The term drumhead refers to a type of removable sign that was prevalent on North American railroads of the first half of the 20th century. The sign was mounted at the rear of passenger trains, and consisted of a box with internal illumination that shone through a tinted panel bearing the logo of the railroad or specific train. Since the box and the sign were usually circular in shape and resembled small drums, they came to be known as drumheads.
A closeup of a drumhead used on the Gold Coast Limited of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad.
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