Paul Darmafall, known as the Glassman or Baltimore Glassman, was born and raised in West Virginia. He left school to work in the coalmines after completing the 8th grade. After serving as a gunner in the US Navy during WWII, he moved to Baltimore, where he married and raised a family. In 1953 he received a head injury in an automobile accident and began to suffer from memory loss and chronic schizophrenia, for which he was frequently hospitalized. Beginning around the 1970s, he began to gather discarded materials he found on the streets of Baltimore to create signs that communicated his unique, eccentric ideas about such things as the dangers of electricity, the importance of self-sufficiency, and the benefits of fresh air. Glassman didn't consider his signs art. He would hang them on street poles and fences, wherever people might see them, but eventually he allowed them to be sold. Declining health forced him to stop working in 2001, and he died October 26, 2003 at the age of 78 following a heart attack.