Leader Board Ad

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ad Quiz #10: Witch Mother Are You?

Misspelling intended. Another find from a box of old papers. I'm so glad we as a society can't throw everything away.
I guess it was pretty hard living in the 30's. There seemed to be no end of ills a mom could suffer from. The illustrations in this one are simple but effective. An average Housewife at her wits end from nothing more innocent than happy kids being themselves. 

With so many potential ills and remedies to match I will only challenge you to guess the form of relief.
There is something disconcerting in this ad, that I will go into more detail with the solution. Can you guess who's really suffering?
Click for a larger image and guess!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yellow (ed) Journalism #1

I thought I would start a new mini-series of posts categorized by the type of old newsprint articles I come across.  Just as advertisers will do or say anything to get your attention, so too, did many newspaper publishers. "Yellow Journalism"  was born out of the war between competing newspapers during a time of great tension between Spain and the U.S.  In order to gain the attention of the readers these newspaper publishers, instead of reporting just the facts, presented sensationalist headlines and stories meant to illicit an emotional response from the reader. "Remember the Maine" was the response to the Hearst newspapers blaming the Spanish for the sinking of that ship, which prompted U.S. intervention and eventually war to be declared - with no hard evidence that the Spanish were actually responsible.  

When I see old newspapers with stories of a sexual nature, I get suspicious. With everything that can be reported, ultimately it is the news editors that choose which stories stay, and which go. With the primary interest being in the Paper's bottom line, I suppose a paper has to go with what readers will stop and read.    Case in point:
Maybe titillating for 1959, but reading this now, I have to laugh and call B.S. I don't deny that there are unscrupulous Grad students that might try this gimmick, but it reads like a cheap novel and not like fact-based reporting. "Dr Sperman" really?  Are they sure this wasn't a fraternity prank?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ad Quiz #9 - Solution - Fickle Deodorant...."VETOED"

After a 24 Hour Filibuster, and all that legislative funk, the last thing you probably want would be a VETO. But, you'd be wrong. Looking closer, I can't tell what Sally is leaning against. Is it a chair, a coat, some rolled up carpet, or her reputation? Either way, problem solved thanks to Veto.

This was an ad from a 1959 Parade Magazine. A good friend of mine saw I was low on acidified, attic dried newsprint and quickly came to my rescue.  There are more gems in that pile that I will be posting soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ad Quiz #9 Psst! Sally Stinks!

I love old ads. They try so hard to hit the sensitive spot and close the sale. Although taken out of context and 52 years later, I still think they missed the mark. I love the imagery: Sally pissed because she trusted the "other" deodorant, and the men, ready to hang a scarlet B.O. around her neck, are positioned perfectly under her arm.  Kudos to you if you can guess the name of the product.
Even the Governor won't let this by his desk. (That's a hint, not a sexist remark.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Turning a Negative into a Positive....for old times' sake

Sorry, this is my 200th post, and I feel like such an Idiom.

Why do we dig through the past? Why do I travel to strangers homes' and sift through the things they don't want, never wanted, or didn't know they had? Is it because we yearn to learn about the past so we don't repeat it, or more likely because they had the past we wanted and now we are trying to put things right?  "I should have gotten the Easy-bake oven, not Susie!" or "I never had Rock'em Sock'em Robots, but I do now!....Ahh!  All is right with the world."  I will make a quick exit from this rant by saying - "To each (their) own."  or  "Mine is not to question why, mine is but to haggle or die."

CLICK for larger image
Last weekend started with an Estate sale that was almost a drive-by. No signs, no number on the mailbox or decrepit-looking house. Garage, windows, and doors were all open, yet no activity. This made for a creepy outlook and possible unsafe scenario for my co-pilot (backseat daughter, actually). I drove past and turned around saying, "This looks like a bust, kiddo!" Driving by slowly, still with no sign of life, I took into account the trek to northern Danbury, CT and the possible bad karma by letting this one go so easily. I pulled over until we finally saw one person exit, and we were in.

I will limit the gory details to: this was a "clean-out" no questions asked, just look through and bring what you find to the price lady. This wasn't the dirtiest sale I'd ever been to, but it is not often that you are offered latex gloves just to look through the books. We moved carefully through room after room, finding the team of ladies running the sale to be upbeat, pleasant, nice to my daughter, and pricing things to move. I pulled a box of items together, a jar of coins, old papers, mysterious army helmet, (all to be blogged later) and this glass slide negative.

CLICK for larger image
I like local history, and finding a photograph is an opportunity to play detective. Where was it taken? When? Who are these people? What were they doing? Why did someone save this picture? In the dimly-lit room I could make out the outline of a man and woman. Then I held it up to a light:
My new favorite oxy-moron: A Good Negative
Whoa! That beard and those clapboards and I knew I was holding a hundred years or more in my hand. My mind began racing with how I could look this up, and hopefully develop it. I found that dry glass print negatives were invented in 1871 and became available to photographers everywhere 10 years later. They were used into the 1920's until the paper photographic equivalent replaced them. This image had too be 19th century. If I had to guess 1895-1905. It didn't take a lot of searching to find out how I could use my scanner and a lamp, and a sheet of white paper to try and create a positive image. After several tries I wasn't expecting much, but I was fortunately mistaken:

CLICK for larger image
In a word: Wow!....Wow! Wow! Wow!  Too many "wows" sorry, but I couldn't believe how easy it was to get to the finished product after having such low expectations. The search will continue to answer the eternal questions (who, what, where when, why?). I do know, thanks to my wife's keen observation, that the man is holding a comb in his left hand (I thought it was a rasp). You can almost see the white tuft of hair he collected to tame that mane of his for this picture.  If you are wondering why I do this...I know for a fact that this was headed for the dumpster...no way! Not while I'm on the hunt for a dig!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Money for Nothing....is Priceless!

At an Estate sale this past weekend I came across a 50 cent table. The table itself, wasn't for sale, the items on it were. There in the corner of the table was a very lonely bank note, not of this country.  It dawned on me that a foreign bank note no matter from what country of origin, has to have a definite value, right? Well, at least in its own country. Here, it has 2 values: 1) what ever the going exchange rate is 2) What ever someone will pay for it. Funny how money can be worth more as a collectible than its face value. The note I found wasn't priced by either value. There is a 3rd factor for pricing money at a sale.  The Inconvenience factor. It goes something like this:  Seller says to other seller, "Do you know what this note is worth?" "Ugh! I don't have a clue. Put 50 cents on it. I don't know."  Sometimes sellers just want to get rid of stuff and even if it's money. Who says, "Money is no object?" At this sale money was clearly just an object. When I saw this note on the 50 cent table, I thought it was a mistake.
Money is collectible because of all the thought behind it. Designed to instill trust in the bearer and receiver, represent national pride in financial stability, even when instability reigns supreme. The great pains taken to prevent counterfeiters from having an easy go of it, make money, well, money.
There I was chasing down the "price" lady. Sometimes difficult to find, and to tell apart from the assistants at a sale, she has the final say and treating her with the right attitude can mean the difference between "sale" and "no sale." By the time we had arrived at this sale all the workers were tired and she just laughed and said "Take it."

25 Egyptian Piastres!....for nothing!? This was going to be a good sale, and it was. There were many ancient treasures I pulled away with....but this wasn't one of them. Egyptian currency comes in denominations based on Pounds. The 25 Piastre note is one quarter of an Egyptian pound note. Want to guess how the the Egyptian pound note is holding up against the dollar? Not good. As bad as our economy is the one pound note is currently valued at 16 cents on the US dollar. So, my note is valued at a whooping 4 cents! 

That's still a 4 cent profit, and I am the proud owner of Egyptian currency, and a little knowledge of foreign currency. The question I will close with is....How come their money doesn't have a pyramid on it?  Or, do I need to look for more?

Monday, June 13, 2011

This just in!!...Mixer's Panties in a Twist....Sends Craig's List Fist!

Urban Archeology Field Reporter, Bob Deakin, is on assignment and sends in this story of revenge, non-violence and intrigue from the tag sale trail:

Traffic backs up in front of the Davenport home.
(UA) - Police responded to a disturbance at 111 Northrup Street early Saturday morning when a traffic jam formed in front of the Davenport home as dozens of people showed up for a much-anticipated tag sale. Police were called by the homeowner, who claimed he had announced no such event.

“I never arranged for a tag sale for today or any day,” said angry homeowner Vincent Davenport to police, who were forced to direct traffic in the rural neighborhood for several hours. “Why would I invite a bunch of strangers to my house on a Saturday morning?”

Mr. Davenport first opens the door to unexpected taggers.
Davenport was initially awakened by knocks on his door and startled to find several dozen people milling about in front of his house. When they refused to leave he grew angry and returned with a baseball bat to scare them away, only to receive several offers for the bat and frequent requests to pass out numbers. This only proved to heighten Davenport's anger; "What the hell do they want numbers for?...and no this bat isn't for sale!"

Respondents produced an ad in the local newspaper showing a tag sale slated for 7 am at that address on that day, which police took into evidence. Several attendees also produced a printout of the notice posted on Craigslist for the same event, which police quickly discarded as fraud.

The disturbance erupted at approximately 6:55 am when a prompt group of  'taggers' - veteran tag sale aficionados - or 'Early Birds' as they are known in the trade (at this hour), arrived to peruse the wares at the Davenport home at the start of their well organized day.

Tagger Hank Zeppo was typical of those who showed up.

Mr. Davenport angrily confronts the taggers with a baseball bat.
“We were following our itinerary through the southeastern quadrant of town – based on the rising sun – before moving on to northeast quadrant number two at 41°31′33″N 73°21′39″W. From here we move on to central sectors one and two, then to the north and west, as is normal for our coverage pattern launch at dawn on Saturdays.”

These experts come well prepared for the weekend missions armed with food, water and generic soda rations, GPS devices, dubiously-claimed amounts of cash (depending on the item discovered) and small slips of paper known as 'checks,' formerly used as a form of currency now used only by women over 50 at grocery stores.

Veteran tagger Ray Hornig was none too pleased with the goings on at 111 Northrup.

“Jannie and I were all set to start here as part of a busy day of tagging and we get this,” he said, incredulously. “I don't know what's going on but we were going to designate 20 to 30 minutes to this place and 15 to the next and now we've got to make adjustments on the fly all day. This world is going to hell in a hen basket.”

Other, more astute taggers, were quick to correct Ray's poorly executed cliché to 'hell in a hand basket,' which still makes no sense, but his point was made.

Tagger Justin Mitchell, whose first name belies his age – estimated to be in his late 60s – intends to approach city hall to crack down on the tag sale ordinance in Springfield.

“We must have an ordinance for police to identify permitted tag sales,” he stressed. “My wife and I came here looking for Wacky Packages, Partridge Family and M*A*S*H memorabilia, as any tagger worth his salt would expect to find in a neighborhood like this. We just heard a minute ago he didn't plan this sale but since we're all here and traffic's backed up can't he just pop open the garage door and let us have a quick look around?”

The ad printed in the local newspaper (and allegedly on Craig's List) welcomed early birds and boasted of vintage clothing, Hammond organs, HDTVs, cocktail glass sets, 1970s memorabilia, classic furniture from the 1960s and much more.

All anyone got was disappointment.

“I've been searching for a Hammond B-3 organ for the last ten years and I thought today might be my lucky day,” said Troy Dufiss, oblivious to the fact that there was in fact, no tag sale at the house. “Is he going to open that garage or am I going to have to open it for him?”
Mr. Davenport continued to guard the garage throughout the day.

After several hours of research police determined that the announcement of the tag sale was a hoax concocted by an acquaintance of the homeowner. It turns out Ed Maloney, bartender at the local tavern, “One For The Road,” submitted the advertisements as an act of revenge on the part of Mr. Davenport.

Davenport and his wife – both regulars at the tavern – were there earlier in the week and gave Maloney yet another in a series of extremely poor tips after spending several hours at the establishment.

“What comes around goes around,” is all Maloney is reported to have said to police during questioning.

Mr. Davenport declined to press charges but Springfield Police Sargent Duke Morris confirmed that several of the taggers filed complaints. Asked how residents can prevent such scams in the future, Sargent Morris gave only one bit of advice.

“Tip your bartender.”

Thanks, Bob, for that sterling report. We now take you back to our regularly scheduled blog....already in progress.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ad Quiz #8 Solution...It's just a Vibrator...nothing to get hysterical about.

I found this ad entertaining on several levels. First and foremost is the horrible photo/illustration (heavy on the /). They have done such a poor job of drawing and shading his muscles that I was expecting to see a subliminal image emerge from his pecs and biceps. The indifferent look on his face and the angle of his head doesn't look natural. If I didn't read the ad copy I would assume this was an ad some sort of male nipple eraser, which it seems to do rather well.

There were quite a few health enhancers in the early 20th century, just like there are now, except it was a softer sell back then. Now everyone is trying to force their medications and devices down your throat. This is why I appreciate these old ads. Their pretentiousness seems so obvious that no one could be fooled by them, and these could have been regarded like the Sunday comix section. Unfortunately, seeing something like this in black and white was probably enough to fool most of the people most of the time.

If you take the time to read the ad, you will be continually blasted by false promises and meaningless claims. My favorite: Nine out of ten people are only half alive. And tied for first place: Your self-respect...will be increased a hundredfold. Well, the White Cross Vibrator not only provided all the healthful benefits of vibration, but galvanic and faradic jolts of electricity as well. It seems to me with all the stimulation this provides, you may just be happy to be half alive when it's over, which would bring an obvious increase in self-respect for having survived it.

These were used as part of the medical profession's answer to curing women's "troubles".  Selling these units to doctors to cure fits of hysteria in women was commonplace...until the first porn film arrived in the 1920's demonizing the vibrator. By the end of the sexual revolution in the 70's the vibrator was considered "ok" again. Now, everyone can know the benefits and healing arts of vibration through cell phones, unless it's someone that you really don't want to talk to - also known as - buzz-kill. 

There is a great museum for this technology and gadgetology in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Turn of the Century Electrotherapy Museum has a vast collection of the instruments and history of these devices, many of which were spurred by the burgeoning industry surrounding electricity. It's worth a look.

I found that site by searching for the last part of the ad, the book that's yours for FREE, with no obligation. The book of "Health and Beauty" is the perfect come-on if you haven't been sold but still want something for reading through the whole ad. Go here to see the full book and the letter that accompanied it. In short, the book's full title is: "Health and Beauty...and how it is obtained through Vibration." It's the ultimate infomercial gotcha!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ad Quiz #8 You can be like this man...

 Of course the question is, "Why?"  Looking at this I had never realized that Photoshop has been around for much longer than I originally thought.  Or at least the idea of faking - err, enhancing images to get the manufacturer's point across to the masses.
If this guy is supposed to be the "Before," well, he sure has a lot of hair before using the product...Maybe that's why he is shaking his fist?

I really don't know why this woman is interested in being like the man, but maybe it is the final hint that the product is clearly for men and women.

Answer: Coming soon! (which means: This afternoon or tomorrow morning.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ad Quiz #7: Answered!...It's Cherub Chow!

Actually, it's Post Toasties. Well, for treasure hunting this weekend it was bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, and no one on - Sunday afternoon.  Even though I had enjoyed another 3-day weekend starting with a Friday off to hit some potential "digs," I was only able to come up with a few items - random items - items that, to some, might smell of desperation, not perspiration. Friday's take was 500 sheets of heavy red line stationary, and a pair of new computer speakers, Cost $5.  Why all the paper? I'm a doodler - A good fine point pen, or a sharp Sharpie and some decent paper and I'm off. The computer speakers will complete a new computer upgrade at work.
Again, This is NOT a self-portrait
Saturday didn't add anything more to the pot. I took a chance on some estate sales in lower Fairfield county, and learned all to well, that the richer the area, the earlier you need to be. Not my style, I can't bring myself to be part of the rush. I need and want time to concentrate, inspect, search. I don't want the low hanging fruit, I want the thing that's been hanging there for a hundred years and no one will climb the dead branches to haul it in. Looking for that last sale of the day karma (there is such a thing.) I bought a wireless webcam for $5, whose resurrection will be an interesting project.  

Sunday, I decided to head to the flea market to see a fellow digger and his son. Ame and I checked out as many booths as possible, but because we choose to go late in the morning, by the time we are half-way through, many of the dealers have begun to pack up.  Our saving grace was the last vendor with reams of old paper.  I managed to grab a couple of Leslie magazines, which I consider to be the combination of Life/Time of the early 20th century.  The ad was what drew me to it. For something printed in 1913, I am amazed how the color and the kid still seem to leap off the page.  There are other ads, none as colorful, that I will be featuring in upcoming posts. Maybe I should replace his face with mine - That looks like me headed to another dig.

Ad Quiz #7: Why is this kid so happy?

Graphic Artists/Illustrators 90 or 100 years ago had this innate ability to make people look freakishly happy. Maybe they were still lacing everything with cocaine and cannabis, or maybe it's the product....Can you guess?

Friday, June 3, 2011

There may be life on the Moon!...but the atmosphere's lousy

The news from 89 years ago...I guess it really isn't "news" nor is it even remotely correct. But I was going through my collection of Portuguese-American Weekly's and this leaped out at me. Seriously, it was just another odd magazine in a box of old papers. I couldn't read a word of it, until I came to the English section in the middle, and found all sorts of interesting news bites. I was really thinking that in 1922, information like this was similar to any tabloid today; just printed to get eyes and pennies to purchase and all of it junk science and made up "wow factor" facts. 

Then I looked up Dr Archenhold, and low and behold....
There he is with his creation, the Treptow Observatory. This observatory was built from monies raised by Archenhold and donated by Andrew Carnegie.  The fascinating fact was that Albert Einstein gave his first public speech about his Theory of Relativity here in 1915, and the 2 men developed a friendship. This friendship was eventually compromised by Archenhold's interest in showmanship and Einstein's destiny to be the father of all Geeks (not that there's anything wrong with that). Archenhold really wanted to introduce the public to the wonders of Astronomy and science in general. He died in 1939 just before his family was imprisoned by the Nazi's and killed in a concentration camp. The Observatory survives today, and in 1989 was re-named after it's founder. You can read more about Archenhold here. And you can read more about the Einstein connection here.