First erected in 1968, the original crab wheel sign was constructed with plywood and sheet metal that became weathered due to saltwater and rust damage. Seeking to extend the life of one of the city's most photographed landmarks, the Fisherman's Wharf CBD—in collaboration with the Port of San Francisco and the Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association—contracted GE Lighting and Oakland, Calif.-based Arrow Sign Company to redesign the wheel with durability and efficiency in mind.
"The crab wheel is an icon that is recognized by people around the world, so preserving its original appearance was very important to us," said Troy Campbell, executive director of Fisherman's Wharf CBD. "GE and Arrow Sign Company helped us modernize the structure without losing a prominent symbol of San Francisco."
The crab wheel was rebuilt using aluminum, polycarbonate and high-density foam materials, while the original wood handles lining its perimeter were kept intact. GE donated its Tetra® PowerStrip LED sign lighting to replace the traditional T12 fluorescent tube lighting previously used in the sign.
"We reviewed several contractor bids and one of the main factors to choose Arrow Sign Company was its use of GE products,” Campbell said. “We knew LED technology had the right long-lasting, energy-saving benefits for us, and we felt confident in the GE brand."
Results & Benefits
The new sign will consume 80 percent less energy for Fisherman's Wharf, with the LED lighting system using 676 total watts versus the 4,000 total watts used with the previous fluorescent lamp layout. Additionally, the switch to LED lighting means greater longevity for the sign's lighting system due to a rated fixture lifetime of 50,000 hours.
The move to GE's LED sign lighting will also mean reduced maintenance time and costs compared to previous upkeep needs.
"With its location in the heart of a large tourist area, service calls and permits to the crab wheel are difficult, expensive and inconvenient for visitors," Campbell noted. "We expect the sign's new LED lighting to significantly reduce our annual maintenance spend."
When illuminated, Campbell said the sign now has a “bright, even glow” and a “uniform, one-color appearance,” which he noted has already received positive tourist feedback.