Write This Down

27 03 2017

According to this 1928 advertisement for Sheaffer’s writing implements, “It is easy to build for a day. It is difficult to build a thing that will withstand hard usage for unnumbered years.” Ergo, the selection of ancient Egyptian iconography for emphasis of this superior product boast – although, the Great Sphinx appears to have had reconstructive surgery and a genetic rewrite.

Scheaffer's pen ad-small


Top of the Pyramid

25 10 2016

This two-page advertisement for Ibanez guitars is circa 1985, and features Steve Vai holding the Loch Ness Green Jem, which he designed.



Feed Me

26 08 2016

Which one of these things doesn’t belong in the group?
Paper, Sphinx, Refrigerator, Advertising
Ha! Trick question. They all belong together, at least in this c.1955 advertisement from Consolidated Enamel Papers. One of their clients, Servel, used their product to publish their newsletter. Servel manufactured refrigerators, and one of their ad campaigns featured their product between the paws of the Great Sphinx, which is reproduced in Consolidated’s ad. A pretty nifty coincidence, since any of Servel’s numerous ads could have been chosen – but once again, the fascination with Egypt won out, not once but twice.

Everything’s Coming Up…Lotuses

10 08 2016

This elegant letterhead from the late 1800s is embellished with lotus blossoms.


Ancient Words

28 06 2016

This 1978 newspaper ad describes the modern technology to be implemented during the American exhibitions of King Tut’s artifacts. That’s right – the cassette tape. Those of you who don’t know what that is – try Wikipedia. And my peeps who grew up with them – feeling pretty ancient yourselves, no?

ER TDK ad-small

Up and Away

23 04 2016

Egyptianizing themes are found more frequently than expected in transportation-related advertising applications. For example, this 1940s ad from the Warner Aircraft Corporation, which announces the opening of their new “Scarab” engine plant. There is no reference explaining this choice of iconography, but I suppose one might draw a correlation to the Egyptian god Khepera, who was believed to push the sun on its course through the sky.

Warner engines ad-large

I Know What I Know – Or Do I?

30 11 2015

This small calendar is an advertising sample from 1921 for the Bank of Warren in the towns of Warrenton and Norlina in North Carolina. The colorful Egyptian imagery of sphinx, winged scarab, and lotus blooms is paired with a head-scratching adage. The bank’s self-description states: “This bank extends courteous and liberal treatment to every depositor, whether the account be large or small. This policy is the reason for our daily growth in strength and public favor. We pay 4 per cent on savings accounts.”


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