Thursday, September 24, 2015

Advertising card: Autumn greetings from Rices Landing

Warning: This post rambles in many different directions. But they're mostly interesting ones

This undated vintage advertising card, which is about the size of a baseball card, celebrates autumn with an illustration that features two people dressed as if they're going to appear in a Shakespeare production, a large pumpkin and a platter filled with harvest goodies.

A short verse underneath states:

In the cool, dark days of autumn
when the earth is damp and cold,
we should wear out "Candee" rubbers,
they are "worth their weight in gold."

That verse, of course, is not Shakespeare. And, as a lover of autumn, I would disagree with characterizing it as cool, dark, damp and cold. It's a cheery time of beauty and warm colors, as I documented in a photo essay last photo.

Way back in the day — we're talking the 19th century — Candee rubbers were pioneering footwear invented by Leverett Candee (1795-1863). After a long career manufacturing other items, Candee, in the 1840s, licensed Charles Goodyear's rubber vulcanization process and became the first to manufacture rubber shoes. Those shoes are being advertised on this trade card.

Here's the back of the card:

We see that the particular Candee rubber shoe being advertised was The Belle, "a light croquet Alaska for ladies" with a "fine cloth top."

[Full disclosure: I have no idea what "croquet Alaska" means, in terms of shoe design. Or in terms of anything, really.]

These rubber shoes were available from Thomas Hughes in Rices Landing, Pennsylvania. The trade card states "Rice's Landing," with an apostrophe. There are numerous examples online of the town name with and without the apostrophe. I believe, however, that the correct name of the tiny borough in Greene County, southwestern Pennsylvania, is Rices Landing, with no apostrophe. That's how it's spelled on the official borough website and on the Wikipedia entry.

Rices Landing has an interesting history that dates to the 1770s and includes visits from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and important trading post at the then-edge of the Western frontier, and a stream named Pumpkin Run. It was officially incorporated in 1903 and saw its population swell to nearly 1,000 in the 1930s and 1940s before falling to fewer to 500 today.

Its most famous resident is Pennsylvania wrestler Cary Kolat, whose many athletic achievements include one of the most amazing mat moves you'll ever see on the high school level.

In 2009, Rices Landing elected Ryan Belski, who was then 20 years old, as its mayor.

The Thomas Hughes store were the Candee rubber shoes were sold still exists and is part of the Rices Landing Historic District, which was was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

For more on the colorful history of Rices Landing, check out this 2008 post on the Ten Mile Creek Country blog (which I hope someone preserves in one form or another before it vanishes).

Finally, here's the front of one more trade card for Candee rubber shoes, this one featuring Summer as its theme...

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