Branded, Part II: The Signalman

As part of the Reconstruction brand, we wanted to integrate unique and historically accurate visuals from the Reconstruction era into our designs, and almost nowhere is that more apparent than in the illustration that graces the front of our coffee packaging, the Signalman.

Railroad lines were the arteries that allowed the lifeblood of America to spread across the country in the 1800s, bringing food, supplies, and commerce to small towns nationwide. (Villa Ridge is no exception­–the town rose up around the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad station that used to stand just a few miles away from our roastery.)

Before electricity was laid along the tracks, it was the signalmen who kept the trains running safely along the rails. These men would station themselves on the siding, often high up in a tower, and when the train came through, they would lean out with a lit lantern in one hand, using the light to send signals to the conductor.

If the signalman raised the lantern straight up and down, it meant that the tracks were clear, and the train could roll on through at regular speed. If he swung the lantern back and forth over the tracks, it meant the train needed to stop. If he whirled the lantern like a windmill, making big circles in the air, that meant, “Hey, your train just came apart and some of the cars have broken loose, you should probably stop and get that fixed before half the train goes careening off the rails.” That one was pretty important.

And when the signalman held the lantern straight out to his side? That was the signal that said, “Slow down.”

The Reconstruction signalman is holding his lantern out to the side, reminding us that when we drink Reconstruction coffee, we should take a second to slow down, appreciate the brew in the cup, and enjoy the people and the world around us. We have places to go, and things to do…promises to keep, jobs to work, responsibilities to focus on, and we’re stretched in a million different directions. But for a few minutes, while we sip on a steaming mug of carefully brewed, freshly roasted Reconstruction coffee, we can take a breath, take our time, and slow our pace. Just for a moment. Just for a time. Just for a piece of the day that’s ours, for us, and for no one else.

We hope you’ll have the opportunity to take a few deep breaths every time you enjoy a cup of our coffee.

Oh, and if you look really closely, you’ll see that the flame inside Horace’s lantern is actually a coffee drop.

You’ve probably also noticed the medallion that our designer, Nathan, included beneath Horace’s lantern.  It says, “STOP AND RE____.” And you might look at that for the first time and think, “What’s that supposed to mean? Did they forget a few letters at the end?”

But as I mentioned in the last post, part of Nathan’s genius is that he understands our brand to its core, and nothing is done by accident. In this medallion, Horace is giving you the freedom to enjoy Reconstruction coffee however you need to, by inviting you to stop and reconnect…or stop and reset…or stop and rejuvenate…or stop and relax…or stop and reflect…

Whatever you need from your coffee ritual, that’s what we want to help you find in each and every cup of Reconstruction.

Speaking of Reconstruction, our work on the old church building is just about to get underway! We’ll post photos and videos of our work all summer long on Facebook and Instagram, so make sure you follow us there. And if you know anyone else in the area who might be interested in visiting our roastery and trying Reconstruction coffee when we open in the fall, let them know they can sign up for our email list to stay in touch!

Thank you, as always, for your support. In the next blog post from our “Branded” series, we’ll look at all the design elements that give a shout-out to our Missouri roots.

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