Tag Archives: 1910s

Gilbert Radium Dial Clocks – 1919

I suspect that many of you may have been saying to yourselves over the past few ads, “But what does one DO with such a thing you happen to have a paper copy?” I, for one, have found them to be wonderful gifts to give at random to whoever you happen to have in your vicinity. From all the aching and swollen belly of history there is so much to choose from that you can tune your gift to a razor point and not only entertain but represent well the person receiving it. So in this spirit, I give you my personal favorite gift given.

It wasn’t so long ago that the radium clock was all the rage. Give the Gilbert Radium Dial clock and slowly irradiate all your family and friends!  I produced this bit o’ art in 2009.  I title it simply, “Folly”

Gilbert Radium Clocks - 1919

Gilbert Radium Clocks - 1919 (Click to view the original and zoom to see all the fiddlybits)

The background collage for this piece is a collection of all the most grim things I could find throughout history. Political cartoons from World War I, ads for Asbestos shingles, Colt 45 revolvers, Eugenics, the sinking of the French ship Bouvet and the headline on new chemical warfare techniques.  We’re a pretty grim species sometimes.

PS: As I look at this I realize that there are a LOT of people to whom I owe something of this kind.  I did about 10 of these a few years ago and they were received with varying levels of… tolerance.  It’s time to begin again, methinks.  Anyone out there in radio land who would be interested in obtaining a custom-made work need merely drop me a line and we can work out the terms.

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Filed under Household

Ridpath’s History of the World – 1911

It’s hard to believe that 100 years ago it was fairly common to buy a set of books 4000 pages long. Now you can get this massive setdelivered to you by Amazon.com for the ripe sum of $100. Unfortunately this ad from the 1911 Literary Digest doesn’t tell us how much this huge set cost at the time but it’s fairly easy to suspect that it hasn’t appreciated much in value in 100 years.

Ridpath's History of the World - 1911

Ridpath's History of the World - 1911

I’d suggest you order yours today. Where else can you go back to the dawn of history and hang out with Caesar and Rubicon? Not to mention, think how many flowers you could press between SO many pages?

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Filed under Books

Gillette Safety Razor [1912]

This little gem from the archives is 100 years old this year. Lost to most of us today is the man who popularized the safety razor, King Camp Gillette. He’s got his picture right on the package! He brought us the thin, disposable type of razor rather than the long 6-inch kind that made Sweeney Todd’s clients so uncomfortable. 12 blades sold for $1 in 1912 which is about $22 if you take into account inflation.

Gillett Safety Razor - 1912

Gillett Safety Razor - 1912

Good news though! No special preparation necessary or training necessary! Just a good, good lather but for the LOVE OF GOD DON’T FORGET TO RUB IT IN! I have no idea why the emphasis on the rubbing as indicated by the italics. Perhaps there was a special Gillette lather rubbing kit sold separately.


Filed under Peronsal Grooming, Shaving

Burroughs Adding Machines – 1911

It’s hard to believe just how far we’ve come in 100 years. In this ad from 1911, we see the description of a state-of-the-art device that did nothing but simple addition and subtraction. These all-mechanical beasts were the Excel spreadsheets of their day. “No other writing machine shows at a glance the item you are writing, the figures you have written and the total as it accumulates” the text brags. Note too the lever which must be pulled after each entry.

Burroughs Adding Machines - 1911

Burroughs Adding Machines - 1911 (Click the picture to view or download a higher resolution version)

What is more interesting is the image given by the man operating it. This burly type is more suited for the forest than the office. Perhaps he’s the minimum physical specimen required to move this “compact, handy, and easily carried about” device from room to room.

PS: To those of you who may be wondering, I have the original ads for this and all of my other postings available for sale or trade. They make great framed art gifts. Drop me a line if you’re interested.


Filed under technology

Select your Victrola for Christmas [1919]

In honor of the upcoming holiday, we bring you a Christmas suggestion from nearly 100 years ago.

1919 RCA Victrola

1919 RCA Victrola

For the record, this would be the best Christmas gift EVER! Even all this time later.


Filed under music equipment, record players

Reclaim your White Teeth. Klenzo Dental Cream 1919

I don’t mind saying that this kid… is WAY too happy to be brushing his teeth.  There must be something in there besides simple tooth powder.


Klenzo Dental Creme 1919

Klenzo Dental Creme 1919

Ad Text:

They ought to be white and gleaming. They ought to make your smile a joy. For white teeth are natural — darkened, discolored teeth are unnatural.
Get back your natural right by starting today to clean your teeth with Klenzo Dental Creme – the cream that cleans, polishes and restores the enamel of the teeth to its natural whiteness, making it resist decay.
Klenzo is a snow-white dental creme, made by a formula unlike any other dentrifice. Its snowy foam reaches the crevices of the teeth, dissolving foreign deposits and polishing the enamel clean.
And all the while, it imparts a wonderful refreshing sensation which is evidence that it is doing its work – that Cool, Clean, Klenzo Feeling.
Get a tube today at the nearest Rexall Store. And note that the new tube of Klenzo – at the same old price – contains more for your money.
If your teeth do not show a marked improvement after using it ten days, the druggist will refund your money.

I’m sold!


Filed under tooth care

Maxwell House Coffee – 1910

Everyone’s heard about Maxwell House Coffee, Good to the Last Drop!  But this ad has the bonus that it also mentions that more obscure product Maxwell House Tea.  At over 100 years old, this ad also treats us to a mode of dress not often seen in the coffee drinking masses of today.  Note too the pipe.

Maxwell House Coffee - 1910

Ad Text:

In its flavor as unchanging as time.  The same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

— If you cannot buy “Maxwell House” in your locality, write to our nearest plant for prices, and give the name of your dealer.

It’s interesting to note the emphasis on consistency of the product. This from a time in history when you might not necessarily get the same product with every purchase.

So would you buy this product?  Good vibes or bad ones?


Filed under Coffee, Drinks, Food and Drink