Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pre-War Tires

The moment I saw the Indiana State Police car in this ad, I knew it was bound for the pages of my blog. It comes from the January 14, 1946 issue of Life Magazine. Wish I could tell what model and make the car is (if you know, drop me a line), but the focus of the ad is the B. F. Goodrich synthetic rubber tires. I'm not really sure what's meant by "a wartime tire", all I can guess is that due to rationing there was a lot of recycling and re-treading going on. Oddly enough, the Indiana State Police's uniform pretty much looks the same today as it did back in 1946.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Salute to Stew

Ah, stew, that warmer of cold bones. Stew is a meal that makes me think of my childhood. Mom used to collect leftovers through the week and by Thursday we'd have the ingredients for stew. It was the hodgepodge meal that cleared the refrigerator, but generally went un-saluted.

Probably not surprising this ad comes from the American Meat Institute, a meat producer's lobbying organization. Also not surprising they chose blood red as a background color or that their ingredients are about sixty percent meat. Carrots look a bit tired and, are those mushrooms at the top? Can't tell, they're just kind of dried out looking round things.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

1946 Ford Lincoln

Ford Lincoln ad from 1946, still has the great art deco styling that came into being in the 30's. Not so sure about the tangerine color, but it definitely makes a statement. In fact I can't imagine seeing this car anywhere but Miami. At least it does away with the old Ford-ism, "you can have it in any color as long as it's black".

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dieselpunk Driver?

A photograph from an era before the advent of the windshield. Back in 1904 driving meant the serious risk of taking a rock to the eye, hence drivers wore hefty goggles. The automobile this young fellow is Earl H. Kiser and he sits astride is the Winton Bullet No. 2 (I'll be posting a Winton ad as part of my Sunday Drive series soon) posing for a photograph to commemorate setting a land speed record.

When I came across the photograph I had to air it. Having a short story featured in the anthology Diesel Punk by Twit Publishing it only seemed right!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The MS Oslofjiord

Any of you who belong to a lodge probably recognize this sort of ad. It ran in the September 1938 issue of Rotary International. Two years later the Rotarians cruised from New York to Rio de Janeiro for the Rotary International Convention.

The Oslofjord was built by A/G Weser Shipbuilders, Bremen Germany for Norwegian America Line. She would strike a mine little more than a year after the Rotarians' convention and sink on January 21st/22nd, 1941.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Doughnut Party!

Olivia de Havilland and Dick Powell starred in the Warner Brother's 1938 production of Hard to Get, which doubtless is the reason for their appearing in this 1938 ad for the industrial-sounding Doughnut Corporation of America, New York.

The movie recycles previous Powell plots - poor boy (Powell) falls for rich girl (de Havilland) followed by music and hilarity. I don't really see a doughnut connection, though. As for the ad, we start with a story line, Olivia and Dick are sitting around the Warner Brother's commissary (apparently Dick is playing an ice cream man in some flop movie) and they come up with the swell idea to throw a doughnut party for the cast. Apparently they get hooked on the round grease-cakes, and soon they're having them at every meal - doughnuts for breakfast, doughnuts for dessert, and a doughnut martini after dinner. We follow through to the "cast party", but...wait...they've got Halloween decorations? What the hell kind of movie is this anyway? If I were a member of the cast I think I'd be a little unimpressed - I mean they took the doughnuts from the commissary and used recycled decorations from last year's office Halloween party.

The Doughnut Corporation of America might still is in existence, though they're apparently more secretive than the NSA. They don't have a website and the repository of all knowledge that is Wikipedia has no valid information.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Everything New is Old Again - Drones II

Another look at the everything new is old again files and drone warfare, this time from the December 1940 issue of Popular Mechanics. Here we see a dawn of World War II era vision of drone warfare, only slightly different from the vehicles operated by the Air Force today.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Funnies - Claim to Fame (1927)

For those who are sick and tired of love - Life magazine, December 1927

Happy Birthday George Washington

What men do is oft exaggerated for questionable purposes. Comic from the February 1901 issue of Life magazine.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1938 Cadillac Ad

1938 Cadillac ad from Life Magazine. This is probably my favorite era for cars, you can see the impact of art deco on the styling, the hood ornaments, and the appointments. After the fifties the car industry would give up on stylishness, though you wouldn't know it by how often they use the word.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Of February and Gall Bladders

You might have noticed a drop in the frequency of my blog posts. Well, to be honest, February has been a bit of a wash for me. You see, it started with a trip to the emergency room followed by a three-day hospital stay, and a long recovery due to emergency gall bladder surgery. I'm all for being special, but not when that means having the "worst looking gall bladder" your doctor has ever seen.

The whole thing started the night of the Super Bowl. We had a few friends over, I made pulled pork, and things went just fine. That night, after clearing away all the dishes we turned in, expecting nothing more than being a little tired on Monday morning. Instead, as I lay in bed, I started having cramps.

The cramps worsened throughout the evening and eventually I became nauseous, so I thought I'd probably gotten the stomach flu. One of our friends who'd came to watch the game had recently gotten over a stomach illness and it didn't seem impossible that I'd picked up the same bug. So, I moved to the couch and turned on ESPN to watch the endless drivel and re-imagining of the season ender while I weathered the symptoms. The only problem was, the symptoms didn't get  better - they worsened.

By midnight I'd called off work, I spent Monday alternating between lying awake in bed and soaking in a hot tub (seemed to be the only thing that would dull the pain). Finally, at seven thirty Monday evening, I gave in and asked Kelly to drive me to the emergency room where I was probed, prodded, tested, and finally diagnosed as needing to have my gall bladder removed.

I'm home again now, and slowly getting back to normal. Still moving a little slowly and it'll be a long time before I'm doing any vigorous exercise, but I'm recovering and as my energy returns I'll be back to publishing with more regularity. So, just hold tight!

February Full Moon - Moon Winks (1908)

With February the time for lovers and, therefore, much winking I thought I'd select an appropriately flirty tune. Moon Winks is billed as a three-step, what those of us who have a passing familiarity with more modern dance terminology would call it a waltz.

As always when writing one of these little missives, I started combing the web for information on George Stevens. I came across a lot of Moon Winks sheet music covers and even came up with a good YouTube video with commentary by a vintage platter collector who goes by the handle of Ifmudge. There's some nice information about the disc and the bandleader featured on the recording and I recommend taking a listen.

Sadly, though, even after enjoying the tune I still didn't know anything more about the illusive Mr. Stevens. I spent some time exploring the bottoms of various internet rabbit holes, chasing copyright information for different interpretations of the song Moon Winks until I eventually checked the Catalog of Copyright Entries - Musical Composers, Part 3 from 1932.

Yes, the problem was that George Stevens was actually the pseudonym for Frederic J. A. Forster, the author of Moon Winks. A breakthrough worthy of eureka? Well, not really. Though I now knew that Mr. Stevens was actually Mr. Forster, the mystery more-or-less remained. I managed to discover he was born in 1878 and died in 1956 and even found his short death notice as seen on the obituary page in the May 11, 1956 issue of the Indiana Gazette:
Frederic J. A. Forster, 80, founder and president of a music publishing firm, publisher of such songs as “The Missouri Waltz,” “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More,” and “Down by the Old Millstream,” died Wednesday. SAN DIEGO. Calif
It seems a sad thing, a man who filled more than one couple's evening with the lovely music that sparked romance and set hearts pattering should find his end as a side note on the obituary page. Still, every waltz must have its end and so many times love is a bittersweet thing. Take your loved one out under the February moon tonight, bundle up warm, and stare up at the winking moon and be thankful for this moment, because when it comes right down to it that's all you really have.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Anheuser-Busch Malt Nutrine

Back in 1918 when this ad ran the Volstead Act was about to force the American alcohol industry underground. What would follow would be thirteen years of bootleg liquor, ascendant organized crime, fraudulent patent medicine, and hypocrisy. For their part, big booze manufacturers like Anheuser-Busch looked for new ways to make money. Some went into the ice cream business and others started producing faux health foods like malt extract.

Reading the copy, it sounds like the children of 1918 had the exact opposite of the problem modern kids face. Apparently back then it was a real problem for a kid to outgrow his stomach. I'm trying to imagine that diagnosis coming up in a doctor's office. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Thompson, but it looks like little Timmy has outgrown his stomach. All we can do now is pump him full of malt and hope..." And stomach throat? Really? Come on, that doesn't even sound real!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Here's a little 1943 comic strip ad from Pepsi. Nurse and police man are chatting it up when unseen miscreant shouts "Pepsi Cola!" and suddenly the hideously deformed Baby Sluggo springs from the carriage like something out of Rosemary's Baby. Ha-ha, oh how I do want a Pepsi now.

The O. Soglow who penned this strip is noted cartoonist Otto Soglow, creator of The Little King which first appeared in the New Yorker in 1931 and ran as a strip from 1934 through Soglow's death in 1975. Soglow co-founded the National Cartoonists Society, a group of cartoonists who originally got together for the purpose of entertaining the troops during World War II and continues to present awards for extraordinary cartoonists to this day.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Boating to the 2014 Olympics

Tonight the music will play and the games will open on an eastern stage as Sochi, Russia plays host to the games for the first time since the boycotted summer games of 1980. I did a little magazine archaeology on Sochi and turned up just about nothing with the exception of this.

In a 1937 issue of Popular Mechanics Magazine, I turned up a mention of a proposed high-speed ferry between the Black Sea ports of Sochi and Sukhum and in a 1940 issue of Popular Science Magazine...

It is done!

Now all Russia needs to do is get basic human rights, an honest judicial system, and an economy that isn't based on graft and corruption and they'll really have something!

I'll try to write something a little more Olympic during the games, I promise.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Etiquette! As a part of my writing, I've developed an interest in the subject of etiquette which means I actually did know that it's not considered appropriate to respond with "pleased to meet you" when introduced. According to most etiquette books the proper response is "how do you do". Then again, it's not proper etiquette to talk about bodily odors...

Etiquet (yup, spelled incorrectly) was another early deodorant that came in a tin. I'm a little surprised by the claim that you only need to reapply it every three days, that seems a little...infrequent. Then again, maybe things just were a lot smellier back in the forties. Again we see the promise that the product won't rot clothing. The same thing appeared in the Yodora ad I featured a couple of weeks ago which makes me wonder exactly what's in these products. Were they making deodorant out of battery acid? If it's powerful enough to eat through your blouse it's probably good that it's antiseptic!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Love and Deviled Ham

Love is in the air and nothing says romance like deviled ham. This ad came from the July 1941 issue of Life Magazine, a time when people had grocers and (apparently) grocers who were honor bound to recommend cheap potted meat products whenever little missy went ditsy for a stock boy. I’m trying to imagine the conversation after little sister returned from the grocery without the pork chops, onions, and potatoes for the night’s meal. Then again, maybe a can of Underwood for dinner was a hint to dad it was time to have that birds-and-bees talk with his daughter.

Oddly the address listed in the ad points to a residential-looking area. All I can say is there isn't an Underwood plant or a blasted parking lot at 365 Walnut Street.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Special Funnies Page for Super Bowl Sunday

A lot has been said about the personal lives of sports figures and, with the NFL being the most popular game going in the US, its probably been said more often about football players than anyone else. Just to show that this isn't a new phenomenon I thought it'd be nice to look back to 1922 on this Super Bowl day morning. Sure, the champ in question here is Jack Dempsey, but the sentiment is right.

Borland Electric

This little car falls into the Everything New is Old Again and 100 Years Ago Today categories. We've come to think that alternate fuels and electric cars are a new idea, but Borland Electric was producing an automobile powered by two GE motors as early as 1910. By 1913 they offered five models including a 7 passenger limousine.

I couldn't find any information on the fate of Borland. Apparently the company merged with several other electric car manufacturers to form American Electric, but I didn't find any definite confirmation. It was clear that the going price of the Borland 5 passenger coupe ($2900 according to the ad) put it out of the reach of the common worker who earned somewhere around $30 a week. The image in the ad gives the impression that Borland's target demographic was the idle rich. The ad comes from the back of the February 1914 issue of Life Magazine. It's interesting to consider Life Magazine's editorial cartoons of this era strike a pretty consistent anti-suffrage tone, but the ad shows a woman at the wheel.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Poem for February

Quote for February

The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.

- Joseph Wood Krutch

Of Love and Faries

It's February and I begin today's blog entry with a story of love that breaks the usual romantic drone of the month. This brief retelling of a story that appeared in the February 1937 issue of The Rotarian magazine is a story of a father's love for his daughter and all children, especially those most in need.

Sometime around 1907, Sir Nevile Wilkinson KCVO was doing a little painting in Mount Merrion Wood. He'd set up his easel to make a drawing of an old sycamore tree when his three year old daughter who'd been playing nearby called him to say she'd seen "a fairy queen". Being a doting father, Sir Nevil made a promise to show his little girl the palace of Titania, the Fairy Queen and it would take sixteen years for him to make good on that promise, but he did more than simply fulfill the fantasies of his beloved daughter.

The dollhouse that Sir Nevil created would tour the world raising funds for disabled children. It came to Philadelphia's Sesquicentennial exposition, toured the United States, went to Buenos Aires, and then under the sponsorship of King George V and Queen Mary it toured the old British Empire making stops in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Titania's Palace
The Palace was handcrafted from detailed drawings provided by Sir Nevile under the direction of Irish cabinet makers James Hicks and Sons. The palace has eighteen rooms including the Hall of the Guilds, the Hall of the Fairy Kiss, the Chapel, Titania's Boudoir, Princesses Iris' and Ruby's rooms, Princesses Daphne's and Pearl's room, the Morning room, the Royal Bedchamber, Oberon's Study, Oberon's Museum, and the Throne room. The Palace was constructed in eight sections and equipped with electric light and heat for the convenience of its fairy occupants. The Palace's inlaid wood floors were crafted by Sir Nevile's friend and fellow officer Colonel Alexander Gillespie.

Of course, my first thought was where is this treasure now? So, I did a little web-mining and came up with a few silent films showing Titania's Palace. The first of these is a general tour filmed in 1928. Unfortunately the film itself is in pretty poor condition with losses and jumps here and there, but you get an idea of the size of the palace and its appointments.

The second film is a talkie describing and demonstrating the miniature organ created for the palace.


The final film comes from 1969 and shows the opening of Titania's Palace at the village of Wookey Hole (yes, it's a real place, I checked before airing this) in Somerset England.

In 1978 Titania's Palace was purchased by Lego and it remained on display at Legoland Denmark until 2007 when it went on loan to loan to Egeskov Castle where it can be viewed. So, if you're ever in Denmark, check out a palace within a castle and pay tribute to love everlasting.