In Colonial America, signs were the primary way for shopkeepers and tradespeople to identify their businesses. Many people could not read, so pictures and symbols were important means of communication. This tradition of using signs and pictures to "advertise" has continued today.

Select three of the trades listed below. Research these trades using the links provided. Use the worksheet provided by your teacher to fill in the information required. Once you have completed the worksheet, create a sign representing one of the trades you researched. Your sign should tell your customers what your shop has to offer. It should be simple, but appealing, and easily remembered by your customers. And remember that it must be easy to read from a distance. Click here for some samples.

    Apothecary Basketmaker Blacksmith
  Brickmaker Cabinetmaker Carpenter
     Cooper Founder Gunsmith
    Miller Milliner Printer & Binder
    Saddler Shoemaker Silversmith
    Wheelwright Wigmaker  

Use the links below to research the trades you have chosen:

Colonial Almanack: Trades (full descriptions)                    Summary of Trades


Online Research Tools
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

When you have finished your research, you may explore some of the links and activities below:

Colonial Clothing - read about the clothing worn and then play an interactive game

Recipes from Colonial Days

Meet the People at Colonial Williamsburg



Created by Linda Brandon

© Lakeland Central School District
Shrub Oak, NY 10588