Thursday, February 9, 2017

Advertising card: Rising Sun Stove Polish, a goat and a cat

There's always a good laugh to be had from a goat that charges toward its reflection on a shiny oven. This has happened to everyone at least once, right?

This old advertising card for Rising Sun Stove Polish measures 3¼ inches by 5¾ inches. It's printed on flimsier paper than most advertising cards, but has held up fairly well over the decades.

On the front, as you can see, a goat has charged into the kitchen, targeting its reflection on the newly polished oven and upsetting pots and pans, a husband and wife, and a tabby cat. The man appears to be holding a switch to shoo the goat, but it's too little, too late. The caption states:
"Mrs. Murphy, did I not tell you if you used the Rising Sun Polish to keep that goat out."
According to Digital Commonwealth, an archive of Massachusetts ephemera, this advertising card is circa 1870 to 1900. It was published by Burrow-Giles Lith. Co. of New York.

The Rising Run Stove Polish, which cost 10 cents, was sold exclusively by Morse Bros. of Canton, Massachusetts. Here are some excerpts from the advertising spiel on the back:

  • "For beauty of polish, saving of labor, freeness from dust, durability and cheapness, truly unrivalled in any country"
  • "CAUTION — Beware of worthless imitations under other names, put up in similar shape and color intended to deceive."
  • "Beware of being humbugged by peddlers with liquid Polishes (paint) and Pastes said to be self-shining which stain the hands, pit the iron and fill the house with a poisonous and sickening odor when heated. The Rising Sun Polish is the best attainable result of seventeen years experience. A five-ounce package costs ten cents."

If we split the difference on the estimated dates of this card and assume that it's from 1885, that 10-cent product cost would equate to a rather reasonable $2.71 today. So you would have been best off using Rising Sun and not the "poisonous" knock-offs. (Assuming that having a shiny stove was something that mattered to you in the first place.)

Rising Sun Stove Polish Company was in existence from 1865 to 1914. Here's a little about its history from the Historical Canton wiki:
"The Rising Sun Stove Polish Company was started by Elijah Morse who after his service in the Civil War began selling stove polish door to door based upon a formula gained from a Harvard Chemistry Professor. Although Morse owned land on Depot Street in Sharon the town did not allow him to build a factory fearing it would interfere with Sharon’s image as a pastoral retreat from the city. Morse then rented space above Wentworth Market and by 1883 had built his own factory on Washington Street. Upon Morse’s death in 1896 the company was controlled by his sons who saw the demand for stove polish drop forcing the company to close by 1914."
As a final fun note, The Painted Ad blog has a nice post about the discovery of a ghost sign for Rising Sun Stove Polish.

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