Monthly Archives: February 2012

1919 Simplex Ironer – Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift…?

This 1919 ad for a rather large household device to do the ironing touts itself as a “never-to-be-forgotten gift”.  I can say without fear of contradiction that that’s exactly true.  She’ll remember it and you’ll remember the beating that she’ll lay on you after you give it to her.


1919 Simplex Ironer - You're sure to get a beating.

1919 Simplex Ironer - You're sure to get a beating.

What sort of culture made it appropriate to gift such things? Or perhaps advertisers were just duping the male populous into such misinformed gift giving. Woe to the man that listens. He’s likely to find himself doing his own ironing for a while.



Filed under Household

Before there was Bud-Weis-er…. 1981 Budweiser

Before there were talking frogs, there were pull-tab cans. The current slogan of “this bud’s for you” appears in the newspaper on the right-hand side of the street.

1981 Budweiser

1981 Budweiser

Except for the obsolete can-opening mechanism the ad is fairly unremarkable except for the reaction of the gentleman in the foreground. His lady friend is leading him across the street but he’s become distracted by the giant beer in the sky. She clearly couldn’t care less but he is enthralled. Is the advertising trying to tell us that beer is more important than a relationship with a woman in a blue velour dress? Well, maybe. Well… velour? Very probably.


Filed under alcoholic, Drinks

The Pause the Refreshes while Shopping – 1936 Coca Cola

There’s certainly no fear of gender stereotypes here. These gals are decked out in the absolute latest fashions as they’re out shopping in fur coat and jaunty cap.  Luckily for these thirsty shoppers Coke is available “just around the corner from anywhere” for just five cents!

1936 Coca Cola

1936 Coca Cola

And when you get home, Ray Noble and his orchestra play “the kind of music that youthful people go for” at 9:30 eastern on the Columbia Network. When’s the last time you saw a print ad for a radio program? That Ray Noble is really decked out to the nines. With that little baton you can bet that they’re going to be playing some real swingin’ tunes!


Filed under Coca-Cola

1920s Kodak 2c Jr

As much as I love modern photography equipment in all its technological greatness, I still think it would be rather cool to carry about a camera with a bellows.

1920s Kodak 2c Jr

1920s Kodak 2c Jr

This sucker would have run you between $12 and $19. That’s $129 if you account for inflation which isn’t a bad deal.


Filed under photography

Her First Telephone Call – 1937 Bell Telephone System

So I grew up in the 70s and to me, for whatever reason, the telephone was something that adults used. Long distance had an exorbitant cost and phones had cords. It was just… very, very different.

In this advert from 1937 it’s evident that the phone is still an item used for business and business only. Betty Sue is making her first call today and “the telephone may some day become commonplace.” My how times have changed. Kids not only consider the phone commonplace but many have their own numbers. Also, check out the size of that receiver. You could bludgeon a polar bear with that thing.

First Phone Call

First Phone Call

What’s your history with the phone? Was your first phone call a significant day in your life?


Filed under technology

When Bigger Meant Better – 1914 Hamburg American Cruise Lines

Just a few years after a rather unpleasant occurrence with an unsinkable ship, we find the cruise line industry is still going strong. The Vaterland would find itself seized by the Americans at the commencement of World War I and put to service in the U.S. Navy.

From Classic Ads – Travel

Note the text offers a 135-day cruise for $900. That would be $19,000 in today’s dollars. Pretty sure I don’t have that sort of money laying about but if you all just donate $20 I’ll promise to write to you every day.

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Filed under travel