Tuesday, January 3, 2017

From the readers: Ceresota Flour, axes, needles, root beer and more

I hope your 2017 is off to a dandy start. Here's the latest collection of comments and contributions from Papergreat's readers...

Another Victorian trade card featuring a child in imminent danger: This post concerned a Victorian trade card for Consolidated Milling Co. of Minneapolis. It features a young boy cutting toward himself, with a sharp knife, as he slices bread. I thought it looked horrifyingly dangerous.

Ruth Walker emailed recently to let me know about a 2014 Facebook post in which Albert Browne discusses the history of this illustration, which is more extensive than I could have imagined:
"Interesting little piece of family history: I was recently reminded that my grandfather Browne was a journeyman printer, photographer, and lithographer. While working in Minneapolis in the 1890s, he did the image for the Ceresota Flour label. This is the picture of the little boy with a floppy hat, sitting on a wooden stool and trying to cut a slice of bread from a loaf almost as big as the boy. My grandfather posed the picture, photographed it, and did the lithography. At that time, Minnesota was a major exporter of flour, and it was shipped all over the world. And everywhere it went, the label on the sacks and barrels was that same little boy. In its day, this logo became as well known as the Coca-Cola logo is today. You could buy a sack of flour in Turkey or Tibet, and see that same image. According to my aunt Amy, the little boy was a next door neighbor to the Brownes, and his parents were paid one dollar for the rights to use that image."
Indeed, here are some examples, from Google, of how the illustration was repeatedly used...

A few commenters on the Facebook post mention, as I do, the dangers of cutting toward yourself with a large knife. Others say that's just how it was done "back in the day." Browne himself states: "And as crazy as it looks, that's how people sliced bread a hundred years ago. At least, both of my grandmothers, (One Luxembourger, one Austrian) were still doing it in the 1940s."

Christmas-gift dust jacket on 1919 Harold Bell Wright novel: More fun with sharp objects. Mom writes: "Why is the guy walking down the path with his girl ... and AN AXE??!!! Talk about creepy."

Vintage Halloween postcard: "Make a ring of pumpkin seeds...": Venus, who lives in the Philippines and often leaves nice comments about Papergreat on Facebook, writes: "So now I know the relationship between pumpkins and Halloween."

"Prinzess Victoria" and a tiny old package of sewing needles: Patricia Lange writes: "I have EXACTLY the same packet of needles, but only 2 remain. The case is slightly damaged, however, I fancy the round zippered leather case and embroidered top. I wonder how much this is worth. It has sentimental values as it was my grandmother's and have no interest in selling it."

I'm guessing its value is extremely minimal, in terms of money. But, as you say, it is priceless in terms of family sentimental value.

Christmas Eve mashup: Infocom and Dan Fogelberg: Michael (‏@MadRadMike) commented on Twitter: "Friggin gold. Love the song and classic adventure games. Pretty clever!"

And Mom added: "Loved your Zorkesque piece in Papergreat. Sad at the end, though."

A label for Frostie Root Beer (a jailhouse-born beverage): A commenter dubbed "DayQuil" writes: "First tasted Frostie root beer when we moved to Texas in 1958. It had a distinctive taste then and the formula does not seem to have changed; it tastes the same now as it did then, which is a very good thing.

"In south Texas, Arlens Supermarkets stocks Frostie line and our store carries root beer, diet root beer, orange, grape and I believe cherry limeade. Their root beer is still a great beverage and I think their concord grape is the best of commercial grape soda.

"Keep up the good work, Interstate. It's nice to have a product retain its quality for almost 60 years of my life."

Check out Papergreat's ghosts of Christmases past: Sandy writes: "Wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog — really some interesting things you post here."

Thanks, Sandy! It means a lot that you took the time to post that. I'm glad you enjoy it.

Summer fun: Roller-skating, swimming and more at Playland: This comment from Ruby is almost certainly spam, but I found it amusing: "I have success in lose weight by skating. And now I love roller skating everyday."

1920 receipt from Magee Furnace Company of Boston: Maurice Guertin writes: "I own and (this time of year) regularly use a Magee Ideal 772 that has '1911' cast into the doors. It came with the house, originally built in 1850, that I purchased in 2015."

A Tyrannosaurus matchbox label, phillumeny and thoughts on Godzilla: Flemming Henningsen, who lives in Denmark and has been a phillumenist since the 1960s, writes: "I have now a new website showing a part of my Worldwide Collection. Please feel free to take a look here: www.phillumeny.dk"

Thanks for writing and sharing your link, Flemming. I can confirm that it's a great, deep site that y'all would enjoy, if you love ephemera.

Early 1900s Oilette postcard from Tuck's featuring snowball fight: Mom writes: "In today's postcard, it looks like they're doing the 'mannequin' thing that lasted about 2 weeks about 2 weeks ago. In my day, this was called 'statues'. Yes, we did it too."

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