Battle Ax Plug Tobacco Ghost Sign – Steubenville, Ohio

Steubenville, Ohio, a city on the Ohio River and birthplace of Rat Pack legend Dean Martin, is known as the City of Murals. There are over 25 of them scattered about town. But what isn’t commonly highlighted when talking about wall art there is this fantastic Battle Ax Plug tobacco ghost sign.

a full blue wall battle ax plug tobacco ghost sign in steubenville ohio. Features the slogan A really big piece for 10 cents
2024 – Steubenville, Ohio

Battle Ax Plug – A Real Big Piece for 10 Cents

Apparently this sign was exposed in late 2013 following the demolition of the adjoining building, according to this article from the Herald-Star.

“I had never heard of that tobacco so I did an Internet search and found the same signs painted on the side of bills elsewhere in the country. It was called Battle Ax and its logo was a battle ax with the words ‘A great piece piece to chew for 10 cents.’ It is a piece of local advertising exposed to the public again. And it is kind of neat to see after all these years,” said Vukelic.

Herald-Star: Demolition Uncovers Battle Ax Tobacco Ad

Battle Ax Plug tobacco is a ghost sign brand that I have no real exposure to. Given the age of its popularity, that isn’t much of a surprise. Much of the paper or newspaper advertising I’ve found online is from the late 19th century. My only other experience seeing one of their advertisements was a smaller, much more faded sign in Pomeroy, Ohio in 2017.

It’s hard to find a comprehensive history of the brand online, though there are some nice advertising pieces from the late 1800’s available:

vintage battle ax plug tobacco newspaper advertising
Source: Ann Arbor District Library

There is something so spectacular about the turn of phrase “a peculiar excellence.” From here on out when someone asks me about myself, I’ll be responding that I have a peculiar excellence that can only be understood and appreciated by giving me a try. I’ll keep you posted on the results.


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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1 Response

  1. Lowell says:

    Hi Rachael, Another interesting article, and great research on this tobacco. You also mentioned the City of Murals in Steubenville, Ohio, I checked it out also. It reminded me of an ad I once saw in the RoadRUNNER magazine for Portsmouth, Ohio (page 77 in the October 2018 issue) where they promoted their “Come Visit Our World-Famous Flood Walls Murals” message, I thought how fun it would be to ride a motorcycle along the Portsmouth flood walls murals. Portsmouth brags they have 2,000 feet of 20’ high murals on their flood walls. See one of the three sites about these murals, or or

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