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Thursday
Mar082012

The bigger the box, the bigger the reward

This 1913 newspaper advertisement for The Arcade Bakery in Placerville, California insisted that the bigger the box of candy you brought home to your wife, the bigger the... ahem... "reward."

You will be well rewarded if your visit includes the offering of a box of our candy. The bigger the box the bigger the reward.

Take a box with you next time you call. Its contents will make you doubly welcome and your reception more than cordial. The woman who could resist our delicious candy doesn't exist.

From the March 1, 1913 Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California).

Interestingly, the Mountain Democrat still exists and touts itself as "California's Oldest Newspaper," having been established in 1851.

Tuesday
Mar062012

Is the stock market gambling? (1912)

In 1912 almost all forms of gambling were illegal in the United States. A handful of states allowed betting on horse races, but that was pretty much it.

It wasn't until the Great Depression in the 1930s that gambling laws loosened, as gaming was seen by some as a way to stimulate the U.S. economy.

This illustration by Will Crawford appeared in the August 28, 1912 issue of Puck magazine and asked what was the difference between betting at the roulette table and betting in the stock market?

Watching the tape or watching the wheel -- what is the difference morally?

If it is legal to gamble in Wall Street, why isn't it legal to gamble in the West Forties?

Source: Library of Congress

Monday
Feb272012

Shaking Hands Like a Dude

"The dude" circa 1884 (Library of Congress)Gizmodo recently wrote about the fact that no one can quite seem to figure out where the word "dude" came from. The piece links to an Oxford etymologist who has a few theories, most of which are rooted in the mid and late 1890s.

I found an interesting definition of "dude" in the April 26, 1893 Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania). The article is credited to Robert Graves, and looks like it originally appeared in the Philadelphia North American before being published in other newspapers throughout the U.S.

The word "dude," according to Graves, means an American man who is pretending to be British through his accent and style of dress. Not only that, but dudes have a peculiar style of handshake which Graves describes as "iditotic." President Cleveland, upon meeting a dude, is even quoted as saying that he would never make any man Minister who shook hands like a dude.

Graves explains his definition of a "dude":

A dude in my classification is a man who aspires to social distinction for elegant personal appearance and seeks it through the mediumship of affectation or dress or speech. He is a dude, or something akin to one, who imitates the apparel and pronunciation of words supposed to exist chiefly in some foreign city, notably London. He is a dude who puts on a box coat and buys a large cane and a pair of red shoes and adopts a certain mode of wearing them, this mode being obviously an affectation or imitation. He is a dude who lisps or makes an effort to broaden his "o's" and to lengthen his "a's" or to ape an imaginary artistocracy in any other manner. Washington is full of such dudes.

 The article specifically mentions the way in which a "dude" carries his cane and wears his gloves:

One cannot go upon the streets in this town without coming upon hundreds of men who carry their canes in their left hand, grasping the sticks by the middle, never permitting them to touch the ground and swinging them with a certain swing that you recognize without my attempting to describe it. This is only one of the rudiments of dudism. To carry a cane in this manner is an affectation and if a man indulges in this style and adopts no other attribute of dudism he is entitled to be put down as one of the class of whom I am writing.

The writer goes on to explain how a "sensible" man carries his cane:

A sensible, well-balance man carries a cane because it is a cane or a walking stick. He puts it on the ground a part if not all of the time. In other words, he uses it as it was intended to be used and for the purpose for which it was designed. Just as soon as he adopts the plan of carrying it by the middle, never touching the ground with it, he confesses that he is not natural; that he is not using the stick for convenience or for the comfort which almost every man finds in having something in his hand, but for show, for ostentation.

Graves goes on to explain that gloves shouldn't be for show as the dude uses them, but again for practical purposes:

So it is also with the gloves. I was brought up in the country and was there taught by my plain old mother that neither one's handkerchief nor one's gloves should be made an article of display or adornment.

He continues that "one wears gloves in order to keep the hands warm," and insists that "a glove cannot be made an article of display without violation of good taste."

Interestingly, the article goes on to explain that dudes have their own way of shaking hands:

In addition to the forms of affectation which I have mentioned, they shake hands with their fists on a level with their chins, and then don't shake at all, but clasp, press gently and make one upward motion from the elbow joint. Plenty of men who are old enough and otherwise able enough to have better sense indulge this idiotic style of handshake.

The article tells the story of President Grover Cleveland, who was apparently surprised by a dude who arrived at the White House as a candidate for a foreign minister position:

A few weeks ago we had here a rather enjoyable story of a candidate for appointment as a foreign Minister who went up to the White House and greeted Mr. Cleveland with one of those shakes and was immediately afterward given the shake himself. He has gone home -- oddly enough he lives in the West -- to meditate upon Mr. Cleveland's decisive commentary that he would "never send as Minister from this country a man who shook hands like a dude."

Wednesday
Feb082012

Clifton's "Pacific Seas" Cafeteria (1940s)

After reading about today's unveiling of the old Clifton's Cafeteria facade in downtown Los Angeles, I thought I'd share this photo from the amazing book Orange Roofs, Golden Arches by Philip Langdon. 

There were actually six cafeterias opened by Clifford E. Clinton, starting with his first in downtown Los Angeles in 1931 (Clifton's is an amalgam of his first and last names).

The Clifton's Cafeteria pictured above is the "Pacific Seas" themed Clifton's, which was opened after Clinton's 1939 vacation in Hawaii. Clinton returned to Los Angeles with the idea for a tropical paradise themed restaurant. It was located at 618 S. Olive Street in Los Angeles but sadly closed its doors on June 17, 1960. A photo of the interior of the cafeteria is below.

The Clifton's that remains in downtown Los Angeles was purchased by a new owner in 2010 and is currently undergoing renovations.

Tuesday
Feb072012

Profile: the bread for dames and dolls (1959)

And here I thought that gendered bread was a relatively new thing. This ad for Profile Bread appeared in the January 15, 1959 issue of the Corsicana Daily Sun (Corsicana, TX).


 

The ad touts Profile Bread as a way for women to control their appetites:

There is all sorts of stuff you can eat before a meal to help control your appetite.

But Profile Bread brings you the delectable pleasure of a truly new bread treat -- that's why most folks are saying, "Profile Bread is my choice.

Brought to you by the bakers of Wonder Bread:

Thousands upon thousands of dames and dolls who never watch their weight enjoy this famous Profile Bread for its wonderful flavor and delectable toasting quality.

Drop a slice into your toaster -- hear those little wheat flakes pop and crackle -- taste the wonderful nut-sweet flavor.

Profile toast is a breakfast must in thousands of happy homes.

Profile is the only truly new kind of bread in a century of baking -- new in looks -- taste -- food value and toasting quality -- utterly new and different.

Profile Bread is being gobbled up so fast, your grocer may be sold out -- so place an order to be sure you get this wonderful new kind of bread or shop early before the mobs have taken it all away.