Playing With Chemicals

29 03 2012

This c. 1940s ad from Dow Chemical Co. juxtaposes striking imagery against a rather long-winded chunk of text extolling Dow’s brilliance in manufacturing synthetic indigo dye.  I’m just happy that someone figured out how to stop using urine in the recipe!



11 06 2011

How do you make an ad for machinery interesting?  How about making it interactive!  This Saul Steinberg 1940s ad illustration for the Jones & Lamson Machine Company engages the reader’s mental faculties while also providing a neat segue into the main thrust of the ad:
“If you’re fresh out of papyrus scrolls, try this one with matches, toothpicks, pencils, or broomsticks.  The problem that the pharaoh posed was this: By changing the positions of three of the scrolls, create a figure of four equilateral triangles, all of equal size!  P.S. If you’re stuck, there’s a clue to be found in the picture.  There is also a valuable clue to be found today in the solution of difficult and costly metal turning problems.  It is simply this: Jones & Lamson Turret Lathes and Fay Automatic Lathes are designed specifically for the most efficient use of carbise cutting tools.”  The ad text ends with a kind offer to send the puzzle solution to interested parties.

How Pharaoh Removed His Unibrow, and Other Tales

30 04 2011

While in the pursuit of mundane daily tasks, I often wonder how similar activities were accomplished in ancient times.  This morning, I was struck by one of these ponderings while grooming my eyebrows.  Thanks to my 1937 copy of Reading Iron Company’s magazine, curiously named “The Reading Puddle Ball”, all I have to do is turn to the article “Pharaoh’s Tweezers” to satisfy my curiosity about said topic, as well as learn a few fun facts about other iron objects used in ancient Egypt.

Naughty or Nice?

23 12 2010

Move over Santa: Cleopatra’s barge-o-gifts is coming to town.  Ok, not really, but this detail from a 1961 ad from Sinclair Petrochemicals struck me as a jazzed up alternative to a flying sleigh.  And it’s full of things I want – a telescope, a turquoise-colored suitcase, the latest LP, and that adorable Sinclair dino.

Built to Last

3 12 2010

Ancient Egyptian imagery is often used to project an aura of stability, strength, and endurance – most appropriately in the engineering and mechanical fields.  In this first image, the winged sun disc (in this instance also flanked by serpents) is applied to the cover of a trade catalog.  The second image shows an enlarged view of a logo that appears on the top of every page of another trade catalog.  In this example, a sphinx head is combined with a sketch of the company’s main product.

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