Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Lucky black cat from Callander

Today's postcard comes from J.B. White Ltd., the same company that produced the previously featured "Cows and ruins go together nicely" postcard.

This one features a black cat1 in the center and touts the attractions of Callander, a burgh in Scotland.

The four sites shown are (clockwise from upper right):

1. Folklore on black cats varies across cultures. The Scottish, in today's case, believe that a strange black cat's arrival to the home signifies prosperity. We sure hope that's true in our household, as we're the owners of three fully black cats and one mostly black cat. And they're certainly all "strange."
2. Lubnaig is a Gaelic word that means crooked.
3. Here's some information on a walking tour of the Pass of Leny. According to Wikipedia, other walks in the area include Bracklinn Falls, The Meadows, Callander Crags and the Wood Walks.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Countdown #5:
"Unexcelled for comfort"

Tonight's chilling image comes from the June 1954 issue of The American Legion Magazine.

I have absolutely nothing I wish to add to this.

Halloween Countdown will return on Monday night!

Card for "Hero" blanket from Muncy Woolen Mills Co.

This stained and torn card is 6 inches wide by 4¼ inches deep and states:

Muncy Woolen Mills Co.

Muncy Woolen Mills was located in Muncy, Pennsylvania, a small borough along the West Branch Susquehanna River in Lycoming County. Muncy is about 15 miles east of Williamsport and is just 10 miles east of Montoursville, where I spent some of my childhood.

Here's what I was able to discover online regarding Muncy Woolen Mills, roughly in chronological order:

  • In William Henry Egle's 1895 book "Notes and queries: Historical, biographical, and genealogical, chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 2," the following passage described the family that helped found Muncy Woolen Mills, although there is a frustrating lack of dates and specifics:
    Samuel Rogers, the second, who became one of the most enterprising business men on the West Branch ... [came] to reside at the forks of the Loyalsock at the time the woolen factory was in operation and afterward moved to Muncy. ... Soon after the loss of the woolen factory Samuel Rodgers [sic], with his brother Jonathan, bought a mill property at Muncy, consisting of saw, grist and plaster mills, and to which they added a woolen mill. This property, after being operated for about ten years, was destroyed by fire. The brothers then dissolved partnership and Samuel built another factory near Muncy, where he continued for about fifteen years, when he established the White Deer woolen mills and later the Briar Creek mills in Columbia County. His sons established an extensive woolen factory on Bear creek, near the southern line of this county, in 1854, and his grandsons are now connected with the Muncy woolen mills. His death occurred in 1857.
  • In "History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania," published in 1892 by John Franklin Meginness, the company's founding is described:
    The manufacturing industries of Muncy have increased greatly during the past decade. The Muncy Woolen Mills Company, founding in 1882, after a prosperous career of ten years, was chartered February 12, 1892, with a capital of $100,000. The directors are George H. Rogers, James Coulter, Samuel Rogers, and Samuel Coulter, Muncy; Uriah Megahan and J. Clinton Hill, Williamsport. The mills of the company are situated on Market street near the basin, and the buildings are brick. The consumption of wool annually reaches 150,000 pounds. During the year 1891 the company manufactured and sold 30,000 blankets. From fifty to sixty hands are employed.
  • The Muncy Historical Society's website, in a brief history of the borough, indicates that the West Branch Canal, a crucial early commerce hub, ended at the Muncy Woolen Mills.
  • In "The Official Directory of the World's Columbian Exposition, May 1st to October 30th, 1893,"1 published by W. B. Conkey Company, Muncy Woolen Mills is listed as an official exhibitor of woolen goods, blankets, robes, rugs and shawls at the Chicago event.
  • In "Boyd's Directory of Williamsport," published in 1898, James Coulter is listed as the president of Muncy Woolen Mills.
  • Muncy Woolen Mills advertised in several issues of American Wool and Cotton Reporter in 1899. The company described itself as "Manufacturers of White and Colored all Wool Bed" and "Blankets." In the August 31, 1899, issue, the company listed several items for sale, including a D&F Double Cylinder Twister; a D&F 90-inch up and down Gig; and a 50-spladle Lindsey & Hyde Yarn Reel with the latest patterns.
  • The (Muncy) Luminary stated in its news report on March 6, 1902, that: "Yesterday afternoon about 2:30 o'clock the roof of the dye house at the plant of the Muncy Woolen Mills company on Market street, collapsed, and two men, Samuel Rogers and Thomas Opp were injured, one quite badly."
  • The (Muncy) Luminary stated in its news report on October 30, 1902, that: "The Muncy Woolen Mills Company, manufacturers of blankets, and Sprout, Waldron & Co., manufacturers of flowering mill machinery, are so crowed [sic] with orders that they are running 13 hours a day."
  • The January 21, 1911, edition of the Gazette and Bulletin has an advertisement for a sale on Muncy Woolen Mills blankets at L. L. Stearns & Sons Department Store in Williamsport.2 "One Hundred Per Cent All Wool Blankets," typically $5 to $6.50, were on sale for $4 to $5. Victoria California, Maid o' the Mist, and Sanitary Natural Grey wool blankets were also for sale, all for $5 or less.3 There is no mention of a "Hero" blanket. It's pure speculation on my part, but perhaps that came out during World War I?
  • Muncy Woolen Mills is listed as a supplier of blankets in the May 1921 Chilton Hotel Supply Index.
  • Here's an interesting snippet from the 1925 book "Sales Management, Volume 9": "Two hundred new accounts were secured by the Muncy Woolen Mills Company of Muncy, Pennsylvania, through a recent direct mail campaign carried out on a list of 1,000 dealers."
  • In "History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania," published in 1929 by Colonel Thomas W. Lloyd, secretary of the Lycoming Historical Society, the following is written: "The Muncy Woolen Mills, employing about fifty persons, has a reputation which is only bounded by the two coasts. Until very recently it had been in the hands of two members of the same families for more than seventy years. The company devotes itself entirely to the manufacture of all-wool blankets and its reputation for good workmanship and the high quality of its output extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and even to Europe. It is in almost continuous operation."
  • The (Muncy) Luminary stated in its news report on September 26, 1935, that: "The reopening of the Muncy Woolen Mills by a new company seems more certain each day as representatives of the new company continue to conduct extensive experiments with the machinery at the mill."
  • After Muncy was flooded in March 1936, the Gazette and Bulletin reported on March 27 that the "clothing headquarters" was being moved from the school to the Muncy Woolen Mills.

1. The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492.
2. The Stearns ad copy states: "Business makes business. Because we are such large distributors of the fine Blankets made by the MUNCY WOOLEN MILLS and buy so highly in all their various makes, they are glad to give us first choice of desirable special lots, which means Blankets of quality at close to wholesale prices. So, when such savings as are here illustrated can be made on the best of Blankets it behooves all housekeepers, proprietors of hotels, and boarding houses to take advantage of these offerings, thereby practicing the wisest kind of economy."
3. Keep in mind: A blanket that cost $5 in 1911 would cost about $115 today, according to The Inflation Calculator. Wool blankets were not purchases to be taken lightly.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween Countdown #4:
Harley-Davidson horrors

Harley-Davidson is very big and important here in York, Pennsylvania. But I had to have a few chuckles at its expense when I came across a copy of its 1979 Fall Motorcycle Fashions and Accessories catalog.

Late 1970s fashion and Harley-Davidson culture did not mix very well.

Here are a couple more examples from the catalog:

Great links: Old postcards of York, Pennsylvania

On my wife's blog today, via reader Bob Steindl, there are some fabulous old postcards of York, Pennsylvania.

Pictured above is the Valencia Ballroom, circa 1929.

For the rest, go check out Only in York County!

Bettina's Hallowe'en recipes

If you're still wincing from last night's Halloween Countdown post featuring Ring-Around-The-Tuna1, I will try to make it up to you this morning with some interesting old Halloween-themed recipes from "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband."2

Chapter LXXVII of the book is titled "Hallowe'en Revels." Here's a partial description of the Halloween party that takes place:
"The supper, decorative as well as delicious, was all upon the table. Little individual pumpkin pies on paper doilies stood beside each place. The salad caused much delight among the guests, who at the invitation of witches, had now removed their masks. A large red apple with a face cut on the outside, had been hollowed out, and the salad was within. On the top of the apple was a round wafer with a marshmallow to represent a hat. The hat was further decorated with a 'stick-up' of sticky candy on one side. The apple stood on a leaf of lettuce, with a yellow salad dressing necktie. The favor boxes, which were under the witches, were filled with candy corn, while the popcorn balls, placed on a platter, had features of chocolate fudge, and bonnets of frilled paper."
The book lays out the following menu for the Halloween party:
  • Oyster Patties
  • Bettina's Surprise Salad
  • Hallowe'en Sandwiches
  • Pickles
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Cider
  • Doughnuts
  • Jumbles
  • Popcorn Balls
The Hallowe'en Sandwiches sound a bit odd. They are described as: "When the bread is a day old, cut in slices one-third inch thick. Match in pairs. Cream the butter and spread one side. Place the other side on top. Press firmly. With a thimble cut out circles on one piece of the bread, cut nose and mouth with a knife. The butter showing through gives the resemblance to features."

Here are the recipes for Oyster Patties and Jumbles:
Oyster Patties (Six portions)
3 T-butter
4 T-flour
1 C-milk
½ t-salt
⅛ t-paprika
½ pint of oysters

Clean the oysters by removing any shells, and drain off the liquor. Melt the butter, add the flour and salt, and mix thoroughly. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Cook until very thick. Place the oysters in a pan and heat one minute. This "plumps" them. Do not cook too long. Add the oysters to the white sauce, and serve immediately in patty shells which have been freshened in a hot oven.

Jumbles (Twenty-four jumbles)
½ C-butter
1 C-sugar
1 egg
½ t-soda
½ C-sour milk
¼ t-salt
About 2 C-flour
Grape jelly

Cream the butter, add the sugar, and gradually add the egg, the soda mixed with the sour milk, the salt, and the flour to make a soft dough. (One which will roll easily.) Cut into shape with a round cooky cutter. On the centers of one-half the pieces, place a spoonful of grape jelly. Make features on the rest, using a thimble3 to cut out the eyes. Press the two together, and bake 12 minutes in a moderate oven.
1. As an addendum to Ring-Around-The-Tuna, I must add that I am by no means the first blogger to rant about what a nightmarish recipe that is. Among those who have previously pointed out how disgusting it is are Chef Andy and Will You Look At That.
2. The "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband" post, by the way, received thousands of page views earlier this week when it was a featured post on StumbleUpon. Epic win for Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles Le Cron!
3. I never knew thimbles were used so often in the kitchen!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Countdown #3:
Things you shouldn't put in Jell-O

The late-night series on the most horrifying ephemera I can find continues today with a terrifying recipe from an undated General Foods staplebound recipe book titled "Joys of Jell-O."

Now, I'll admit that Jell-O has its purposes. It's a fairly safe food when you're sick or just had your tonsils out.

I have no problem eating it, in its plain form, as a standalone snack or dessert.

But let me be quite clear: YOU DO NOT PUT OTHER FOODS INTO THE JELL-O!

Not even fruit cocktail.

And you SURE AS HELL do not put onions, cucumbers, celery, olives and flaked tuna into a mold of lime Jell-O. Yet that's precisely what the recipe for Ring-Around-The-Tuna - which is pictured with today's entry - calls for in "Joys in Jell-O."

Other recipes in the book call for putting dried figs, carrots, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, pepper, radishes, tomato sauce, chicken, beets, shrimp1, crab meat, potatoes and bleu cheese into Jell-O molds.

What was wrong with people?

1. If it were up to me, putting perfectly good shrimp into a Jell-O mold would be a federal offense.

Mystery photo of well-dressed boys

Here's a single black-and-white snapshot I came across that has no dates or documentation whatsoever.

My best guess is that the photo was taken in Amsterdam sometime in the middle of the 20th century.

Here's a closeup of the four boys:

Why Amsterdam? For me, the obvious tip-offs are the canal in front of the boys and the clogs. Notice that at least one of the boys is wearing clogs. Also, notice the clogs sitting by the one doorway:

Anyone have any thoughts and/or insights to add?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween Countdown #2:
Mr. Do and Mr. Don't

Back for more after-dark ephemera horrors?

You're quite brave. Today's Images of Terror™ might drive you away from Papergreat for good.1

Tonight's post features Mr. Do and Mr. Don't, a pair of scary-ass elves who adorn the cover of something called "Manners (Book One, Pointers for Little Persons)."

Creeped out yet? Zoom in for a closer look...

And it only gets worse. When I turn the cover over, there's a ghastly new image of Mr. Don't on the inside front cover.

I mean, Chucky would pee his doll pants and run in terror from this thing, right?

Plus, check out what finger of his left hand Mr. Don't is holding up.

That is a very bad elf.

Sweet dreams.

1. Which, to be clear, would be very bad for blog traffic and would steer me toward the exact opposite of my goal of growing Papergreat readership and eventually turning this into a seven-figure occupation. ... Oh well.

The Herbalist Almanac for 1976

Previously on Papergreat, I have written about the 1932 edition and the (sort of) 2011 edition of The Herbalist Almanac.

Recently, I stumbled across the 1976 edition of this annual catalog for Indiana Botanic Gardens' herbal products. The 1976 edition is much closer to the content and spirit of the 1932 almanac than it is to the 2011 one.

Some highlights and interesting tidbits from the 1976 edition:
  • The first page includes the disclaimer: "Herbs or Botanicals have been used since the beginning of recorded history for their medicinal properties. ... We are not allowed and do not make therapeutic claims for some herbals, on which medical opinions may differ. However those who desire further information relative to the properties and uses of roots and herbs, will find books on Materia Medica in most public libraries."
  • There are still month-by-month weather forecasts for the United States. Every entry seems to begin with one of these phrases: "Clearing time," "Unsettled spell," "Stormy weather," "Fair time," or "Variable time."
  • The following is written in praise of Sweet Woodruff:
    "Germans love this small fragrant herb and have numerous names for it -- best known are Waldmeister, Herzfreund and Magerkraut. Old Teuton warriors carried small sprigs of the herb in battle as a charm. In the Middle Ages, bunches of the herb were hung in churches, kept under the bed or stuffed in mattresses and pillows for its delicate vanilla-like aroma."
  • The following is written regarding Karapincha: "Karapincha is a beautiful small tree found growing at the foot of the towering Himalayan Mountains. All parts of the tree are used as a folk medicine in India and Pakistan. 'Useful and Ornamental Plants of Zanzibar' states that the Swahili people burn the leaves as an incense to keep devils from their children."
  • Something called Carminative Herb Tea No. 49 ($1.50) is touted as an ingredient that can bring new flavor to your spaghetti sauce.1
  • Fun tip #1: To perfume clothes in the wash, put a piece of orris root in the wash water that the clothes are boiled in. This gives them a delicate fragrance resembling violets.
  • Fun tip #2: A small quantity of oil of cajeput poured into a saucer and left near the center of a room will impart a refreshing fragrance.2
  • The almanac points out the many ways that seawrack has been used throughout history.3 They include serving as winter food for cattle, assisting with the drying of cheese, packing lobsters and crabs that are to be shipped long distances, serving as fertilizer and boosting a person's iodine level.
  • Here's what a "grateful user" wrote about Rectal Ointment No. 103:
    "Would you please sent me two jars of your Rectal Ointment No. 103, immediately! That is the best Rectal Ointment we have ever had and we have recommended it to so many people who have had wonderful results also. In fact one farm boy could not ride a tractor. We told him about this rectal ointment and it relieved him. When he was in service and went to Korea, he took two jars along." -- L.M., Waterloo, Iowa
1. In our house, I am told to refer to it as "spaghetti gravy."
2. As long as the cats don't knock it over.
3. Other names for seawrack include Fucus vesiculosus, bladder wrack, bladderwrack, black tang, rockweed, bladder fucus, sea oak, black tany, cut weed, dyers fucus, red fucus and rock wrack.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Halloween Countdown #1: Nightmare toilets

Only three weeks until Halloween! To celebrate, I'm going to post pictures of utterly horrifying ephemera each weeknight between now and then as bonus Papergreat entries.

The posts won't go up until 9:30 p.m. EDT each day, so that impressionable children can be tucked away in bed first and shielded from the terrifying images.1

Tonight's nightmarish images are pair of garishly dressed-up toilets, courtesy of American Thread Co. Star Book No. 195: "Knit and Crochet with Aunt Lydia's Heavy Rug Yarn."2

1. Parents not residing in the Eastern Time Zone are on their own.
2. To see another horrifying bathroom, check out "Selections from the 1967 Top Value Stamps catalog."

Storybook Friends and other discoveries in a day of sorting

I spent part of Sunday sorting through boxes of books from the dwindling stockpile in the basement. As always, I stumbled upon some fun stuff that I couldn't wait to share here on the blog.

First up is battered copy of the 1955 edition of "Making Storybook Friends," the cover of which is pictured above.

The book is stamped as belonging to Red Lion Area School's Nebinger Building.1 Students using the book over the years, according to the "Loan Agreement" on the inside front cover, included Samantha, Jeffrey, Wayne, B. Shaub and Tim Bray. It appears that the textbook was used into the early 1970s.

The book's units are split up into "Pets and Playmates," "Rhymes, Riddles, and Old Tales," "Feathered Friends," and "In the Land of Make-Believe." Authors of the tales presented include Mother Goose, Aesop, Beatrix Potter, Alice Day Pratt, Louise Abney and M. Madilene Veverka.

The very first illustration in the book, which accompanies Frances Rowley's "Playing in the Leaves," made me smile. (And I suspect it will make Buffy Andrews, who shares my love of old grade-school textbooks, smile too.) Here it is, still wonderful and warmly evocative of autumn despite being scotch-taped:

Up next is "Frank Merriwell's Vacation" by Burt L. Standish.2 This book is in terrible condition and I was one step away from sending it to the recycling bin.

Then I flipped through it a bit. (Because you always have to flip through a book at least once. You never know what you'll find tucked away inside!)

But I didn't find anything tucked away inside. Instead, I found myself thinking, "What language is this in?" Here's an excerpt from the chapter titled "Prof. Jenks Gets Excited":
"Begorra! it's nadeless to talk to him av calmness," put in Barney Mulloy.

"Yaw, don't you let him talk to you apout calmness, Vrankie," said Hans Dunnerwust. "Let him talk to you apout dinner."
Later, we get this gem:
"Vale," he said, soberly, "you nefer seen der beat uf dot! Vot peen der madder mit dot durkeys?"
Vot peen der madder, indeed...

Finally, since Halloween is creeping closer by the day, I'll leave you with the ghostly image that I found tucked away inside a copy of 1968's "Georgia's Stone Mountain," by Willard Neal...

Wonder if the original artist ever expected that someone would find this, decades later, and make it available for all the world to see?

1. According to the January/Feburary 2010 edition of the Red Lion Area Historical Society's newsletter: "[Red Lion's] old 'Fort Sumpter' School — so called because of its resemblance to a fortress ... was located at the corner of West Broadway and South Charles Street. When a bequest from the Nebinger family allowed for the addition of a second story, the name was changed to the Nebinger School. The site of the Nebinger building is now part of the Leo Fire Company Number 1 complex."
2. Burt L. Standish was a pen name for William George "Gilbert" Patten, who had many other pen names. Patten/Standish wrote a couple hundred Frank Merriwell dime novels.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reader comments: A nice note from the mayor's son

My 1973 Spartanburg Phillies program post from July 19 prompted this nice response from Wesley Stoddard:
"I enjoyed reading this post immensely. My father was the [Spartanburg] Mayor Bob Stoddard you referred to in your article. He passed away in 2006 but we still have his team photos and a good number of team autographed baseballs from the many first games when he was asked to throw out the first pitch of the season. As you may be aware, the team led the minor leagues in attendance one season under GM Pat Williams, who left Spartanburg to become GM of the Philadelphia 76ers and then moved to Orlando Magic of the NBA. My father also threw out the first pitch at the last minor-league game ever played at Duncan Park. (It is now used for American Legion and high school games.) As a child I had the opportunity to see the Big Phillies play Pittsburgh Pirates at Duncan Park in an exhibition game. In the 1950s, our local team was the Spartanburg Peaches and the team was led by Rocco (Rocky) Colavito, who went on to star for the Cleveland Indians."
Thanks so much for sharing those comments, Wesley. Your father's picture from the 1973 Phillies program is pictured above. It was part of his "Message From the Mayor of Spartanburg" on Page 3 of the souvenir program. Mayor Stoddard's full message:
"Spartanburg is a great baseball community and we have been blessed by excellent teams furnished by the Philadelphia Phillies. Baseball is a great American game furnishing entertainment for both young and old. We receive untold national publicity through game accounts in newspapers, magazines, radio and T.V. I salute the wonderful fans of this area for their outstanding support and wish Ruly Carpenter, Howie Bedell and all the Phillies another successful season in 1973. We're proud of 'our Phillies' and invite you to attend the games often."