Now your English Mistakes are History – Smith Corona Word processor, 1988

As I sit here typing away on my computer that automatically corrects my spelling and transmits whatever I write to the four people who pay attention to this blog, I’m reminded that there was a day not so long ago when one was responsible for ones own mistakes. Thanks be that those days are gone.

From Classic Ads – Misc

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The nation’s standard of delicious soup! 1933 Campbell’s Soup

Campbell’s has been around for almost 150 years and in that time lots has remained the same but flavors come and flavors go. This ad from 1933 features such taste treats as:

  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Mock Turtle
  • Mulligatawny
  • Mutton
  • Ox Tail

Not exactly flavors you’d expect to sell well in this day and age.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

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1954 Motorola Portable Radios

The most notable thing about this ad is that its focus is clearly on the colors in which they’re available: dove Gray, Leaf Green, Cherry Red, Mocha, Clover Pink, Azure Blue, Black, Grass Green, Middy Blue, Flame, Hot Chocolate and Maroon.

Digging deep into the fine print we find technical features but on the surface, it’s all about exterior aesthetics.

From Classic Ads – Music Equipment

Looking past the rainbow, these units boast “instant warm-up” (when’s the last time you waited for any electrical appliance to “warm up”?) and instant switch from AC to DC. Two things that have passed entirely from our collective consumer consciousness.

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Maxwell House Coffee – December 30, 1933

When I first saw this advert, the thing that occurred to me most strongly was that the ad featured Alan Hale, the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

That was until I realized that the ad was printed when Alan was only 12. It’s funny how little people have changed over the decades. It’s not Alan, it’s Captain Henry, Charles Winninger from the Maxwell House Show Boat! Check it out on the NBC Thursday Night Coast-to-Coast Hookup! Just tune your radio dial to 1933.

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March 1980 – Dungeons and Dragons

Nowadays, midst of such travesties as Twilight and Harry Potter we’re used to seeing hints of the mystic but there was a day, not so long ago when all we had was Dungeons and Dragons. Not even the advanced edition, just the vanilla offering from TSR complete with kobolds with only half a hit-die. If you’ve ever rolled a natural 2o then you remember these halcyon days.

From Classic Ads – Books

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Smart Set, Stories from Life – December 1927

Yesterday we looked at The Literary Digest from 1911 in all its affluent glory. Today we look at Smart Set Magazine from the 20s. The two audiences couldn’t possibly more different. Smart Set is just the sort of magazine that one of our 20s Flappers would sit down to read between flaps. Most of the content is vacuous romance drivel and the ads seem to focus fairly firm on makeup.

Usually I don’t bother with the covers since they’re not really advertising but this one struck me very firmly about the eyeballs. She makes quite a fitting icon for the times.

From Classic Ads – Misc

The majority of ads were for makeup and various accessories related to it. On the back of the front cover we find Norida powder cases. Who would have thought such a thing existed and deserved such a prominent spot in the zine?

From Classic Ads – Misc

There are a few familiar names. Irene Rich (yes, THAT Irene Rich) uses Maybelline. Never heard of that Maybelline stuff but Irene Rich… WOW!

From Classic Ads – Misc

Tangee Beauty Aids offered a wide range of women’s make-up goop stuff. You can tell how attuned I am to this particular line of marketing.

From Classic Ads – Misc

And Kissproof seems fairly suggestive of potential not-really-related-to-makeup activities though the woman in the picture looks like she might just be wielding a knife.

From Classic Ads – Misc

When our flapper friends weren’t making themselves up for a night out, they were having a smoke behind the barn. They’re better because they’re toasted! We haven’t yet gotten to the Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco era.

From Classic Ads – Misc

I do notice too that retailers are practically jumping out of their skins to hand out credit to customers. Send only $1! Take a year to pay whether you want fine jewelry…

From Classic Ads – Misc

…or a Buxkin Velour Mandell Fur coat!

From Classic Ads – Clothing

Lastly, we know that any Flapper worth her salt can dance up a small storm. Since you can’t dance without music, we bring you the Mello-Phonic Console Phonograph. You’ll have to draw lots though to see who gets stuck with the job of winding it up.

From Classic Ads – Music Equipment

If you prefer your grinding without the winding, check out the All-Electric Radio. This beasty would cost you the equivalent of $700 back in the day.

From Classic Ads – Music Equipment

Oh, but wait. I found this last little advert just hanging tenaciously on by a thread. Even flappers, it seems, suffered at times from irregularity. Luckily though there’s Feen-a-Mint.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

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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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