Tuesday, February 3, 2015

More magazine adverts from 1907

Since the set of these I posted last week was a big hit with readers, I'm adding some more. The McClure's cover at the right is from 1901, a wintery scene with washed out colors and clouds of steam and smoke lifted by a wind against a gray sky.

I like that the illustration is divided into three parts, with utility poles to the right and left and straight power lines connecting them across the top. A study in verticals and horizontals that frames a snow-covered field and gives a chilly effect.

It occurs to me that The New Yorker continues this tradition of cover art today, while being full of similar content underwritten by full page ads. Big difference in the newsstand price, though. Ten cents vs. $7.99.

Here they are. Most interesting to me is the suspenseful drama portrayed in the Smith & Wesson ad. Then, for pure whimsy there's the ad for phonograph records, with the silhouette of a madcap dancer (be sure to read the copy for this one, too.)

Older readers here may recognize the Pullman porter serving up Cream of Wheat. Note also that Welch's Grape Juice is being sold as a health drink and that Kellogg's Corn Flakes cost more west of the Rockies.


















Blowing my own horn: For an in-depth, two-volume survey of early writers of frontier fiction, read How the West Was Written (to obtain a copy, click here).

Image credits:
Wikimedia Commons
Google Books

Coming up: Guy Vanderhaeghe, A Good Man

10 comments:

  1. I think I am seeing Eddie Anderson, Jack Benny's Rochester. Am I right?

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    1. A reasonable connection, given prevailing stereotypes, though Anderson himself (1905-1977) would have been too young in 1907.

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  2. cool. These old ads are fascinating. Such an interesting study of society.

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  3. A treasure trove of social history.

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  4. My other guess is Bill Bojangles Robinson, who was born in 1878.

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  5. Ron, I love going through these vintage magazines as much for the content as for the ads which often told their own story. I also remember the little black and white classified ads from publishers inviting readers to submit their manuscripts and become a novelist overnight.

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  6. What happened to Egg-o-See? Doing a little research, I see it was served for breakfast on railroads in 1914. This is what I found. Cereal companies must have been the Internet start-ups of the early 20th century. A Mr. Kelsey came to Quincy and proposed building a cereal plant in Quincy sometime prior to 1903. John Cassidy, owner of a stock company in Quincy and all around promoter, lined up initial investors. Kelsey was replaced with John Linihan from Battle Creek who had a better process for making cereal flakes. The company opened about April 1903 and expanded rapidly to about 200 employees within a year or so. In 1905, Cassidy acquired Cero Fruito Breakfast Food company in Battle Creek, MI. This was the plant that had originally been managed by John Linihan.

    Meanwhile Cassidy got involved in starting up an electric company and a gas company in Quincy. He also became the primary promoter/funder of a local college in Quincy. The electric company was sold back to the original electric company with investors taking a loss. The gas company failed to go live. And the college failed with investors taking a large loss.

    Cassidy then relocated to Chicago as president of Egg-o-see around 1906. In 1908, Egg-o-see went into receivership as creditors were concerned that Egg-o-see had never been profitable. Liabilities were around $635,000 with payables overdue, and assets about equal to the liabilities. Cassidy was charged with improper use of funds to the amount of about $110,000. Receivership ended favorably in Feb 1909 and the executive office was relocated to Quincy with Linehan in charge.

    Egg-o-see changed its name to United Cereal Mills in March, 1910. The company seems to be doing well in 1915. Their main products are Washington Crisps, E-C Corn Flakes and Egg-O-See. The company has some food restrictions in 1918 due to WW1 and a strike by the women workers over wages and hours, but continues on. [Continues on until when? Probably the Great Depression] Thanks, Ron. Fascinating.

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    1. Thanks for all this. Wikipedia relates a fairly detailed account of Cornfllakes, which originated in 1895 as a health food by an Adventist entrepreneur, John Harvey Kellogg, in Battle Creek, MI.

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  7. Really interesting to look at how front pages change, or don't change or return to past styles. So what is the elitist trend?

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