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‘Sputnik’ flashing ball from Route 66 motel to be preserved

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Springfield, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ A “Sputnik”-style advertising ball from the heyday of Route 66 will be preserved in a Springfield museum.

Ace Sign Co. installed the blinking satellite at the former Bel-Aire Motel along the fabled highway in the early 1960s.

The Springfield motel will be razed. Its owners donated the Sputnik to Ace for its museum.

The fiberglass balls _ on the higher end, they rotated _ were popular marketing tools in the days after the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of the first satellite, Sputnik 1.

Ace president Dennis Bringuet (brihn-GHET’) says the Bel-Aire ball has antique wiring and its obsolete flasher mechanism will pose a challenge for company technicians.

Bringuet’s grandparents _ Franklin and Alvina Horn _ started Ace in 1940.

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Online: Ace Sign Co. museum