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The Kresky Journey

For more than 60 years, Kresky Signs has specialized in metal fabrication and screen printing. During this time, we have supplied graphics for fleet vehicles, as well as decals and aluminum signage to a nationwide base of customers. Kresky Signs was established in 1951 as a separate division of the Kresky Manufacturing Company to accommodate the growing success of its sign production services. In 1969, Kresky Manufacturing was sold to the Zero Manufacturing Company of Burbank, CA which moved the Kresky manufacturing operation to Southern California. The Kresky Signs division was subsequently incorporated as a separate entity in 1971 and remained in Petaluma where it continues to operate today.
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The Early Years

In the early 1900's, Jesse E. Kresky founded the Kresky Manufacturing Company in Petaluma, California. At that time, Petaluma was known as the "Egg Basket of the World" because it was a leading exporter of poultry products. Jesse Kresky's early interests in improving chicken incubating equipment, along with his conviction that oil heating was a viable source of safe, economical, and efficient heat, led to the creation and production of the Kresky Automatic Brooder Stove - an oil burning stove for incubating baby chickens. Improvements to the burner system eventually led to the design of the Kresky "Blue Wonder" burner which found many domestic uses such as converting wood and coal stoves, as well as for food cookers and boilers of various kinds. During World War I, the government promoted increased production of chickens and eggs for distribution overseas and Kresky Manufacturing found itself producing increasing numbers of incubator stoves. During the Prohibition Era, many "bootleggers" used Kresky oil burners because they generated minimal soot helping conceal the location of illegal stills.

In 1938, Jesse Kresky sold the company to Clarence A. Miller, who expanded the manufacturing operation to include home furnaces. That year, the firm began marketing an oil-fired floor furnace - the first to be marketed by any firm in the oil heating industry. World War II found Kresky Manufacturing busily producing oil burners for the government. Kresky oil burners were used extensively in naval vessels and in conditions where concealment was a necessity. During this time, Kresky Manufacturing won the Army/Navy "E" Award two times for its excellent performance in fulfilling government contracts. After a devastating fire in 1947 (which completely destroyed the production facility), Kresky Manufacturing rebuilt and doubled its plant to 100,000 square feet to meet the increasing demand of the home heater market. In the month directly after the fire, Kresky produced more heating units than at any other time in the company's history.

The Sign Company

In 1951, Kresky diversified its business when it pioneered the mass-production of metal signs for the regional market west of the Rocky Mountains. Prior to this time, processed metal signs had to be shipped to Western U.S. customers from companies east of the Rockies, a situation that proved to be very expensive and slow to meet western customer demands. By addressing the need of the Coca Cola Company of Atlanta, GA, Kresky became the first supplier of baked enamel metal signs in the Western United States, and Coca Cola became the first national advertiser to take advantage of freight savings to its western markets. Kresky Manufacturing capabilities transferred well into metal sign fabrication and Kresky soon began producing metal signs for the California State Highway Department, the National Safety Council, mine markers for the Army Corps of Engineers, and a variety of point-of-sale advertising signs for food and beverage companies.

Screen printing Coco Cola signs

Coca Cola bottle cap signs drying

Finishing work on Coca Cola signs

It wasn't long before Kresky's baked enamel signs were also being used for fleet vehicle identification. By the early 1960's, Kresky Signs had begun utilizing 3M Scotchcal and 3M Scotchlite decal materials in addition to producing baked enamel signs. This shift in substrate material led to the introduction of steel-rule die cut numbers for fleet identification and a variety of customized vinyl decal products. The increased versatility sparked even greater exposure to the trucking industry and Kresky was soon providing decals and signage for truck fleets across the United States.

In the early 1970's, the U.S. Department of Transportation introduced Hazardous Material Transportation regulations for the trucking industry and Kresky Signs responded with the introduction of the Kresky Flip-page Hazardous Materials Placard Book. Kresky Signs' manufacturing capabilities and experience in baked enamel screenprinting was well suited for this endeavor. With the processing of aluminum sheets, Kresky also began producing its unique placard design to satisfy the placard requirements of its fleet customers.

The 1980’s brought further expansion in Kresky Signs with the addition of thermal die cutting services for increased production versatility in its vinyl decal products. Thermal die cutting allowed the production of pre-spaced cut-to-shape vinyl decals that could easily be applied to vehicle surfaces and other substrates. This led to further strengthening of the vinyl decal business and a closer association with the 3M Commercial Graphics Division. By the middle of the 1980’s, Kresky Signs was strictly a 3M Graphic Products converter, offering the 3M Matched Component System (MCS) Warranty for its vinyl decal business.

Even with the advances in Kresky Signs’ vinyl screen-printing capabilities, the baked-enamel screen-printing continued to provide the basis for the Flip-Book Placard program. Improvements in screen-printing enamels were also taking place and Kresky Signs refined its baked-enamel production to maximize these enhancements. The Kresky Placard Book had always been the “heavy-duty” placard in the industry. With minor changes in placard design, and a continual eye toward the ever-changing Hazardous Materials Regulations instituted by the Department of Transportation, Kresky began offering a light-weight version of its flip-page book to directly compete with other placard book manufacturers. Also, as transportation regulations changed, custom placard books with a choice of legends became a standard offering. Today, Kresky Signs provides Placards Systems for a large number of fleet vehicle customers nationwide as well as for the Department of Defense.

In 1990, Kresky Signs became one of the first screen-printing companies in the nation to completely convert to 3M Ultraviolet screen-printing inks for its vinyl decal production. With the purchase of two Union Carbide Ultraviolet/Nitrogen Curing Units, Kresky eliminated most of its solvent based ink usage and incorporated the newly developed 3M Ultraviolet screen-printing ink line for all of its vinyl decal work. Not only did this remove much of the solvent usage from the production floor, but the nitrogen cured ultra violet inks were significantly more durable than their predecessors and are considered to be the best decal marking system available in the industry.

Computers made their mark in Kresky Signs starting in the early 1990’s. With the purchase of a computer cutting CAD system, Kresky moved into the prototype and small-run decal markets, obtaining the capability to produce cut-to-shape vinyl decals inexpensively and in small quantities. This advance opened up areas of CAD design as well and gave Kresky more versatility in concept development as well as a cost effective means of producing prototypes and specialty graphics. Computer design programs substantially reduced the speed with which new design concepts could be developed and implemented allowing customers to more efficiently communicate their design ideas to the Kresky design team.

In the spring of 1992, Consolidated Freightways (CF) Marketing in Portland, Oregon, contacted Kresky Signs about creating custom decal wraps for a big rig (tractor/trailer combination) that would tour the country and appear at trade shows. The project would be known as "CF One" and would feature photographs of employees from the various CF Service Centers across the United States. The vehicle would be a "tribute to CF employees" to acknowledge their vital role in the success of the company. As Kresky Signs was the exclusive sign and decal fabricator for Consolidated Freightways (see CF historical photos showing all Kresky markings), Kresky gladly donated its services to help bring this project to fruition.

for the CF big rig project, Kresky utilized a newly developed high-resolution digital printing technology that was just starting to appear in the decal industry. The new technology allowed affordable reproduction of photographic images on vinyl decal material specifically for small production runs. CF Marketing provided Kresky with high-resolution photo-layouts of the employee images they wanted to appear on the rig. Kresky contacted ALD Decal, one of the first large decal houses to produce 3M Scotchprint digitally-printed vinyl decals, to produce the images. Once the decals were printed, the installation of the graphics was completed at the CF Service Center in Fontana, CA under the direction of Kresky Signs and CF Marketing. The "CF One" tractor trailer combo was in service for a number of years, during which time Kresky Signs again stepped up to the plate by donating replacement decals and new images to the design layout as provided by CF Marketing. The project was extremely well-received by CF employees and was a notable advertising presence as the vehicle toured the country.

The New Millennium - Expanded Offerings

With the arrival of the new millennium, Kresky Signs continued to expand its design and production capability and customer base. The addition of a state-of the-art computer cutting system significantly increased Kresky's production capabilities. The use of nitrogen cured ultraviolet inks have continued to be standard operating procedure resulting in making Kresky Signs one of the largest 3M Graphic Products Converters in the western United States. The increasing demand for the Kresky Hazardous Materials Flip-Page Placard Books has resulted in its expanded distribution throughout the country.

The Kresky commitment to top quality production standards and use of only the finest materials has given Kresky Signs a reputation of unparalleled excellence throughout the signage industry. Kresky Signs continues to be one of the top placard manufacturers in the United States, as well as a major producer of signs for other industries including security, transportation, and retail businesses (see examples below).

Security sign

Exterior building sign

Business window decal

Vehicle wrap

Monument sign

Wall display decals

Retail window signage

Counter displays

The Kresky Crew

429 First St., Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone: (707) 762-4554 Toll fee: 1 800 9 KRESKY Fax: (707) 762-7031
Copyright © 2009 Kresky Signs, Inc. All rights reserved.

Last Updated: 4/12/17