Tag Archives: New York World

Old Time Ads From The 1910 World Almanac – Part 1

Huckesterism 101 – Useful? Crazy?  How Products Were Advertised In The 1910 World Almanac

1910 World Almanac Red Nose Pimple Face P1060727

Red Nose and Pimple Face? Bendiner & Schlesinger Druggists on 3rd Avenue and 10th Street have something to help you.

One big difference between old advertising and today’s advertisements, is that today you sometimes have to scrutinize the ad to discover exactly what it is they are trying to sell to you.

Image plays a greater part in modern advertising.

Back in 1910 it was the words that counted.

When you look at old advertising you will notice that the copywriter gets right to the point about the product, though somewhat verbosely.

One thing has remained the same: advertisers used the same swaggering claims back then that they use today.

Even if they are completely false.

Here are some sample advertisements from among the hundreds contained in the 1910 World Almanac. Click on any image to enlarge.

1910 World Almanac Fat is Fatal P1060750


1910 World Almanac Fat is not Good Flesh P1060729







As long as their have been people unhappy with their weight, there have been people and companies who will exploit mankind’s battle with their waistlines. Loring & Co. marketed reducing tablets warning customers that “Fat Is Not Good Flesh.” Their reducing tablets tapped into something back then that is popular today: they contain no chemicals and are made wholly of roots and herbs.

Dr. J. Spillenger of New York City uses endorsements from customers and a dramatic illustration, while warning readers that “Fat Is Fatal.” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would agree with the good doctor. What Dr. Spillenger does not say is exactly what his methods are to help you lose weight. Whatever his method, it involves not starving or exercising. “Rheumatism, Asthma, Kidney and Heart Troubles will leave as fat is reduced. Don’t take my word for this: I will prove it at my own expense,” the copy reads.

Sure, Doctor…sure.

1910 World Almanac Corpulent People P1060748Then there are those people who had no desire to lose weight but merely appear slimmer. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #28 – New York City Early Color Photos

New York City In Old Color Photographs At The Turn Of The Century

Mulberry Street Detroit Publishing Company

Mulberry Street in color New York City 1900

Life was colorful in turn of the century New York City. But because almost all the photographs we see from that era are in black and white, it is hard to imagine what the city looked like in its full color glory.

The Library of Congress holds the incredible collection of The Detroit Publishing Company who manufactured postcards and chronicled the world with their photographs from 1880-1920.

One of the processes used to achieve color was called the photochrom. Photochrom’s are color photo lithographs created from a black and white photographic negative. Color impressions are achieved through the application of multiple lithograph stones, one per color. In 1897, the Detroit Publishing Company brought the process over from Switzerland where it was first developed.

The images presented here were eventually used for postcards. Here is a look at New York circa 1900 in high resolution color photographs. Click on any image to vastly enlarge.

South Street Brooklyn Bridge 1900 Detroit Publishing

South Street and Brooklyn Bridge 1900

Looking north along South Street with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. This was still the age when shipping and boats crowded the harbor.

City Hall 1900 Detroit Publishing

City Hall New York City 1900

City Hall looking northwest with a sliver of City Hall Park on the bottom extreme left. Continue reading

Part 3 Even More Vintage New York City Books With Great Art Deco Dust Jackets

The Art of The Book #3 – New York City Deco Dust Jackets From The 20′s & 30′s

We continue with our look at vintage books about New York City with great dust jackets. (click here to read part 1 and here to read part 2)

Starting with a look at an all-time classic of deco design, New York Nights. (click on any photo to enlarge)

Art Deco dj New York NightsNew York Nights by Stephen Graham, New York: George H. Doran, 1927, dj illustrator, Kurt Wiese

A native of Scotland, author Stephen Graham (1884-1975) goes on a tour of  jazz age nightclubs, speakeasies and cabarets. Graham provides the grittier side of life in an up to the minute description of prohibition New York neighborhoods, establishments and people.

Kurt Wiese (1887-1974) illustrated over 300 books and later became an award-winning children’s book author. Besides the knockout jacket cover, Wiese drew all the illustrations contained in the book. This was the first American book he worked on. Continue reading

All New York City Sidewalks Are Not Created Equal

What Is The Width Of The Sidewalks In Manhattan?

Following up on our November 19, story, All New York City Streets Are Not Created Equal, the 1904 World Almanac has a list of the width of Manhattan’s sidewalks. The chart can provide the answer to which avenue has wider sidewalks Fifth Avenue or Lenox Avenue? While this may not be a burning question on anyone’s mind, it is interesting to see how much the sidewalk width varies from street to street and avenue to avenue.  The obvious differences are plainly apparent to any New Yorker walking the streets so we thought it would be worth it to reproduce this list with the actual measurements.

Width of Sidewalks in Manhattan Borough

In streets 40 feet wide 10 ft.
In streets 50 feet wide 13 ft.
In streets 60 feet wide 15 ft.
In streets 70 feet wide 18 ft.
In streets 80 feet wide 19 ft.
In streets above 80 feet, not exceeding 100 feet. 20 ft.
All streets more than 100 feet 22 ft.
Lenox and 7th Avenues, north of W. 110th St 35 ft.
Grand Boulevard (Broadway above 59th Street) 24 ft.
Manhattan St. 15 ft.
Lexington Avenue 18 ft. 6 in.
Madison Avenue 19 ft.
5th Avenue 30 ft.
St. Nicholas Avenue 22 ft.
Park Avenue from E. 49th to E. 56th St. and from E. 96th St. to Harlem River 15 ft.
West End Avenue 30 ft.
Central Park West, from W, 59th St. to W. 110th, East side 27 ft.
Central Park West, from W. 59th St. to W. 110th, West side 35 ft. 6in.

How many of these sidewalk measurements remained the same throughout the 20th century is open to conjecture. I would imagine that many sidewalks have had their original dimensions changed due to the high value of Manhattan real estate.

click to enlarge

This photograph, taken November 10, 1914 at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street looking south, has a clear view of the sidewalk. The men near the carriage are standing in front of the Hotel Savoy (built 1892 – demolished 1927). On the right at 58th Street is the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion (built 1893 – demolished 1926).  It does not appear that the sidewalk is actually 30 feet wide.

All New York City Streets Are Not Created Equal

The Distances Between Streets & Avenues – Things You Probably Didn’t Know

If you are traveling at the same pace, regardless of the avenue, it is faster to walk between 6th and 7th Streets than walking from 13th to 14th Streets. Why? Because the block between 6th and 7th is only 181 feet, 9 inches while the block between 13th and 14th is 206 feet, 6 inches.

Anyone walking around Manhattan is sure to notice that street distances between blocks and avenues vary widely. But few know that the block lengths can vary by several feet.

When the grid plan for Manhattan’s streets were laid out, you’d think that the streets would be equidistant. They are not.

Maybe this is the sort of thing that almost no one would care about, but living up to this web site’s name, I found this chart very interesting. It is from the New York Bureau of Buildings in the 1892 edition of The World Almanac.

1892 World Almanac (click to enlarge)

As you see, the chart lists the distances between the avenues, the width of the avenues and streets and the length of blocks north of Houston Street.

There are a few interesting things to note. One is how far Avenues A, B, C and D extended northward in 1892. Avenue A was later renamed Sutton Place north from 53rd Street and York Avenue north from 59th Street. Avenue B was renamed East End Avenue from 79th to 90th Street. Many portions of Avenue A, B, C and D were never completed (the landfill required to extend them was never done), or wiped out with map changes and construction in the 20th century (e.g. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive). Regardless, the almanac still lists the proposed dimensions for the phantom avenues via the Bureau of Buildings.

The other thing to note is that the main cross streets of 14th, 23rd, 34th etc. are all the same: 100 feet wide as compared to the other streets which are all 60 feet wide.

I have used the modern names of avenues in parentheses. Below are some highlights of the chart.

Avenues in Manhattan are 100 feet wide with some notable exceptions:

Lexington Avenue – 75 feet

Boulevard (Broadway) above 59th Street – 150 feet

Madison Avenue South of 42nd Street – 75 feet

Madison Avenue North of 42nd Street – 80 feet

Madison Avenue From 120th to 124th Streets – 100 feet Continue reading

Crime, Murder, Prisons, Hangings and Lynchings in 1891

Some Interesting Facts The 1892 World Almanac

The 1892 World Almanac contains fascinating crime statistics.

Putting the crime numbers in perspective to the population, in 1890 the United States total population was 62,830,361.  The “colored” population  was 7,488,676. So, African-Americans made up about 12% of the population.

There were 45,233 people in penitentiaries, 14,687 were black. That means African-Americans comprised nearly one third of the inmates in the U.S. penitentiary system.

The number of murders and homicides reported by newspapers for 1891 was 5,906.

The murders and homicides are broken down as follows:

  1. Quarrels 2,820
  2. Liquor 877
  3. Unknown 859
  4. Jealousy 449
  5. By Highwaymen 241
  6. Infanticide 208
  7. Resisting Arrest 182
  8. Insanity 102
  9. Highway Men Killed 74
  10. Self Defense 74
  11. Strikes 10
  12. Outrages (?) 2

The number of legal executions reported in the U.S. was 123. The two leading states were Georgia and Texas with 19 and 12 executions respectively. The electric chair as a means of execution was first put into use in New York in 1890.  Almost all the executions in 1891, were by hanging.

The number of lynchings reported was 195. The leading two states were Alabama with 26 and Mississippi with 23. Six of the people lynched were women.

Below is the full chart on all these statistics. (double-click to enlarge to full size)


The Things We Do For Love

Boy 16, And Girl 14, Walk Over Twenty Miles Round-Trip During Blizzard With Temperatures Hovering At Zero Degrees To Get Married

Valentines Day has come and gone.  I know love can drive you to do crazy things, but I can’t recall seeing a story like this.

The date was February 16, 1904, one hundred eight years ago, the thermometer read 0° with blizzard-like conditions raging in New Jersey.  Continue reading

Old New York in Photos #7

Two Homes With Different Fates

The Louis Comfort Tiffany Mansion (above) circa 1886 at the corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue designed by McKim, Mead & White.

The Joseph Pulitzer Mansion (below) 1903 at 7 East 73rd Street (just off of Fifth Avenue) designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White.

Pulitzer Residence 7 East 73rd Street

Louis Tiffany’s home was built starting in 1882 by his father Charles Tiffany, but the elder Tiffany never lived there. The 57 room mansion took three years to complete.

Right around the corner, Joseph Pulitzer, owner of The New York World newspaper also hired the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White in 1900 to build his home which was completed in 1903.

Pulitzer lived in the house Continue reading

The 1929 World Almanac

Some Vintage Advertisements of the Era and What Americans Paid in Taxes

The World Almanac was called The World Almanac because it was published by The New York World newspaper, not because it contained everything about the world. A version is still published every year even though the New York World has been gone for many years.

This edition was published in early 1929 when America was riding high. The stock market crash that caused the Great Depression in October was still months away.  The almanac covers the past events of 1928 and has data on thousands of items that are no longer covered in modern almanacs.

The first 70+ pages were advertisements. The rest, useful information.

Here are a few interesting things I found looking at my copy. (click on any photo to enlarge and click again for high resolution)

You need a coffin? The Springfield Metallic Casket Company of Springfield Ohio has many to choose from including “old reliable.” My favorite Continue reading