Part I – Advertising From The Century Magazine October 1904
Companies That Have Survived
Whitman’s chocolate as it was advertised in 1904. The company was started in Philadelphia in 1842 by Stephen Whitman. In 1877 he began to box chocolates. Russell Stover Candies is the current owner.
While browsing through The Century Magazine issue for October 1904 I couldn’t help but notice the advertisements.
While a great many of the firms are out of business, a surprising number are still around today. For part one we will look at the ads of the companies that are still here in 2021. They’ve survived different owners, mergers and changing public tastes. It’s interesting to see how these enduring products once portrayed themselves with strong images or many words or a combination of the two.
Let’s have a look.
We may not have servants drawing baths for us now, but you can still buy a bar of Pears’ Soap and give yourself a bath. Founded in 1807, the worldwide company is now run by Unilever. Continue reading →
Times Square 1906 – The New Hotel Astor, Olympia Theatre & Surroundings
This stereoview image of Times Square was taken by the H.C. White Company in 1906. Before The New York Times moved their headquarters here it was called Long Acre Square.
The view is titled, “New Astor Hotel and 20 story Times Building.” We are looking south from 46th Street towards the New York Times Tower. The flatiron-style building opened in 1905. The building was mutilated in 1965 when purchased by Allied Chemical. Today it is unrecognizable after it was altered again in the twenty first century to become a giant garish billboard.
On the right is the 500 room Hotel Astor comprising 14 city lots from 44th to 45th Street where Broadway and Seventh Avenue intersect. The 10-story Hotel Astor cost owner William Waldorf Astor over $7 million to build and furnish. The land was purchased decades earlier as farmland by his great-grandfather John Jacob Astor for $100 an acre. The Grand Ballroom was a baroque masterpiece.
Columbus Circle 1947 photo: Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography
Our scene shows Columbus Circle looking south from Broadway and 60th Street towards 8th Avenue.
In the foreground are two examples of the iron and glass subway kiosks providing graceful entrances and exits to the original subway. By the late-1960s all the ornamental kiosks were removed by the city. Continue reading →
This beautiful night scene of Herald Square was taken in 1912. The Herald Building between 35th & 36th Street and Broadway and Sixth Avenue is brilliantly illuminated as the presses work to get the next morning’s paper out.
Lining the roof of the McKim, Mead & White designed Herald Building are 20 gilt owl sculptures. Electricity would light up the owl’s green eyes. The two illegible lighted discs in the front of the building are a clock and wind dial.
50 Advertisements From The 1947 Saturday Evening Post
Maybe advertising is not an accurate portrayal of what America is or ever was. But it shines a light on American dreams, living the good life and most of all consumerism. Today we’re turning back the clock to just after World War II.
All the ads appear in the February 8, 1947 Saturday Evening Post, a bastion of conservative American values.
American soldiers returning home to a prosperous economy. A baby boom follows. Spend, America, spend.
One thing you’ll notice if you read the fine print: EVERYTHING was “Made in America.” Everything. Even a simple comb. Yes, Ajax comb company took out a small ad in the magazine that must have cost them the equivalent of at least 500 combs. It’s the sort of item that today would only be made in China, as we’ve decimated our ability to produce our own goods. Continue reading →
Cortlandt Street 1908 via Detroit Publishing Co. collection held at the Library of Congress. (click to greatly enlarge)
Our view made by the Detroit Publishing Company is looking east from the corner of West Street along Cortlandt Street towards Broadway. Unlike some of their photographs, this one is copyrighted 1908 and that can be confirmed by advertising in the background.
The street is named after one of Dutch New York’s leaders Oloff (Olaf) Stevense Van Cortlandt. Continue reading →