original and intact early 20th century flush mount interior new york city underground subway station “do not lean over edge of platform” warning or cautionary sign advising against leaning over the edge of the platform (especially when the subway is rapidly approaching). the early new york city subway sign is attributed to the nelke veribrite signs, new york city, ny . the single-sided subway sign is comprised of heavy gauge rolled iron with largely intact bold white lettering against a dark cobalt blue porcelain enameled finish. manufactured for the interborough rapid transit company around 1915-20. a multitude of closely spaced steel grommets are found along the sign edges. the grommets provide an even pressure on the ceramic and buffer it from screw or rivet damage. surface wear and minor porcelain loss evident. the interborough rapid transit company (irt) was the private operator of the original underground new york city subway line that opened in 1904, as well as earlier elevated railways and additional rapid transit lines in new york city. the irt was purchased by the city in june 1940. the first irt subway ran between city hall and 145th street at broadway, opening on october 27, 1904. founded on may 6, 1902, by august belmont, jr., the irt’s mission was to operate new york city’s initial underground rapid transit system after belmont’s and john b. mcdonald’s rapid transit construction company was awarded the rights to build the railway line in 1900, outbidding andrew onderdonk. the irt ceased to function as a privately-held company on june 12, 1940, when its properties and operations were acquired by the city of new york. the first signs in the new york city subway system were created by heins & lafarge, architects of the irt. in 1904 they established the now-familiar tradition of mosaic station names on platform walls. the name tablets were composed of small tiles in both serif and sans serif roman capitals. the brt/bmt followed suit under squire j. vickers, who took over the architectural duties in 1908. neither line had a uniform lettering style even though the designs were prepared in studio and then shipped in sections to the stations. thus, there is a surprising amount of variety within the mosaic station names. smaller directional signs with arrows indicating exits from each station were also made in mosaic tile in both serif and sans serif roman capitals. vickers simplified the decorative borders surrounding the name tablets but did not alter the lettering styles of either the irt or the bmt. heins & lafarge also hung large, illuminated porcelain-enamel signs over the express platforms, using black type [(actually hand-lettering) on a white background and painted station names on the round cast-iron columns. the latter were replaced in 1918 when vickers commissioned enamel signs from both nelke signs (later nelke veribrite signs) and the baltimore enamel company. the two companies continued to make enamel signs throughout the 1930's, placing them on girder columns as well as cast-iron ones. vickers goal was to make it easier for riders to quickly recognize their stop upon entering a station. measures 38 1/2 x 8 inches.