Carnation was founded by Elbridge Amos Stuart as an evaporated milk company in 1899. At the time before home refrigeration, there was a great demand for a sanitary milk. The development of evaporated (or condensed) milk allowed it to have a far longer shelf- and travel-life.
I've found two ghost signs from Carnation around the city:
- "Carnation Milk" at 4153 W. Madison Street in West Garfield Park. The building itself was built in 1911 and, given the evidence - the logo and the “Modern Milk” tagline - the sign dates from the 1920's. The sign is in great shape after 90 years; the building that used to stand next to it likely kept it protected from the elements.
- "Carnation Cream" can be seen on the side of the building at 1807 W. Division Street in the East Village. The sign is very faded compared to its West Side counterpart. It's likely a few decades older; Carnation Cream was very popular in the first decade of the 20th century and the building itself was built in 1879.
Carnation is still around today. In 1985, Nestlé purchased the company for $3 billion.