Saturday, July 28, 2018

How to improve your luck in 1936

These two advertisements appear toward the back of the The Illinois Herb Company Almanac for 1936 (which I will surely be writing about separately in the future).

The first advertisement touts the "benefits" of a lodestone, which is a naturally magnetized rock mineral. The breathless copy, targeting folks susceptible to the belief that they need a little magic in their lives, states: "There is something mysterious and attractive in the magnetic power of this Full Strength Magnetic Lodestone. Many people call it the Luck Bringer. They carry it as a Luck Piece, claiming they are Lucky and Successful in Everything they undertake and would not be without it for any price."

Regarding price, the cost of this genuine lodestone advertised 82 years ago, in the midst of the Great Depression, was one dollar. The single dollar could have also bought a 1936 family (these are rough estimates) 6.5 pounds of pork loin roast, at least 10 loaves of bread, 20 pounds of bananas, or five dozen eggs.

* * *

For a less money — 50 cents, the equivalent of $9 today — you could have purchased the Lucky Number Dream Book. This advertising copy states: "Not only does the Lucky Number Dream Book give you the explanation of your Dreams but it also gives your Lucky Days and Numbers; Good Combinations to play; the rules of learning saddles, gigs and horses..."

Oh, so you're spending less money up front, but this book would "help" to "guide" you in spending the remainder of your bread money on gambling and horse racing. Wonderful.

It also states that the book contains Napoleon's Oraculum. According to The Public Domain Review: "The Oraculum had been originally discovered in one of the Royal tombs of Egypt during a French military expedition of 1801, and at Napoleon's request was translated by a famous German scholar and antiquarian. Apparently consulting it 'before every important occasion', the book became one of the emperor's most treasured possessions. It was found among his personal possessions after the defeat of his army at Leipzig in 1813 and translated into English in 1822."

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