Things We Bought in ’28

And look! You could even get a FREE copy of the Declaration sent to you! No handling fee; just postage.

Creature Comforts of 1928

As I write to you on this sweltering, oppressive August day, I find two words most lovely: frigid air. Indeed, frigid air has been welcome since Frigidaire was founded 103 years ago.

God bless frigid air, the choice of the majority. Such a democratic institution, nestled in its own kitchen nook.

But they didn’t have the monopoly on fridges. Behold the GE model, where all four food groups fit just swell–even wine, which was illegal to sell.

No drain-pipe? Sign me up! Drain pipes are the worst! But you know what’s the best? Running water. You should try it. It’s a “boon to health and pleasure.” You better believe it, sister. Simply turn the handle and PRESTO, legit water appears!

And now that you’ve got water at your whim, how about covering up that hideous radiator?

Me, I’m from Texas, so I’ve never seen a radiator in the wild. Seems like a hazard to me. I’d prefer real wood furniture instead of metal. You know–the kind that could use a nice coating of O-Cedar Polish.

Goodness, she looks happy to be polishing! And that smart bob prevents hair from falling into her eyes. I bet she can see her own reflection.

But what’s this? By the time she gets to the banister, she appears more reticent, withdrawn. Her wrist aches from rubbing.

After all that polishing, Pearl might need a coffee break. But it’s 3pm! It would keep her up all night. Nope, not with Kaffee Hag, which sounds like Cliff Clavin is pronouncing it. Kaffee Hag lets all you hags sleep.

I think I’d rather be a “Pepper, too” than a Kaffee Hag, truth be told. But what a bargain, it is!

Now that you’ve got the inside of your domestic arena addressed, what about the outside? Your coffee may be unleaded, but your roof tiles shouldn’t be.

Leadclad was clad with lead. Only the finest toxins available with exotic Spanish appeal. Ole! Now all that’s left to do is trim that grass. And that’s not Pearl’s domain; that’s Walter’s. So while Pearl massages her aching wrists, Walter needs only a twist of his.

Well, now you’re set, folks! You’re up to date and ready for company!

New Secret To Youth: Positive Agitation

Hoover 1928

If it keeps your rugs young, maybe it keeps your skin young as well. Perhaps each time I exfoliate, I’m positively agitating my stubborn wrinkles.

I’m pretty sure this is also the secret of a long and happy marriage.

Have you ever experienced any of these synonyms for agitation with your partner?

stirring, whisking, beating, churning, shaking, turbulence

tossing, blendingwhippingfoldingrolling, jolting

Perhaps you should implement some new verbs into your marriage tonight!

Please Do Not Spit

Unlike the scare tactics of Big Pharma today, encouraging you to take a pill if you’re sad, and another if you’re anxious, and another for every emotion known to man, tuberculosis was a legit concern in March 1928, when Met Life Ins. Company placed this ad below in National Geographic.

How terrifying it must have been, not knowing if it lay dormant in you, and you might pass it on to your babies.

Way back in 1884, Edward Trudeau had opened the first U.S. sanatorium at Saranac Lake, NY, and others soon followed, including this one in Denver. Can you imagine a doctor telling you to go out into the sunshine to receive UV rays?

Denver Public Library

Library of Congress

But progress was on the horizon, and it wasn’t click bait. The Met Life ad continued:

Think about what an exciting time that was. The readers of this announcement will not have to worry about TB. Have you ever worried about TB? Does it cross your mind? states that by the dawn of the 19th century, tuberculosis—or consumption—had killed one in seven of all people that had ever lived. Mindboggling.

Of course, it’s still a very real threat to those with HIV, their number one killer, in fact. Forbes stated, “In 2016, 10.4 million people became ill with active TB globally, and there were 1.7 million deaths from the infection. While ill, a person with active TB is likely to infect 10-15 others over a year’s time.” Still frightening, but not the threat that it was back in 1928. And the US did its best to keep the nation informed. The Met Life ad continued:

Fourteen years later, baseball player Larry Doyle would contract TB and enter the Trudeau Sanitorium in Saranac Lake. When they closed their doors in 1954 due to the development of an effective antibiotic treatment, Doyle was the last resident to leave, and Life Magazine captured his exit. He spent the rest of his life in Saranac Lake, and died there twenty years later, at age 87. Thank God for the cure.


For Whom The Horn Blows

National Geographic, March 1928

I got on my hands on a tall stack of vintage Nat Geos this weekend, all from the 20s and 30s. And yes, even in 1928, they had colorful pictures of bare-breasted tribal women. Odd.

In this particular article about Michigan, “Mistress of the Lakes,” they declare Detroit a “City Without Slums.” Now that’s quite the declaration. Clearly things were going well in 1928. One of the manufacturing jobs listed, in addition to cars and gold pens, was the lumber industry. And let me remind you, if you’ve never read a National Geographic article, they are loooong. There was no TV yet, not everyone had radio. So this article on Michigan alone goes from page 269 to 325. Crazy, right? I won’t read it all. But I’ll share these picshas.

The curiously-coiffed gal above is the assistant cook at the lumberyard, who retires to the rear of the cook shack at noon each day to sound the call for “dinner,” which is what we call lunch.

Into the room, the men would file for nourishment. A unique feature of the lumber camps was absolute silence during eating. They maintained that it prevented arguments, which could lead to “brawls, broken dishes, and broken heads,” none of which that cook up top would want to fix. For those with misophonia, who lose their minds when forced to listen to others eating, this would have proven a challenge. But mental conditions were not coddled in their day, so group masticating it was.

The author of the article asserts that strong and faithful horses were better able to do certain lumber camp work better than “any motors,” but I imagine that didn’t last long.

While it was not uncommon to see huge rafts of pulpwood float downstream for consumption of paper mills, much wood was loaded onto ships and processed throughout Michigan.

This particular vessel below has just discharged a cargo of one million board feet of rough lumber from a Canadian port, which Saginaw’s mill will finish for ready-cut houses. Per, Saginaw hit its peak in the Lumber Era during 1882, with 1,001,274,905 board feet of timber cut in mills along the Saginaw River.

No wonder we hug the trees now.