Nov 082013
 

vintage orange crush
Even before Clayton J. Howell got together with chemist Neil C. Ward in 1911, one J.M. Thompson of Chicago, Illinois, was apparently the original inventor of Orange Crush in 1906.

Howell called it “Crush” to describe how he got the flavor oils out of oranges. Ward specialized in beverage and extract chemistry and merely perfected the blending of ingredients to improve the orange flavor of Orange Crush. Since inventing chemists often got their names attached to new beverages, the drink launched as “Ward’s Orange Crush.” By the late 1960s, chemistry had created Crush flavors of lemon, lime, grape, cherry, and pineapple, and tropical and peach by the 1990s.

Crush was purchased by Proctor & Gamble in 1980, which sold it to Cadbury Schweppes in 1989, which sold it to Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group of Plano, Texas, in 2008.

  •  November 8, 2013
Nov 082013
 

pears u pick frigidaire sign
Pears U-Pick Sign

Roadside signs like these from the 1930s were posted along California highways and other U.S. roadways to invite passers-by to pull over and pick their own pears
(or apples or peaches or…) at a cost much lower than
in retail stores.

Frigidaire

Nathaniel B. Wales and Alfred Mellowes, of the Guardian Refrigerator Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, invented the first self-contained electric refrigerator in 1916. William C. Durant, then president of General Motors, invested in Guardian in the same year and out came the Frigidaire Company. For several decades the name Frigidaire was popularly applied to any make of refrigerator, much as Jell-O is for many gelatins, and is probably the source of the familiar term “fridge” used today.

Frigidaire sold to White Sewing Machine Company in 1979, which sold it to Electrolux in 1986.

  •  November 8, 2013
Nov 082013
 

Founded in 1894 as the J.R. Watkins Medical Company, Watkins first made liniments in Plainview, Minnesota. The company expanded to a George Washington Maher-designed headquarters with 224 Tiffany stained glass windows and a 24-carat gold-leaf dome in Winona, Minnesota, where they made a wide range of award winning spices and baking powder. In 1993, after being in business for 99 years, the company ceased publication of its popular Almanac of Home Décor and Cook Book, closed its printing plant, and converted the space to the Watkins Museum & Store.

The blackboard combined advertising with practicality for the homemaker and home baker, offering a great place to make a shopping list, although you couldn’t really take the blackboard to the store.
watkins better baking

  •  November 8, 2013
Nov 082013
 

Grocery merchants would post the Calumet baking powder egg price sign (in cents only!) near the register counter as a clever cross-marketing technique, reminding customers that when a recipe calls for eggs, it most likely calls for Calumet baking powder, too!

vintage butter egg sign
A gift from Gail Laird, Laird Family Estate, Napa, California, to the Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection.

  •  November 8, 2013
Nov 082013
 

blue chip stamps

Merchants used signs like these to advertise that they gave away certain kinds of trading stamps, all to lure customers into their stores. Trading stamps were first introduced in the 1890s as an enticement for customers to pay cash instead of carrying credit with the store. Gas stations started giving them out in 1910, followed by chain supermarkets in the 1920s, eventually giving about 1 stamp per 10 cents spent.

S&H Green stamps were probably the most popular, followed by Blue Chip, various Gold stamps, Top Value, Plaid stamps, and Mahalo stamps in Hawaii.

Customers would take them home and glue them into stamp saving books. Often this task was given to children. I remember the great joy of pasting those stamps in the books, trying to get them straight, and then helping to take them to the place where you could trade them in for “free” merchandise.

trading stamp sign

  •  November 8, 2013