Tag Archives: technology

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1951 – Rice Krispies and Tide Detergent

Rice Krispies, 1951

Pop, Crackle and Snap have been around a long time, since 1933 as it turns out. Notable bits about this particular advert include the fixed-width font that today would make us think of a primitive computer printout. Given that it’s 1951 though, they’re doubtless going for a typewriter but I fail to see how that businesslike formality will help them sell cereal.

As in all breakfast ads the milk is stone white but in 1951 it might well have been whole milk (or cream) which really is fairly white. Lastly note that the inner bag design seems to be of wax paper. I wish the bags of my cereal boxes opened up so tidily.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

Tide Detergent, 1951

She wears the cleanest clothes in town … her “Mom” swears by tide.

Who is this “Mom” person and why is she in quotes like that? The text is straightforward and forceful and the reaction of the gents at the water cooler seems proof that the horrid yellow dress she’s wearing really is attention-grabbing. Note how the guy in the brown coat is just letting the whole jug splash into the drain. This stuff must be good.

Further, the detergent is so magical that you don’t even have to rinse anything. Just wash, wring out and hang up! How easy is that? I’d hate to see the rash you get from wearing soapy clothes all day.

From Classic Ads – Household Misc

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1967 Dash Detergent and One-A-Day Vitamins

It’s a two-fer Saturday here on Golden Oldie Ads…

1967 Dash Laundry Detergent

There are several things about this advert that get ones attention.

Firstly, the hairstyle is to die for. Geometry all the way. The photo just screams 1960s. I’m also stunned at the text which indicates that most laundry detergents require over a cup of detergent per load. Even a large box wouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks. Perhaps people just didn’t wash their clothes as frequently 50 years ago?

It’s also noted that unlike other detergents, Dash is for laundry only. This was apparently a novel idea in the day. Oh, and keep in mind that you can’t use Dash with your tub and wringer. It’s only for automatic washers. Yeesh.

From Classic Ads – Household Misc

1967 One-A-Day Vitamins

This ad makes me want to get on a soapbox in about 10 different ways. Firstly, I’m vastly unimpressed at the picture this paints of women. Apparently they’re vain and shallow creatures who go to ridiculous lengths for something as vaguely defined as ‘beauty’. It’s always been my long-held belief that the cosmetic industry is self-perpetuating. Just leave your faces alone and they’ll be just fine.

Apparently too the average woman in 1967 was dieting and found nothing more exciting than trying on a new shade of lipstick. *grumble* At least the advertisers are trying to emphasize health in some vaguely selfish way.

From Classic Ads – Misc Personal Items

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Filed under Household, Peronsal Grooming

1951 Stereo Realist Cameras – w/ Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy

From Classic Ads – Photography

It seems somewhat apropos that such a strange little duo would be found selling such a strange-looking device. The camera was simple in that it simply took two pictures at the same time from two viewpoints. When you looked at the photos through the viewer, which just made sure that your left eye got one picture and your right eye the other, then you saw the result as three-dimensional. This concept was almost as old as photography itself but during the 50s entered wider use with cameras like this one costing only(!) $182. Adjusting for inflation this is a $1,500 camera, folks.

Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy are hawking this little device and as I’m sure you ALL remember from the 30s through the mid 50s they were a hilariously popular radio ventriloquist duo. Let me just allow that to sink in a bit. They were ventriloquists… and they were primarily known for “appearing” on the… radio… yes, yes indeed, that ancient device in which you can hear the people doing the show but can’t actually see them so you would never be able to TELL that one half of the conversation was held up by a wooden dummy. It never ceases to amaze me how creepy they both look in print advertising and how redundantly they use jokes of the form “Charlie’s no dummy he uses product X!” But if it worked then so be it.

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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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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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Filed under Entertainment, music equipment

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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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

Starlog Magazine – February 1983 or a Nerdgasm of 30 years Past

My general rule for ads is to never bother with any ads younger than I am. As the years pass this becomes a sad and increasingly restrictive rule. Today, however, we revisit the year 1983 and Starlog magazine, a publication devoted to computers, video games and scifi. Let’s skip over the silliness of David Hassellhoff and the Knight 2000, Jon Pertwee’s return to Doctor Who and other random drivel so that we can focus on the best part: The Adverts!

I don’t know about you but I’d give… practically nothing for a Admiral Ackbar full-face latex mask. It’s surprising to me that the instructions specify that customers should send cash in the mail. Also, one wonders how many of these remain Mint-In-Box even today waiting for some lucky kid to crack them open and wear them around the yard… before getting beaten up by a few neighborhood bullies with poor appreciation for nerdy pursuits like “recreating your favorite character’s most adventurous moments” as the text says.

From Classic Ads – Misc

And, just in case the mask didn’t get your ass beat for you, you can order a “Warrior’s Battle Outfit.” These guys really have it in for their customers. The text suggests that “you can wear your Battle Warrior outfit to school, parties or anywhere! It’s fun to dress in space fashion. The whole family can dress in Warrior’s Battle outfits.” Again, anywhere that you want to get your ass thoroughly beaten with your own “Warrior’s Battlepac”

From Classic Ads – Misc

And no 80’s magazine ad would be complete without mention of the Atari game system.
Get ready for the space battle of your life with the award-winning Astro Chase!” Enjoy those “fast-fighting thrills and brilliant graphics!”

From Classic Ads – Misc

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