Category Archives: Automobiles

The Literary Digest – December 30, 1911

Yesterday when we visited Popular Science in the 1970s, we found our magazine’s audience to be handy and practical people. Today we visit the Literary Digest over a century ago and the readers of this little publication have a lot of money to spread around. So let’s see what the richest or the rich were doing with their money in 1911. Cover price for this mag: 10 cents. That’s a modest $2.30 adjusted for inflation.

The cruise industry was alive and well. You could take a 78-day cruise for $325.

From Classic Ads – Travel

Not feeling like cruising? How about the train or perhaps a trip to Cube, “A winter paradise”

From Classic Ads – Travel

For those days when you’re not feeling up to traveling, there are plenty of miracle medicines to save the day including Sanatogen. 15,000 physicians approve, after all.

From Classic Ads – Misc

How did our affluent readers make all their money? Manhattan real estate and 5% Municipal bonds, of course!

From Classic Ads – Misc
From Classic Ads – Misc

This was a time much different than today. When’s the last time you bought a book that advertised its weight let alone one that was 13 pounds?

From Classic Ads – Books

When they weren’t investing or reading their really heavy books there was much luxurious food! This Cream of Wheat ad today would get someone firebut I post it here as a relic of an archaic value system that made this sort of thing not only acceptable but a good advertising tool.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

Prefer your cereal cold rather than warm? Post Toasties…

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

…go well with a bit of sugar.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

And the immortal Chiclet has been around literally forever.  For sale at the “better sort of stores” the ad croons.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

Lastly, the rich wouldn’t be the rich without a car or four.  The Cadillac auto is a car for “discriminating motorists, those to whom price is only a minor consideration.”

From Classic Ads – Automotive
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Filed under Automobiles, Books, Food and Drink, travel

Popular Science – June 1971

Greetings!  Today’s blast from the past comes to us courtesy of Popular Science in the early 70s.  It’s interesting to me to see what the ads in a publication say about the people who read it.  In this case, it’s clear that the subscribers are all of the male gender. Very male. Almost impossibly male. And they like to smoke and drink beer and drive stuff. And do things! Manly things!

As a general rule, I don’t post ads for cigarettes but this one really struck my eye. For the man who likes to smoke and doesn’t mind an 8-step process to put his smokes together I give you Laredo filter blend. It comes with a handy plastic cigarette-making machine and the pricing works out to about $.20 per pack. That’s about $1 in today’s money adjusted for inflation.

From Classic Ads – Misc

What continues to strike me about Jeep ads even from ages ago is that they haven’t changed one iota. Not a bit. This one is blasted 40 years old and it reads like an ad from today. It’s a vehicle with guts and with the same ad guys it had in the 70s.

From Classic Ads – Automotive

PopSci was also rife with ads for career improvement. Apparently readers fancied themselves clever enough to move up in the world but they just lacked the training. La Salle Extension university offers everything from a High School diploma to diesel mechanics all from the comfort of your home. I’m amused that they have -one- class in computer programming and it’s just ‘basic training.’ The gals get a separate set of options all the way to the right. No female diesel mechanics in these days, I guess. They could be accountants or dental assistants or secretaries.

From Classic Ads – Misc

Not looking to be an accountant or clean teeth? How about the Cleveland Institute of Electronics? Tell off your boss today! Learn how in handy comic-book form!

From Classic Ads – Misc

Circuits not your cup of tea? Well heck. Just join the Army. There’s just no satisfying some people!

From Classic Ads – Misc

Switching gears dramatically, the car ads of course made themselves known as they always do. Those readers who already have a job will need a way to get there. Why not try the Ford Pinto? It boasts 25 mpg and a 75 HP motor. Based on the ad text it’s really trying to compete with the VW bug to which it compares itself and based on the ad photo a half-eaten apple is better than a bug any day.

From Classic Ads – Automotive

Forget the Pinto though, you should hear what they’re saying about the Chevy Vega!

From Classic Ads – Automotive

Feeling like a car is too much responsibility? How about the Yamaha 650 XS-1B?

From Classic Ads – Automotive

Is even a motorcycle too much responsibility? Prefer to motor manfully over the snow or sand dunes rather than the city streets? Try the Honda All-Terrain Cycle. Sure it looks like something Bozo the Clown would ride but that’s OK. It takes on those sand dunes like a champ and doesn’t require a driver’s license in the event you somehow got enough DUIs to lose it back in 1971.

From Classic Ads – Automotive

And when you’re done finding a job and driving around all day has left you thirsty, kick back and relax with a Schlitz. Because nothing tastes more like Schlitz than a Schlitz.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

And remember when you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer.  And you’re probably tan, and on a fishing boat.

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Filed under alcoholic, Automobiles, Drinks

Sports Illustrated – September 27, 1954

Greetings! As a possibly permanent change of pace, I’ve decided to take a single issue of a periodical of the dim and misty past and have at it all in one go. Today’s lucky target of nostalgia is the September 27th 1954 edition of Sports Illustrated. That was the first year for this noble magazine veteran and this was lucky issue #7. Let’s dive in and look at the interesting part, the adverts, and ignore all that pesky content about sports!

It’s easy in today’s bare-headed culture to forget that 50 years ago hats were pretty damn important and a part of every smart-looking young man’s wardrobe. This smart green Black Forest hat has a band as wide as a weasel’s face. No doubt that was the height of fashion at the time. These suckers top out at $20 in 1954. Accounting for inflation that’s a $150 hat! That’s one salty weasel-band hat!

From Classic Ads – Clothing

This ad admonishes us to ask for genuine G.E. tubes the next time we have our televisions repaired. Do they even HAVE TV repairmen anymore? Regardless, if they do then I hope they use G.E. tubes. They really put a wallop in your tired TV picture. When’s the last time you walloped something?

From Classic Ads – Communications

These people are obviously of the monied class so of course they arrived at this fancy dinner in a Cadillac. You’d have to have a lot of money to drive a car the size of a commercial fishing vessel. Bubba-Gump’s shrimpin’ boat was smaller than this car. Her jewels by Van Cleef and Arpela. Wrap by Anthony Biotta. Car by Cadillac. All 22 feet of it.

From Classic Ads – Automotive

Old Spice – For Men. As if you had to make THAT clear. Any woman who would consider wearing Old Spice probably drives a shrimpin’ boat and gives not a whit of a care about how she smells.

From Classic Ads – Personal Grooming

Ending on a supremely manly note, Early Times is every ounce a Man’s Whisky. These people know about horses so they must know about good whisky, right? Though one must admit that with that rather pallid yellow color one can’t help but wonder if the whisky doesn’t start out as a byproduct of the horse…

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

And that’s what advertising was like in 1954. Anybody wanting a 1954 copy of SI can have it at cost now that I’m done with it.

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Filed under alcoholic, Automobiles, Clothing

1915 Overland Six – A Big Six at a Small Price

I’ve flipped through enough old publications that I have learned to look forward with great anticipation to the centerfold. These big, flashy ads are almost always stunning.

At $1475 ($31,300 if you adjust for inflation), the Overland was a pretty pricy item for its day. But that bought you a 45 horsepower motor. That’s about a third of the average passenger car today.

1915 Overland Six

1915 Overland Six (Click for detail)

Interesting too to note the mode of dress of the people involved. The women dressed dark and plain with the only color coming from the small girl in the middle. The car seats seven, though I can’t speak for how comfortable anyone would have been.

One thing that I absolutely adore about WordPress is that I can throw out a rather half-hearted entry like the one above and somebody will come along within 10 minutes and ask a great question that forces me to actually THINK about what I just posted. Doug Payne asked: “Have an opinion on the significance of the color in the ad?” It seemed a good enough question that I thought it worth putting my random speculation into the body of the post.

You ask a great question that I hadn’t thought about (I’ll admit that my theme on this blog is consistent but my level of analysis really isn’t.)

If I had to guess…. I’ve looked at a LOT Of auto ads from this time period and the reason I hadn’t bothered to scan more is that they’re all really REALLY similar. There just isn’t the variety of designs that we enjoy today and the only thing to differentiate between them is the stats and the price point. So the color, I would speculate, draws attention to the only two things that would really matter to the affluent reader of this magazine. (The Literary Digest is aimed at a much more affluent crowd) It’s cheaper and bigger than the competition. The other colors are kept muted so help draw attention to the aforementioned items. Our central focal point is the girl in the middle in red and she’s clearly portrayed as having a grand time. But that’s just my speculation on the topic. I’d love to hear others!

Thanks, Doug!

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Baker Electric Automobiles – 1911

In today’s world we’re impressed with automobile innovations like the Chevy Volt and hybrids but it’s easy to forget that we actually already DID the whole electric vehicle thing as evidenced by this ad from 1911 that sings the praises of the Shaft-Driven Baker Electric Motor-Vehicle. The “long distance” referred to in the ad was, in fact, 50 miles.

1911 Baker Electric Vehicles

1911 Baker Electric Vehicles

The Baker Electric price topped out at $2,800, which is $36,000 when you adjust for inflation. The company merged with Rauch and Lang in 1914 and the last Baker vehicles left the assembly lines in 1916.

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Announcing Three New Studebakers for 1942!

“Studebaker is building an unlimited quantity of airplane engines, military trucks and other materiel for national defense,” touts the ad.  Unlimited?  With productivity like that we should have won the war in three months.  And dig that thrilling “Skyway Styling”!

 

1942 Studebakers

1942 Studebakers

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Filed under Studebaker

1937 Lincoln Zephyr V-12

The Zephry V-12 is a revolutionary vehicle! Owners consistently report getting 14-18 miles to the gallon!

1937 Lincoln Zephyr

1937 Lincoln Zephyr

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Filed under Automobiles, Lincoln