Saturday, December 10, 2011

Postcard: Wishing Thoma
a Merry Christmas in 1913

Keeping up the Christmas theme, here's a colorful postcard that was mailed in December 19131 from Alexandria, Virginia, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Interestingly, there seems to be no indication of what company manufactured this postcard. There is a copyright symbol on the front. On the back, it states, "Series 318 A."

The postcard is addressed to Mr. Thoma2 J. Miller, 610 Schuykill [sic]3 Street, Harrisburg, Pa.

The note on the left-hand side of the back states, in cursive: "Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. From your Grandaughter [sic] Anna."

1. Around the time this postcard was mailed -- on December 21, 1913 -- Liverpudlian journalist Arthur Wynne published a "word-cross" puzzle in the New York World that is considered to be the first crossword puzzle. Check it out here.
2. Thoma is an interesting name. My understanding is that it's a common historical surname in Germany. (Here's one geneaology site that mentions it.) As a first name, it seems to be a bit less common, especially in the United States.
3. Americans have a long history of being unable to spell (or pronounce) Schuylkill correctly.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas recipes from The Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library

The 1971 Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library1, previously featured in posts on August 5 and October 19, is back with a pair of festive recipes for the holiday season. Happy baking!

Stained-Glass Cookies

Cereal Christmas Trees

1. When I first featured the Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library in August, you could buy a complete used set for about $30 on Amazon. Now, Amazon doesn't have any available, but there are plenty of sets to be had on eBay. It looks like you could could pay as little as $14 if you get lucky and don't face much bidding competition.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A pair of sad-sack old bookmarks

Sometimes, what you find tucked away inside an old book is not valuable or fascinating or exotic.1 Sometimes it's just ... an old bookmark.

Bookmarks inside books. Imagine that!

So, here are a couple of ratty bookmarks I have come across while sorting through books.

The first is for John Coyne's 1979 novel "The Legacy." The book is a novelization of the 1978 movie of the same name, for which the screenplay and story came from veteran Hammer screenwriter/director Jimmy Sangster.2

The film features Katherine Ross, Sam Elliott, Roger Daltrey of The Who and, of course, a cat.

The Berkley paperback, meanwhile, features ... a few hundred pages of Coyne's prose.3

Speaking of prose, the second bookmark is promoting the novels of Warwick Deeping4 (1877-1950), who had a serious-sounding name but was mostly associated with melodramatic historical romances. Titles listed include:
  • "Sorrell and Son" - The story of a great friendship between a father and a son is now a classic
  • "Old Pybus" - A novel of two generations, both misunderstood by the generation that stands between
  • "Doomsday" - A young English girl and her awakening to love
  • "Kitty"5 - A modern girl who fought for her love and her independence
  • "Uther and Igraine" - A medieval romance
Anyone ever read anything by Mr. Deeping?

Believe it or not, I've only posted about bookmarks three other times:
1. Speaking of cool things tucked away inside books, here's this season's official Papergreat Christmas Gift Recommendation: Michael Popek of the fabulous Forgotten Bookmarks blog has written a book featuring a collection of his best finds: "Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages." Clearly, we all need to buy a copy of this book and start tucking things between the pages.
2. Jimmy Sangster, who died this past summer (here's his obituary from The Guardian), wrote the screenplays for "The Curse of Frankenstein" and "Horror of Dracula" -- both of which featured Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
3. To be fair, Coyne's "The Legacy" does has a four-star (out of five) review on Amazon.
4. There was a Royal Navy vessel named the HMT Warwick Deeping, but I'm not sure if it's named after the writer.
5. The 1929 film version of "Kitty" is notable because it was one of the first British films with synchronized sound.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advertisements from the August 1963 issue of Farm Journal

Featured today are some advertisements from the August 1963 issue of Farm Journal (cover price, 25 cents). According to Farm Journal Media's history page:1 "Farm Journal was first published in March 1877 for farmers in the bountiful agricultural regions within a day’s ride of the publication’s office in Philadelphia. Founder Wilmer Atkinson was a Quaker, farmer and journalist who insisted that his publication disseminate commonsense information to farmers and their wives."

This is the "Eastern Edition" of the August 1963 issue and was originally mailed to Willard Faught of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. On the contents page, editor Carroll P. Streeter notes that recent changes to the magazine include the typography, "streamlined" writing and appearance, and a new section to give farmers tips on "borrowing money to make money, investing money to best advantage, how to save on taxes, tips on insurance, keeping yourself out of court" and more.

Articles in this issue include:
  • Fruit Storage for Half the Cost
  • Slats Buildings for All Types of Stock
  • Ways to Grow with a Bungalow
  • Why We Take a Dozen Vacations a Year2
  • Rigs That Speed Up Silage-Making
Now, on to some of the advertisements...

Western Auto Wizard freezer

This Western Auto advertisement touts the Wizard Upright, which stores 525 pounds of frozen food for $229.953, and the Wizard Deluxe "15" Chest Freezer, which stores 511 pounds of frozen food and costs $199.95.

Both appliances came with the free Wizard $200 Food Protection Plan, which guaranteed against losses from mechanical or electrical failure.

Salem Filter Cigarettes

Don't you just love the language they got away with in old cigarette advertisements? From this Salem ad, we have:
  • Springtime softness in every puff
  • Take a's springtime
  • You'll smoke with fresh enthusiasm when you discover the cool "air-softened" taste of Salem
Meanwhile, I wonder if that cigarette was added to the photograph afterward by an illustrator. It looks a little too big and a little too straight.

Also, that man looks like he could be her father. (OK, I'm done now.)

Klutch, for false teeth

Here's an advertisement for Klutch, a product designed to help hold your false teeth in place. According to the text, "KLUTCH forms a comfort cushion; holds dental plates so much firmer and snugger that you can eat and talk with greater comfort and security."

Klutch is still around. The product's box is pictured at right. I found a couple of amusing customer reviews on Amazon's product page:
  • "My Grandma who is 93 swears this product is it. It is the only thing she has ever used for her false teeth."
  • "I bought this thinking, 'How the heck does denture adhesive POWDER work??' Very well! I bought these for my vampire fangs, since I can never get the damn solution that comes with the fangs to hold them in place. With previous pairs of fangs, I used Fixodent but since it's pink, it stained the fangs pink :( But this dries clear and is easy to clean out! All I had to do was pour some into the fangs, shove it over my tooth, and wait for the saliva in my mouth to mix with the powder and they stayed put for quite a long time (a few hours, then I had to take them out to eat)."
Sounds like Klutch should get together with the vampire-fangs industry for its next advertising campaign!

A*C*M Fruit Saver

Finally, here's an advertisement for A*C*M Fruit Saver, a product offered by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

The advertising copy states: "When preserving fruit, add wonder-working A*C*M Fruit Saver. It keeps fruit from browning and enhances natural flavor. A single can protects up to 75 lbs. of fruit. Use on fresh fruit, too! Prepare fruit salads and desserts hours ahead of time. A*C*M Fruit Saver saves the fresh look, saves the fresh taste of your fruit."

The is no information about what ingredients are used in A*C*M Fruit Saver to create this preservation miracle. According to the product's old trademark page, it was a mixture of ascorbic acid and citric acid for treating fresh and preserved fruits and vegetables. The product, which came in the form of a dry powder, also contained lactose.

1. Here's another fun tidbit from the Farm Journal Media history page: "In 1982, when computer technology had become even more sophisticated, Farm Journal, in cooperation with printers R.R. Donnelley & Sons, became the first magazine in history to bind its issues electronically, thus customizing magazines based on readers’ crops, livestock, size and region. The May 1984 issue, for example, had 8,896 different versions."

2. In "Why We Take a Dozen Vacations a Year," Minnesota farm woman Ethelyn Pearson writes: "One-day vacations - instead of one long one - suit us best. ... Our one-day vacations give us five or six hours of carefree enjoyment when we need them most, not when the calendar says we can get away. We've never returned from such a day without feeling refreshed. No frantic rush getting ready; no pressure to catch up afterwards."

Ethelyn Pearson, by the way has an interesting claim to fame: hairless cats. According to this Shammicats Sphynx history page: "The first noted naturally occurring Sphynx came from Wadena, Minnesota on the farm of Milt and Ethelyn Pearson, who identified hairless kittens occurring in several litters of their barn cats in the mid 1970's." Furthermore, according to Wikipedia, these hairless female barn cats, Epidermis and Dermis, became an important part of the Sphynx breeding program.

And, yes, I'm absolutely giddy about how far off-topic I am at this point.

3. That was very pricey. It would be the equivalent of a $1,619 freezer today, according to The Inflation Calculator.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reader comments: Spelling, castles and the plague

The mailbag is again full with your great comments...

Excerpts from a 1937 travel brochure for Poland: Robert Forsythe, a transportation consultant and collector of railway ephemera in the United Kingdom, writes: "Always find this sort of thing very fascinating, especially if added railway interest as there is here. I have some spare communist-era travel leaflets for Poland available. If anyone wishes to contact me I will email a link."

Old business card for Hayes Flying Service: JT Anthony of A Pretty Book writes: "I also find the use of the word 'thru' interesting. I've used it for years, informally, but have seldom seen others using it. Grammar Girl suggests that spelling through as 'thru' could be part of Teddy Roosevelt's simplified spelling campaign. Perhaps the pilot was a fan. I also love the fact that the phone exchange in the phone number is OX, a real word."

I love JT's comment, because I had never known about the Simplified Spelling Board, which operated from 1906 to 1920. According to Wikipedia, "Roosevelt tried to force the federal government to adopt the system, sending an order to the Public Printer to use the system in all public federal documents. The order was obeyed; among the many documents printed using the system was the President's special message regarding the Panama Canal."

Indeed, through to thru is one of the changes indicated in the "Handbook of Simplified Spelling."

Saturday's postcards: Peaceful scenes from around the world: Justin Mann of Justin's Brew Review writes: "Regarding the removal of the apostrophe from 'Peggy's': I love the idea that this was a cost-saving measure. However, one must consider that the bridge may never actually have belonged to Peggy. Also, there may have been more than one Peggy involved. The world may never know."

For Sarah, ephemera about a castle: Blake Stough of Preserving York -- who is helping with the question about the The Bon-Ton Rental Library (more on that in the coming days) -- writes: "It's funny that you posted this, because my daughter and I were looking online at castles in Wales last week. We took it a step further and I showed her the castles from Google Maps, including Conway. We also used Street View to get an up-close look at them, just like if we were there, which was very cool. Give it a shot. You won't be disappointed."

Thanks, Blake. And I am, indeed, a Google Maps fanatic. And Google Earth might be the greatest invention of the 21st century.

Also regarding this entry, Justin Mann added: "If I had a dollar for every time I've used Legos in a teachable moment...well, I wouldn't even have a dollar, but that's beside the point. I am glad you seized that opportunity, not only for Sarah, but for us all because I sure got a good chuckle out of it!"

Bettina's Thanksgiving in the country (and more): Mel Kolstad of Ephemeraology writes: "Chris, what a veritable FEAST for Ephemeraologists! Thanks so much for posting this, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving! P.S. I LOVE hard sauce. It's a heart attack waiting to happen, but that's a small price to pay."

Fun facts & figures from Year 1 of Papergreat: Thank you for the many well-wishes on this anniversary post!
  • My wonderful wife writes: "I, for one, am very excited for Year Two and beyond! Papergreat rocks, and so do you."
  • JT Anthony writes: "Congratulations, a year of consistent and highly interesting blogging is indeed an accomplishment! I can't believe scaly leg made the top ten."
  • Justin Mann writes: "Congratulations, Chris! Here's to many more successful years of blogging! Keep up the great work."

An invitation to the 1946 Florence-Pope wedding: My wonderful mother writes, quite correctly, "This is an announcement, not an invitation. 'Please send a gift???' Maybe that's why it was tucked away!"

Mom also added this fun footnote to Zita Spangler: From St. John's Reformed to Rolling Green Park, in which I mention that the old carousel from Rolling Green Park was moved to Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey: "You and I have ridden on the carousel at Gillian's Wonderland in Ocean City, when you were very small."

Awesome!! Little did I know, when I was that tender age, that I would one day be writing an ephemera blog entry about the very carousel I was sitting on.

Old booklet for Harrisburg's Capital Roller Rink: Bernard Spring writes: "Wonderful blog! A 'place' showing material dear to my heart! -- Bernie, a dealer in ephemera for 25+ and a collector for twice as long,"

Worst Christmas present ever? Co-worker Amy Gulli of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, who blogs about motherhood for Smart, writes: "Oh, that says 'plague' all right! I've vote Bubonic, personally."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Awkward Christmas card idea from the past

Have you written and mailed your Christmas cards yet?

If not, here's an idea from the past that you might want to steal for your 2011 cards.

1. Draw a picture of your living room. (Or perhaps a living room you'd like to have.)

2. Add your family members and pet(s) to the drawing.

3. From real photos of yourselves, cut off the heads of your family members and pet(s).1

4. Paste the heads atop the illustrated versions of your family.

5. VoilĂ ! You have a Christmas card that all of your friends and family will be talking about for years!

6. Tell everyone where you got this grand idea. (Then again, maybe don't do that.)

Here's a closer look at the family from today's Christmas card. It has no date and no names, so they'll have to remain our anonymous idea benefactors.

1. Attention, kids! Please make sure you have your parents' permission before you start cutting the heads out of family photos.