Monday, February 13, 2012

"Wallpaper Does It," courtesy of Western Electric

This 16-page staplebound booklet, titled "Wallpaper Does It," was published in 1955 by George W. Stewart, and this copy was provided as part of the "Western Electric Booklet Rack Service For Employees."1

The wallpaper2 manifesto was written by Marni Wood and illustrated by Harrie Wood.

I can't find much additional information about the Woods, other than the fact that they co-authored a children's book titled "Something Perfectly Silly," which was published by A.A. Knopf in 1930. According to a roundup of new children's literature in the August 30, 1930, edition of The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Fla.), "Something Perfectly Silly" was "a nonsense book of gay limericks for young and old, illustrated with 30 full-page pictures in color."

So, a quarter century later, the Woods had moved on from limericks to wallpaper.

Here are some of Marni Wood's wallpaper insights, all direct quotes:
  • Wallpaper is the magician in the house. It seems to open solid walls, lift ceilings, and even make two rooms where one grew before.
  • On the cover [pictured above] two wallpapers accent the two areas in a living-dining room. An ordinary dining alcove becomes a garden room. Trellis paper, a bird cage and plants in the window, separate it distinctly from the rest of the room.3
  • Choose one of the many patterns that give the effect of depth for the long wall above your TV and record-player cabinets.4 You add space to your room without resort to hammer and saw.
  • Stripes work wonders on problem walls. For a too-low ceiling, vertical stripes on the walls (no border) make it seem a foot higher.
  • Stripes are a sure cure for a long, gloomy hall. Use light-colored, open pattern on side walls, and deep-toned paper on the end wall; striped paper across the ceiling, and floor tiles in cross stripes. Colors help the illusion.
  • Or try this scheme in a dinette with one of the new "edible" papers -- fish and fowl, herbs and lettuces, or fruits and vegetables. They are fun, gay, and mix or match beautifully with the new table linens.
  • Two strips of scenic paper as a panel over your bed won't break you, and will be an endless satisfaction.
I'll leave you with a couple more of Harrie Wood's illustrations from the booklet:

1. I featured another booklet from the "Western Electric Booklet Rack Service For Employees" last March in the post titled "The Future of America (57 years ago)."
2. An interesting note, via Wikipedia, on how Henry VIII affected the history of wallpaper. It seems that wallpaper's popularity in England increased following the king's separation from the Catholic Church in the 1530s. Previously, English aristocrats had imported tapestries from mainland Europe, especially France. But the split with Catholic Church affected trade with the mainland, and England had no tapestry manufacturers of its own. So it turned to wallpaper.
3. This would be easier to see if the cover had more than two colors (both of which are pukish).
4. Another Papergreat blast from the past. Remember this record cabinet?

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