My look at some of the advertisements and products of yesteryear. Some weird and whacky, some surprisingly still around today. Here are their stories.
1939 - Television Set
Andrea Radio Corporation was started in 1934 by Mr. Frank A. D'Andrea. The company sold radios in the early days, and also offered pre-war television kits and factory assembled models. Imagine assembling your own TV!
The Andrea Radio Corporation was a leader in radio production in the 1930’s and displayed one of the first television sets at the 1939 World Fair. The Company was known for producing the “Cadillac of Televisions” in the 1950’s and flew into space providing the audio intercom system for the Mercury space capsules in the early 1960’s.
1940 - Phosferine
Estelle Hargraves has this comment:
"In line with standard “cure-all” advertising, Phosferine is claimed to help with a list of ailments as long as your arm – depression, headache, indigestion, brain fag, neuralgia, sleeplessness, influenza, rheumatism, sciatica, anaemia, debility and neurasthenia. Because all those things have the same treatment, of course. I thought 'Brain fag' was one of those diagnoses that didn’t exist anymore, like hysteria and brain fever, but apparently it’s a thing in Nigeria now, suffered by overworked students."
"The British Medical Journal was on the case of anything calling itself a “secret remedy”, and was looking at the composition of this and other tonics back in 1911. It analysed it and found it to be mainly water, alcohol, quinine and phosphoric acid. And a bit of sulphuric acid thrown in as well – I’m not a chemist, but that’s not good as an ingredient, is it?"
1941 - Colgate
Colgate is an umbrella brand principally used to sell oral hygiene products such as toothpastes, toothbrushes, mouthwashes and dental floss. Manufactured by the American consumer-goods conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive, Colgate oral hygiene products were first sold by the company in 1873, sixteen years after the death of the founder, William Colgate. The company originally sold soap.
Colgate was the first toothpaste in a collapsible tube, introduced in 1896 in New York City. It had been sold in glass jars since 1873
In 2007, the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK told Colgate that it could no longer make the claim that 4 out of 5 dentists recommended Colgate. Investigation had showed that the study had telephone surveyed dentists to list toothpastes they recommended, and their competitors were recommended at similar rates. The claim was deemed deceptive
Regarding the advert pictured, bad breath wasn’t perceived as a medical condition until one company realized that it could help them sell mouthwash - Listerine. But other companies, like Colgate also realised they could also offer a remedy to the emerging middle classes to cater to this social anxieties with minty toothpaste.
As Rachel Weingarten, noted: "the idea that mint equals freshness is more of an illusion than anything else. It's a triumph of advertising."