in a little over a decade at a typical cost of $1000-$2800 each. Some would be customised as promotions of individual roadside businesses on the US Highway system. Many were created to advertise franchise and chain brands, such as the Enco and Humble tigers and the Philips Petroleum cowboys.A novelty fibreglass dinosaur figure was most often seen promoting Sinclair Oil stations, but also appeared at various miniature golf courses.”
photo: © David Moenkhaus - all rights reserved 773 612-4166

© David Moenkhaus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muffler Man with branding iron – Cody, WY 2000

16″ x 20″  ed. 10

 

from High Plains Artifacts

 

note: Since the normal Muffler Man has his right palm facing up and his left hand facing down, we must conclude that this Muffler Man in Cody that I photographed, was modified at some point in it’s history. Muffler Man nerd alert!

 

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