Quaint and Quirky Ads of the Past


The excellent Internet Archive is “a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.” It has recently sent me an email entitled  Quaint and Quirky Ads of the Past.

“In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, advertising exploded from a niche art form into a massive industry. Companies began to invest heavily in marketing their products, and many artists would supplement earnings by creating brand advertisements for print magazines. A century later, over 2,800 print graphics have been digitized and preserved in our Advertising Art in Magazines Collection.”

This one struck my fancy because of the word “husky.” As a kid growing up who wore clothes sometimes labeled as “husky,” I am fascinated by the development of the word since 1920.

Brand evolution

“Some household items that were popular from the 1900s to the 1930s remain pantry staples even today. Lipton Tea was marketed as “a glorious lift when you’re weary,” and Lifesavers were proclaimed “an amazing new taste sensation,” while Campbell’s Soup promoted itself as a luxury dinner party course without the hassle. While these brands didn’t retain the prestige they were attempting to claim (recipes like wine Jell-O aren’t an essential dessert for every occasion), advertisements from this time served their purpose of keeping these goods top of mind, even for today’s modern households.”

This is one bossy kid for 1913.

Cigarette Supremacy

“Before tobacco marketing was legally restricted, cigarette advertising was a big business. Popular brands such as Lucky Strike, Camel, and Chesterfield used visually-compelling imagery and memorable slogans, like “It’s toasted,” to differentiate themselves. Holidays were even fair game for promotions, with tobacco companies featuring Santa Claus as a smoker and brand ambassador for their products.”

Such a specific number of doctors endorsed “coffin nails” in 1930.

Likely Discontinued

“Over the past century, many goods have demonstrated their long-term viability. However, several others did not stand the test of time. Products that appeared helpful—such as the Pillow Inhaler (1869), designed to alleviate asthma, bronchitis, and lung ailments, or Magnetic Foot Batteries (1900) for warming cold feet—turned out to be nothing more than snake oil and were banned from sale. Similarly, the Pandiculator (1920), which claimed to improve health and height, was available from 1914 until malls prohibited it in 1942.”

If this brand is still available, as it was in 1946, I cannot find it. 

I’ve been donating a paltry $5.00 monthly to the Internet Archive. “Your monthly donation allows us to continue our work of advancing Universal Access to All Knowledge, and we couldn’t do it without you.

“Your ongoing giving helps us survive, thrive, and grow—ensuring that students, researchers, journalists, librarians, and curious citizens everywhere have access to our digital cultural heritage. Thanks to you, we have a dependable monthly income that helps us plan for the future, build long-term sustainability, and continue to provide consistent services to all our patrons, especially including those who may not be able to afford it.”

I may have to up my donation. 

This blog is old enough to vote

6,575 days in a row

This blog is old enough to vote. It’s Eighteen, and I like it!

In February, fillyjonk wrote: “It’s weird to think of how much stuff I’ve lived through in the time I have been writing this blog.” I realized how true that was.

Bloggers who get up and write a post or create one the night before are remarkable. I cannot do that anymore, though I wrote that way for the first three years when scheduling a post on the Blogger platform was not an option.  Now the idea makes me exhausted.

I try to write every day, but it won’t necessarily be posted soon. If there is something I know I want to say about Labor Day, I’ll write it, even if it’s July. If I don’t know what to write about, I create a music year post because I know that in October 2029, I will need a post about the #1 hits of 1999.

Also, I rearrange my posts like crazy. I wrote several blog posts in succession when I saw many movies.  But I didn’t want to post many reviews in a row. My working theory is that if whatever I post about today doesn’t strike your fancy, maybe tomorrow’s item will be more to your liking.

Also, some posts are time-sensitive, while others can be pushed back a day or a week. I have about a half dozen posts, which are evergreen. You may never see them unless I become seriously ill or injured.


Ultimately, I blog for two reasons. One, which I’ve stated several times, is that I don’t know what I think about many issues until I write about them. Sometimes, I change my mind, at least in part, or at least see another point of view.

Oddly, I don’t LIKE writing about divisive topics. Yet, I can’t NOT write about them sometimes. For instance, there have been four Presidents, and I penned something about all of them; unfortunately, there is too much about one in particular.

To my recollection, I never wrote about abortion before Roe was overturned. I never felt that I had to. And now I do.

I never want to write about race here. And I never cannot, mainly when it involves someone dying unjustly, such as here or here.

The other reason for blogging is about community.  When I started writing, I made electronic acquaintances with some folks on my friend Fred Hembeck’s link page.

My dedication to this enterprise prompted the Times Union to ask me to blog there from 2008 to 2021. I’ve kept in touch with some of those folks even after the TU killed the community blog.

I was involved with ABC Wednesday for over twelve years, even running it for five years.

Initially, I participated in Sunday Stealing as a quick way to write a post. I’ve found I like making and receiving comments from those folks.
How long?

I don’t know how long I’ll keep up this daily blogging routine. Part of it is dealing with the technological part. When Kelly was having functionality problems with his blog, it discouraged me. Occasionally I have technical difficulties, and I cannot fix them myself.

I hope that the site will survive me via the Internet Archive, “a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

The first five years of my blog are still available here. And my emergency backup is out there somewhere.

Library and data geek stuff

universal broadband

Suddenly, I had a whole bunch of data geek links. These involve sources I used, primarily when working as a business librarian. While at it, I figured I’d plug in some local library events.

ITEM: New York State is approaching universal broadband through both access and adoption—and recognizes that affordability is a crucial barrier to adoption.

Late last month, I attended a meeting hosted by the local United Way and other entities, including the Albany Public Library, as part of a “listening tour” to identify shortfalls in broadband access.

You can guess some folks affected- poor communities, rural communities, and the elderly.  The day I went to the meeting, I saw this story on  CBS News about teens helping seniors learn to use technology. This type of innovative partnership could be replicated across the country.

ITEM: Discovering the American Community Survey – A comprehensive guide to survey information, data access, analysis, and statistics for America’s most extensive survey. If you know the history of the Census, you may realize that the current decennial census asks very few questions. The ACS gathers some of that more detailed data formerly collected from the Census long form.

Also, the new and improved Census Business Builder? Version 5.1 is “A Powerful Tool to Help Guide Your Business Decisions.” I know one of the people who developed this free product.

More tools: These NYS GIS Clearinghouse: Discover free public data, maps, apps, and other resources

Atlas of Urban Areas in New York State

How Can You Help the Internet Archive? This site includes the Wayback Machine, a means to find defunct or changed websites

Local library info

The National Library Week Soiree is on Wednesday, April 26 at 6 pm at the Bach branch of the Albany Public Library, sponsored by the FFAPL:get tickets here.

Book reviews and author talks at the 161 Washington Avenue branch of the APL in the large auditorium Tuesdays at noon.

April 11 | A tribute to the late poet Charles Simic, who published over 60 books, won the Pulitzer Prize, & was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, by Gene Damm of FFAPL.
April 18 | Author Talk | Patricia A. Fennell, MSW, LCSW-R, scientist & clinician, discusses her  book, Managing Chronic Illness Using the Four-Phase Treatment Approach: A Mental Health Professional’s Guide to Helping Chronically Ill People.
April 25 | Book Review | Number One Is Walking:  My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions, a graphic autobiography by Steve Martin & Cartoonist Harry Bliss.  Reviewer:  John Rowen, former president, Friends of APL.
I want to plug Patricia Fennell’s talk, as she’s a buddy of mine.
More library stuff
May 2 | Book Review | Milkweed Smithereens by Bernadette Mayer.  Reviewer:  Bob Sharkey, poet & member of the board, Hudson Valley Writers Guild.  (Rescheduled from 14 March, when a snowstorm closed the library.)
May 9 | Book Review | Myth America:  Historians Take On the Biggest Legends and Lies about Our Past , edited by Kevin M. Kruse & Julian E. Zelizer.  Reviewer:  John McGuire, PhD, attorney.
May 16 | Book Review | Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers.  Reviewer:  Carl Strock, author & prize-winning journalist.
May 23 | Author Talk | Israel Tsvaygenbaum, artist, discusses & reads from his memoir, My Secret Memory.
May 30 | Book Review | Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond.  Reviewer:  Anita Thayer, attorney.
June 6 | Book Review | The Quiet Zone:  Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence by Stephen Kurczy.  Reviewer:  David Guistina, “Morning Edition” anchor & senior producer, WAMC.
June 13 | Book Review | The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  Reviewer:  Andrea Nicolay, director, APL.
June 20 | Special Program | Dave Kibbe, an authority on Broadway musicals, will present From Oklahoma to the Austrian Alps: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
June 27 | Book Review | A Conspiracy of Mothers, a novel by Colleen Van Niekerk.  Reviewer:  Miki Conn, author, poet, artist, storyteller.


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