Iconic, 100-year-old ‘Trenton Makes’ bridge sign slated for upgrade

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Photo: Ottseetotsee, WikimediaPhoto: Ottseetotsee, Wikimedia

Work is scheduled to begin this month on repairing the famous 100-year-old sign on the Lower Trenton Bridge in Trenton, New Jersey, according to NJ.com.

On the side of the steel-truss bridge is the slogan “Trent Makes The World Takes.”

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, which had originally planned to do the work in the fall, said the project is needed as the bridge’s neon components and electrical supply system continue to break down and need replacement. The commission says it will upgrade the lighting system with LED lights that will change colors. It decided to do the work as part of the bridge sign’s 100th anniversary.

Photo: Famartin, WikimediaPhoto: Famartin, Wikimedia

The letters stand 9 feet, 6 inches tall. They will be cleaned and painted with color-changing LED strip lighting, and new electrical supply components will be installed, the commission says. The upgraded sign will last longer, be more reliable and energy efficient.

The phrase originated in 1910 through a contest by the Trenton Chamber of Commerce. Roy Heath, a lumberyard owner who became a state senator, won the $25 prize for the slogan, “The World Takes, Trenton Makes,” which was later rearranged to the current phrase. In 1917, the lighted sign went up on an iron bridge that was replaced in 1928 with the Lower Trenton Bridge, according to the commission. The slogan went into hibernation when the new bridge was built, not to return until 1935. The commission says the sign has been replaced or significantly changed six times over the years.