Thursday, 14 December 2017

A Century in Advertising - Part 12

A Century in Advertising - Part 12

My look at some of the advertisements and products of yesteryear. Some weird and whacky, some surprisingly still around today. Here are their stories.

1933 - ACME Beer

When I think of ACME, I always think of that fake company which sells gadgets to Wile E Coyote in his elaborate attempt to catch the Road Runner. But in fact there really was an ACME company producing beer.

The Acme Brewery of San Francisco was established in 1907 by Leopold Schmidt, owner of the Olympia Brewing Company of Tumwater

The aftermath of the April 18, 1906, fire and earthquake left San Francisco with few operating breweries, and a beer shortage soon followed. A $1,000,000 order was then placed with Schmidt's Bellingham Bay Brewery for beer to be shipped to the city. His Olympia Beer Company had been spared from the catastrophe and production had already ramped up at its Tumwater plant in order to meet the higher demand. Schmidt seized this opportunity for capturing market share, and set out to build his own brewery there in the City.

To oversee this new construction project Schmidt called upon William Schuldt, who was in management at his Oregon plant, the Salem Brewery Ass'n. In addition to Schuldt, a brewer that had recently joined the Salem organization, J.P. Rettenmayer, also went to SF. There the two men supervised the $100,000 plant project, and became principals in the new company.

The Acme Brewery was incorporated on April 11, 1907, with Leopold F. Schmidt, president; William Schuldt, secretary and manager; and Jacob P. Rettenmayer, treasurer. J.P. was also Acme's first brewmaster.

Acme issued numerous advertising pieces in the '30s & '40s, however very few items have survived from the 13 year period prior to Prohibition. Beer was outlawed along with other alcoholic drinks. The ACME company turned to other products, and it is at this time I like to think they manufactured fantastic gadgets for the coyote!

The ad shown above is one of the ads that set the whole west coast talking about Acme, weeks before Prohibition was ended, on April 7, 1933.

1934 - Electric Perm

This closely resembles something from James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein.

From the photo essay on 'Permanent Waves' "The hair above has been wet with alkaline solution wound tight around rods then covered with electrically-heated clamps. The solution opens the hairs sealy surface permitting steam produced by hot clamps on damp hair to penetrate the cells."

The technology at the time was not always successful. One report says this of the electric perm:

“A little girl I know emerged from a $5.00 permanent with a head that resembled that of a native of the Congo. Fortunately, she was supremely satisfied and just child enough for its tousled outline not to prove unbecoming. But the tragedy it might have been if it had chanced to alight on an older and more serious head as it might very easily have done ! And that is why I strongly urge a preliminary test.”

1935 - Butlins

Butlins (also Butlin's) is a chain of large holiday camps in the United Kingdom. Butlins was founded by Billy Butlin to provide affordable holidays for ordinary British families.

Billy Butlin's inspiration for his holiday camp empire came from an unhappy holiday on Barry Island in his youth, when he had been locked out of his bed and breakfast accommodation all day by his landlady, which was normal practice at the time.

Between 1936 and 1966, ten camps were built, including one in Ireland and one in the Bahamas. In the 1970s and 1980s, Butlins also operated numerous large hotels, including one in Spain, a number of smaller holiday parks in England and France, and a revolving restaurant in the Post Office Tower in London.

The holiday camp at Portelet in Jersey was founded by Nigel Oxenden, and passed to his daughter, Joy, who eventually sold it to holiday camp magnate Sir Billy Butlin. However, it never became an official part of the Butlin holiday camp chain.

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