Smoking Sucks

Product: Ohio-Tuec vacuum cleaner
Date: 1920

Don’t you just hate it when your man leaves his cigarette butts on the good carpet?

1920 Ohio-Tuec vacuum cleaner ad


1920 Ohio-Tuec vacuum cleaner ad

Click to view full ad.

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Got Bedbugs?

Product: Niagara Squirter
Date: ca 1900

Bedbugs got you down? No problem. The Niagara Squirter is a “great thing to kill bedbugs with.”

Plus it’s nickel plated.

Nice.

antique water squirter

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A Plague Upon You…Unless You Use Lysol

Product: Lysol Disinfectant
Date: 1931

1931 Lysol disinfectant ad

Marketers know that few things work better than a scare tactic or two when it comes to compelling people to buy a product. Witness this 1931 ad from Lysol that uses the Bubonic Plague as its central image. The text tells you that those silly people in the Middle Ages didn’t know that germs caused illness. Oh, silly dead people.

But thank goodness we live in 1931 and we know better: Germs are the cause of disease. And oh, by the way, Lysol kills germs real good.

Nowhere does it actually say that the Black Plague is a threat in the 20th century, yet the headline, the illustration, and the text combine to deliver several unspoken messages:

  • You can protect yourself against horrible sicknesses — the Plague, for crying out loud! The Plague! It could happen. You never know.
  • You can feel smart when buying this product because you know about the causes of disease, unlike those “ignorant” people of long ago.
  • You can feel proud when buying this product because it is thoroughly modern…and so are you.

And P.S., it’s good for “feminine hygiene” too.


1931 Lysol disinfectant ad

Click to enlarge.

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Pimp My Chair

Product: Foot’s Chair-Couch
Date: 1911

1911 Foot's reclining chair ad

La-Z-Boy ain’t got nothing on this bad boy. In fact, years before La-Z-Boy came on the scene, there was already a deluxe recliner called the Burlington. Check it out:

  • The back goes up and down at the press of a button
  • The arms swing out for make getting in and out easy
  • The leg rest goes up and down so you can lounge at whatever angle you please. Don’t want a foot rest? It slides away.
  • It comes with four attachments: a table, a tray to hold your book upright, a side tray for your drinkie-drinks, and a light. All adjustable, all removable.

As if all that weren’t enough, the upholstery is also “exceptionally soft and deep” with spring elastic edges. This thing’s so comfortable, it’s not even sure if it’s a chair or a couch — it’s a chair-couch.

Yet where is this company today? A Google search on “Foot’s chair-couch” and several variants yields nothing, not even historical archives or collector groups. The La-Z-Boy people claim to have created “the first chair of its kind” when they released their upholstered recliner in 1929. I think not. But what’s that they say about the winners writing history? Foot’s is now just a Footnote.


1911 Foot's reclining chair ad

Click to enlarge.

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