Thursday, February 5, 2015

From 1904: Questionable ad for a hunting and fishing gizmo

This advertisement is featured on the back page of the July 25, 1904, issue of a hobby publication titled "Friendship Junior and Amateur Collector" (which I hope to write more about later).

The Eagle Claw is touted as follows in the advertising copy:

  • "A wonderful invention."
  • "Best trap in the world for catching fish, animals and all manners of game."
  • "Every fish, muskrat, or squirrel which bites at the bait is surely caught."
  • "Perfectly safe for children, will not rust."
  • "No. 1 is for all ordinary fishing, the ladies' favorite."

The post-paid cost of the smaller Eagle Claw was 30 cents, which is nearly $8 in 2014 dollars.

So ... I have some concerns.

First off, the design of this thing, as pictured, makes it appear incredibly inhumane. And I'm sure it was. It's also difficult to envision how this product was as effective as it claims. It looks like it would be messy, inconsistent and problematic. But then I've never been much of an angler or squirrel hunter.

Most importantly, I'm dubious about the claim that it's "perfectly safe for children." Now, I'm sure children were more rugged 111 years ago than today's videogame generation. Still, this looks like an invitation to a nasty injury. And if you didn't hurt yourself fiddling around with the Eagle Claw, you might be in for big trouble when dealing with an injured animal "captured" by it.

Do you think Mr. Wolf (or perhaps it's Mr. Coyote) in this illustration is going to be very happy about having its paw stuck? (Probably, though, the idea is that it makes him a sitting duck so that you can finish him off with Dad's rifle.)

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