Friday, June 8, 2012

An Unfortunate Name

Get your FREE sewing machine here.

I've been going through the 1910 era magazines I have purchased off  eBay to research my digital trilogy Threshold Girl,Diary of a Confirmed Spinster and Biology and Ambition (well, I have a Ladies Home Journal from 1902, 1906 and 1909) and Delineators from 1909, 1911 (I think) and a Pictorial Review from 1910 and a 1913 Harper's Bazar (that's how they spelled it back then).

Just to find things to write about and I saw this full page advertisement and realized, for the first time, how funny it is.

The brand of sewing machine didn't catch on, and no wonder! The President's name is W.F. Free. Lucky his business didn't succeed and become a huge company like,say, Bell. What an unfortunate name for a businessman. (Imagine if Alexander Graham Bell had been called Mr. Shoddy, Mr. Inaudible, Mr. Tinny. )

Weird thing is, this ad has the word FREE written in BOLD 18 times in the copy.

The Delineator (which went out of business in the 30's morphing into Butterick Patterns) made its money off patterns, so ads weren't so important in that magazine. They still had some though.

The Pictorial Review actually claims in the editorial of the edition I have that it turns down thousands of dollars worth of potential advertising each month.

And the Ladies' Home Journal, well, that magazine's publishers understood the symbiotic relationship between advertising and editorial material. Indeed, it was the favorite magazine of  the J. Walter Thompson Agency, that promoted many of the new brands that were to become household names during the century.

That agency cut down on copy and created lifestyle ads like the Ivory one below. In my days (I was born in 54, Ivory was the product still claiming to be 99.999% pure. What I didn't know is that the PURE word was ubiquitous in 1910. Indeed, 1910 was the era of the "Purity Movement."

There were many reasons why many, many, many products claimed to be 'pure' - some good reasons and not so good reasons.

The Ladies' Home Journal  contained lighter (as in more trivial) editorial copy than the Delineator, which dealt with the pressing social issues of the day.. Below is a snapshot  of the cover of the 1909 Ladies Home Journal. (Yes, my magazines are all falling to pieces.) Notice how beautiful the hair on the woman in the drawing is.

Many older people have told me that women's hair was much more beautiful 'in the old days.' The 1902 Ladies' Home Journal I have on hand (which has a picture of a lady golfer on the cover) has a bit about hair care. DO NOT WASH YOUR HAIR MORE THAN ONCE EVERY TWO OR THREE WEEKS says the article.

And there's the rub... to make a pun.

The article in question is Good Health for Girls. The article says 'the effect of shampooing should be carefully watched."  Tincture of green soap is what they say to use with a bit of ammonia if you have oily hair and soda if you want.  Then tar soap is rubbed on. And you must rince rince rince. And since you are likely doing this by filling and refilling  AND REFILLING a basin with water, no wonder you don't want to wash your gorgeous tresses this too often.

Oddly, there's an ad for a shampoo in the same magazine a few pages later. The ad says "Many shampoos will cleanse, but do it to the detriment of the hair."

Of course girls and women of that era famously brushed their hair 100 strokes a night. My mom told me to do that in the 60's.

 But I was a teen in the 60's and all these new products were coming out. Summer Blond. PSSSST dry shampoo. I simply RUINED my hair with these products.

Only in my 30's (after going au naturel for over a decade) did I realize I had beautiful glossy thick hair and that split ends weren't normal.

And then my hair got a little gray so I started getting streaks, which looked OK (cost a fortune!) but last time I went to the hairdresser something happened, because a blob of my hair FELL OUT.

I am not going back, grey be damned! Of course, the hairdressers are the first to tell you these popular shampoos damage your hair. They want to sell you their ultra expensive brands!  I'm not naming names, but the most popular brands, that often use famous actresses with glorious tresses to promote them to the public, are the worst, according to my hairdressers.  It's the chemicals in the shampoos.  Silicon is bad, supposedly.  But that's consumerism, isn't it, creating a need where one didn't exist before!

Below is a picture I took off my website. It's a small pastel of someone at Flora's college in 1911. Maybe it's the girl Flora HATES, because she is so pretty. Read about it in Threshold Girl my FREE ebook.

You can't tell here (because I snipped this pic from my website) but the hues in the hair are gorgeous. A woman called Helen Buzzell painted it. She was a fellow student with Flora.  Imagine, the little pastel has been in an old trunk for 100 years!

Here. I found the drawing nearby and snapped a pic.

I mention this Bell Ad in Diary of a Confirmed Spinster. The telephone is used to console.