Imagine a Phone You Can Take Anywhere!

Product: Carry Phone
Date: 1967

Carry Phone: an early mobile phone

You’re out on a deserted beach with your favorite girl, nobody around for miles, nothing but sand, sun and sea — and suddenly your phone rings!

Groovy, man. It’s 1967 and the Carry Phone is the latest in portable technology. Weighing “only” 10 pounds and priced at just $3,000, the Carry Phone was predicted to “become as popular as the transistor radio.”

The old science magazines from the 1950s and ’60s were pretty far out with some of their predictions, but this article from a November 1967 Science & Mechanics was right on the money.

Of course, the phone had to get a little smaller. And the price had to come down a bit — that $3,000 price tag in today’s dollars would be a hefty $19,288.14.

But making a phone call from an airplane? Or while walking down the street? Yeah dude, I can dig it.

Carry Phone: an early mobile phone

1967 article: Carry Phone mobile phone

Click to enlarge.

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I’ll Have What She’s Having

Product: Listerine
Date: 1962

As the lady in the diner says after Meg Ryan’s famous O performance in When Harry Met Sally, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Honestly, who knew that gargling Listerine could be such a dreamy experience?

1962 Listerine Antiseptic ad

Click to enlarge.

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The Revolution Will Be…Plaid?

Product: h.i.s. Post-Grad Slacks
Date: 1969

Oh my my my. There’s so much you could say about this ad, and yet it’s almost better to let it speak for itself. Published in a Playboy magazine at the tail end of the ’60s, it was intended to epitomize all that was cool.

1969 ad for plaid pants; titled Slack Power

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Who Put the Snail in Mail?

Product: Zip codes, United States Postal Service
Date: 1969

1969 ad USPS snail mail

Bet you thought the term “snail mail” was added to the popular lexicon when email went mainstream in the early 1990s and postal mail came to seem so old school. I know I did.

So imagine my surprise when I came across this 1969 ad from the United States Postal Service with a huge Snail Mail headline. The ad explains that mail without a zip code would move at a snail’s pace.

Zip codes became mandatory in the United States in 1963. Six years later, this ad shows there was still a problem with getting the public to use them.

Incidentally, though “zip” actually stands for Zone Improvement Plan, the acronym was chosen to underscore how much more quickly postal codes could move the mail.

Wikipedia dates the earliest known use of the term Snail Mail to a 1981 Strawberry Shortcake episode, of all things. Guess I better mosey on over there and update the entry.

1969 ad USPS zip codes

Click to enlarge.

Sorry the enlarged ad — the one that comes up when you click on the thumbnail — isn’t bigger. Normally I try to scan the ads at a large enough size to read all the text. But I scanned this ad a couple of years ago and it’s a smaller size.

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