THE TRUTH, the whole truth, nothing but...

It's hard not to write a political piece when I see this ad. Now we know the substance of the ad is a flat out lie, but when this ran in Look magazine in January 13, 1953 the general public trusted corporations. We'd just come through horrendous years of war and certainly the military wouldn't have been giving our military personal products that would harm them, would they? Get them addicted to nicotine so once back in the civilian world they'd continue to smoke and smoke and.... A pack of cigarettes with your K-rations was patriotic, wasn't it? A tobacco farmer in South Carolina certainly wouldn't be in an ad touting the scientific evidence of the product without being sure of the validity of the statement, would he? Did he say it just for the cash?

chesterfield ad 1953_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

Things haven't really changed. Though the general public now knows the tobacco industry lies it's only now realizing so do banks. Will there be ads 50 years from now collected as ephemera showing how fast and easy it was to buy a house you could't afford with no money down? 

This ad, simply as graphic design, is hitting with all cylinders. The headline at the top in red blasting its way into your brain, the photo of the rugged looking businessman (who to me looks like someone out of a mob film), the product placement, and the final closing line touting the products name and reason it's the one you should buy. The "scientific facts" are secondary to all of it and I imagine the fine print was rarely read. This ad, on the back of the magazine, was meant to be read at a distance with just certain points highlighted. 

More people should remember two old adages:
Buyer beware.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
Sometimes it all just feels a bit like we've been living in the Twilight Zone.


What's interesting about collecting ephemera is that you're collecting history, but usually history of little worldly importance. Bits 'n' pieces of things that were important to everyday people for a very short period of time. Thanks to the ease of the internet you can now search out information almost immediately and put the pieces in some sort of context.

I bought this postcard at an estate sale last year. I was anxious to find out what "A Chinese Honeymoon" was about. Leave it to Wikipedia to have the answers. 

a chinese honeymoon1_tatteredandlost

"A Chinese Honeymoon" was "a musical comedy in two acts by George Dance, with music by Howard Talbot and additional music by Ivan Caryll and others, and additional lyrics by Harry Greenbank and others." That's a heck of a lot of "and others" if you ask me. The synopsis from Wikipedia follows:
The Emperor seeks a bride who will marry him "for himself alone," so he despatches an English skipper, who has been promoted to the post of Lord High Admiral of the Chinese fleet, in search of such a woman. But the conditions are rather hard, for the high position of the Emperor is withheld, and the unlucky admiral has to pretend that he represents a billposter. The admiral returns from his quest without success. As a lingering death is the penalty of his failure it need hardly be said that he resorts to all sorts of expedients in order to avert the punishment. Some comical effects are obtained by making the abnormally tall Emperor think that he is betrothed to a diminutive "slavey" [a maid-of-all-work]. To these ingredients add a cockney tradesman married to a jealous wife who insists upon her four bridesmaids travelling with her for detective and protective purposes, a pair of young lovers, and quaint (even if imaginary) Chinese customs.
The musical opened on October 16, 1899 in Hanley, England, toured extensively before playing at the Royal Strand Theater in London, opening on October 5, 1901. It was the first musical to run for 1,000 performances.

What I love the best about it are the inane character names. The West's version of the Far East.
Hang Chow (Emperor of Ylang Ylang)
Chippee Chop (Lord Chancellor) 
Hi Lung (Lord High Admiral) 
Mr Pineapple
There are more, but these are the ones that struck me as the most absurd.

According to the front of this card this production in the US was "Sam S. Shubert's Oriental Musical Comedy. Only successful Musical Treat America has witnessed in three years."

The card was, as you can see, used with a message being sent from a woman in Oakland on Janurary 20, 1905, to Miss Frances Trost in San Francisco. 
Dear Frances, 
You no doubt think me very slow in answering your card but I have thought of you often. Nevertheless, thank you very much. I have about 17 now. Have lost some. It is raining pitch forks tonight and must go to mail this so you receive it tomorrow. Remember to Rosa. If it's not to late I wish you a happey and genrous year. Sincerely Alice Bowden 
a chinese honeymoon2_tatteredandlost

I like the idea that these women were exchanging cards because they were collecting them. Let's hope Miss Frances Trost cherished "The Chinese Honeymoon." 

If you want to actually hear some of the music digitally produced click here. You're certainly not going to find it on iTunes. Happy listening.

UPDATE: I now have items available for sale at Tattered and Lost Ephemera Gift Shop using this vintage image. Get your souvenirs for Broadway's finest before the rush.


When you care enough TO GIVE THE VERY BEST

Maybe it's just me, but when I'm looking for that perfect card to send to a friend just to say "hi" I don't go to the card section of prisoner's in stocks. This whole thing strikes me as more than a bit odd. The card was mailed from San Francisco on November 12, 1906 to  Miss Frances Trost in San Francisco. Do remember that 1906 was the year of the big earthquake so getting from one part of town to another wasn't a hop, skip, and a jump. Still, you have to wonder why this card for a casual friendly note.

These prisoners are in what is called a cangue. According to Wikipedia: "A cangue is a small device that was used for public humiliation and corporal punishment in China, and some other parts of East Asia, until the early years of the 20th Century. It was somewhat similar to the pillory used for punishment in the West, except that the board of the cangue was not fixed to a base, and had to be carried around by the prisoner."

Chinese Imperial Post_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

The message reads:
San Francisco Calif   Nov. 11/06
Friend Francis
Received your postal and will say that we will be up next Thursday evening. I have not seen Harry yet but will see him before then and will write you.
Chas (can't read last name clearly but I'll guess Grace)
I have found a site online selling various disturbing cards such as this. Actually they're horrifically disturbing so don't click on this link unless you have the stomach for it. I don't even want to know why cards like this were published. I can understanding the photography as documentation, but as penny postcards? It's all too much like standing around waiting for a hanging or slowing down to see an accident on the freeway. I know it exists, I don't need to see it.


Sweet Smell of SUCCESS

A few months ago I featured a couple of film tie-in paperbacks for Paul Newman and Steve McQueen films. This time it's Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in Sweet Smell of Success. The film came out in 1957 and stars Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis as a notorious New York gossip columnist and a desperate press agent. Beautifully shot in New York in black and white noir. The story is as relevant today as when it was released showing the dark underbelly of how some things are done in our society. I can't recommend it enough. 

If you like Mad Men and haven't seen this film watch for it to show up on Turner Classics or put it in your Netflix's queue. I've already checked out next months listings for TCM and it's not on so I can only hope it'll be on again in the coming months. To read Roger Ebert's review of the film click here.

This paperback was found in a thrift store. A nice find. Includes 8 pages of black and white stills from the film. A nice way to remember the film. Really a mini film poster. 

Sweet Smell of Success_front_tatteredandlost

Sweet Smell of Success_back_tatteredandlost


DON'T FREEZE the egg salad

As the holiday weekend comes to an end one thought for many is: What am I going to do with all this food?!?@??

Why, just reach into the drawer and take out a Spotless Frozen Food Carton. Easily popped into a box shape within moments, yet easy to store flat before needed. I should know. I have a stack of them in a drawer. I'll never use them. I keep them because they make me smile, they're old (but very clean), and they belonged to either my mother or grandmother. I like the simplistic design of the frozen tundra and icicles with a backdrop of a table cloth. It says what it needs to very simply. And since it's a two color job the designer had the choice of either making the leaves on the strawberries red or blue, which would have made the viewer think perchance the product did not maintain the freshness they'd want. Strawberries rotting from the top down. Not putting that on my table to be consumed. But luscious garden ripe red strawberries. We both know when they came out of the box months later they didn't look garden fresh.

So package up those leftovers into our modern version of the food carton, the plastic freezer bag. But please, please, pleaseeeeeeeeee don't freeze the egg salad. You really don't want me to tell you about the frozen egg salad sandwich thawing in a high school locker.

spotless frozen food_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

I really do like little boxes. Little places to store little things. Unfortunately there is no information about the manufacturer of this item. I don't know if the company was actually named "Spotless." If anyone has information they'd like to add just leave a comment.


Mid-century Curt Teich TRAIN postcards

My mother's father was a railroad man. He started out shoveling coal and retired as an engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad. I have great memories of him coming home in his blue and white striped hat, jacket, and coveralls. Only once did I get to ride on a train on which he was the engineer. Most of my childhood was spent on the far side of the country from my maternal grandparents.

Four of the following cards are from my grandmother's collection bought on a trip to California in the late 1940s. The other two cards I purchased at an estate sale.

The cards date from the late 1940s and are all Curt Teich linens. Only one has been used, the one with the small bag of salt attached. The salt is long since gone. I imagine that must have been an interesting item to receive in the mail. These days something like this would surely gum up the machinery that does the sorting, but back then mail was sorted by hand.

Click on any image to see it larger.

Santa Fe Super Chief_tatteredandlost
Union Pacific Streamliner City of Los Angeles_tatteredandlost
Southern Pacific Daylight Coast Line_tatteredandlost
The Daylight Limited_tatteredandlost
Great Salt Lake Cut-Off_tatteredandlost
          "Hi kids,
          We are chasing this big water right now. Sorry we didn't get to see you in Berkeley. 
          Love Enid & Bruce
         (posted July 18, 1947)

To find out more about the printer Curt Teich click here and here.


AN APPLE a day...

Packing labels for fruits and vegetables are easily collected and relatively cheap. I began collecting them when my family bought an old apple orchard many years ago.

Labels are colorful reminders of the way agriculture used to be. My father has told me many stories of packing fruit crates on their ranch during the Depression. Peaches, pears, and prunes all neatly stacked inside a crate and labeled with the Bonnie Brae Ranch label. Unfortunately none of the labels have survived. 

Here are a few from my collection followed by a few links to sites full of information. If you're looking for something to collect that's easy to store and display this is it.

Click on any of the images to see them larger.

jackie boy label_tatteredandlost

Often times one label design is used by several different producers. "Jackie Boy" is one such label. Only the packing information is changed from label to label denoting the location from where the product shipped.

gold ridge label_tatteredandlost

vine hill label_tatteredandlost

This is my favorite label. It's unique to the specific area which still produces apples to this day. And there isn't a better apple for pies and applesauce than the Gravenstein.

For more information about crate labels see:


A STITCH IN TIME saves easily more than nine

"A stitch in time saves nine." 

I'm certainly applying this smart adage more and more these days. To take it literally, I'm sewing closed the holes in anything that appears torn so I don't have to replace it or do more repairs later. Old sayings almost always ring true. They slip off our tongues and rattle around our brains. We usually have no idea where they came from. My mother used this one as did her mother and I'm sure her mother before. Common sense is easily passed on whether or not the person receiving is smart enough to understand.

I found these needle packs a few years ago in an old sewing box. I don't know their exact age, but I imagine they belonged to my maternal grandmother. I'd say they date to the late 1920s or 30s. Now, I only bought myself a pack of needles once decades ago and I'm still using them. As you can see by looking at what is in these packs I'll never need to buy needles again.

I love the graphics on these old cards. The handlettering, the illustrations, the mood trying to be set for the buyer. The first shows a domestic scene, perhaps a mother teaching a daughter how to sew while playful kittens play on the floor. Okay, the mother could actually be gasping at how bad her daughter's sewing is and is about to tell her to "Rip it out and start over!"

Click on any image to see it larger.
Broadway needles_tatteredandlost
Broadway needles_interior_tatteredandlost

This second set is for the more sophisticated buyer, the world traveler who wants to tuck a small set of needles into their luggage for their world cruise. Of course, it was all advertising image. Entice the buyer to buy this set of needles instead of another. You probably weren't going anywhere, but when you left the store with this little pack you felt just a bit more worldly. The first packet played up the reality of the product, the second the fantasy. With these needles, from Germany no less, you could make your own wardrobe that would take you to far flung corners of the world and not just back to your 5 story walkup.

Broadway Lights Needle Book_tatteredandlost

The lovely foil holding the needles and needle threader in place is a fun treat. Each foil printed with the same pattern which resembles a spider web. Interesting choice for sewing. Unfortunately the silver foil is no longer attached to the packet and it moved when I scanned it. At one time it was in perfect position between the two red foils. A perfect assortment, hardened in oil no less (???).

Broadway Lights needle book_inside_tatteredandlost

To bring things to within the past few decades I give you function only. It's not pretty. It's corporate, but it works. It's not memorable, except for the memory I have of the trip to Portland and finding this inside the desk drawer in the motel. It's nice they included a band-aid. They knew that hurried travelers at this motel were just as likely to be business travelers needing to put a button back on a suit before an appointment. And back then it was most likely men with thicker fingers who knew little of sewing thus more likely to poke themselves somewhere during the process of their mending. I still keep little packets like this in my luggage. They're little insurance kits for traveling which remind us "A stitch in time saves nine."

Thunderbird sewing kit_exterior_tatteredandlost
Thunderbird sewing kit_interior_tatteredandlost



So who was Don Coleman? I've always wondered since my best friend sent me this card from her grandmother's collection. For years we've had a discussion about the brown crud up in the corner. What is it? We both agree it would be best if it were chocolate. 

don coleman_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

This is an old arcade card and from what I've found out about Don Coleman he was born in Sheridan, Wyoming January 14, 1893. He died in Willits, California on December 16, 1985. According to IMDB he appeared in 9 films from 1927 until 1930. I can't find anything else about him. Maybe someday a relative will google his name and this post will show up and they'll be kind enough to fill me in. I've always loved this rootin' tootin' card. I'd love to know more about Don.



I liked "wish catalogues" as a kid. I'm talking about the Christmas editions of the Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogues. Loved going through the toy sections and dreaming of all the junk I wanted. I still remember a Flintstone Bedrock Village that I desperately wanted. Didn't get it no matter how many hints I left. 

Comic books were another source for wishing. A lot of the comics had ads placed on the back cover and sporadically throughout the issue. Two that I most remember were like wish books. A full page of toys. All you had to do was sell something for some company and you'd collect points towards one of the items. I never sent in to become a big time sales person for either company, but a neighbor girl did. She sold stationary door-to-door. I don't know if she ever sold enough boxes to get anything, but I did buy a box. Still have it with a few sheets of paper left inside. It was very fancy and nice stationary. However, I don't recall her riding a new "Lightweight English Bicycle" so I'm thinking she was lucky if she got the sleeping bag.

This first ad from 1963 is for the American Youth Sales Club out of White Plains, New York. I believe this is the one my neighbor sold for. I can't find out anything online about the company.

American Youth Sales Club_tateredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

This second ad from 1963 is for the Wilson Chemical Company located in Tyrone, PA. Apparently you sold a salve called White Cloverine door-to-door and the company only recently went out of business. You can read more about the company at the Tyrone Historical Society. Okay, I'm thinking I'd have gone for the deep fryer. Definitely the deep fryer. Oh wait, Roy Rogers Flash Camera! Yeah, that's it. How much salve did you have to sell to get "Yessiree, a real live pony for your very own!" I imagine you'd have to camp outside the office of a skin doctor for about 20 years to sell enough salve to get that little sucker.

wilson chemical co_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

Is there anyone out there who sold for either company? Anybody get any of the big ticket items? Let me know. Personally I was always saving up for the sea monkeys.


PLEASE MOM! I want the paper dolls!

In the early 20th Century the J. & P. Coats company, now known as Coats and Clark, offered a series of 5 mechanical paper dolls through their dealers when you purchased Spool and Crochet Cotton. What made these advertising dolls so unique were the mechanical heads. The doll had two sides and the doll on each side had three different faces. At the neck a small eyelet held the paper in place that you would turn to reveal each face/expression. Another piece of paper was included that was of two dresses. The paper folded where the neck on each dress met allowing you to slip it over the dolls head. I believe the dolls also came with hats done in a similar manner, but I don't have it. Ultimately with just a couple pieces of paper a child had multiple toys. The doll also had a fold at the bottom allowing it to stand upright. 

I can imagine a lot of little girls happily playing with these for hours and then standing them on their dresser at night. And for those lucky to collect all five, giving them a total of 10 paper dolls, it must have looked wonderful to see them all lined up. I'm sure there were a lot of little girls begging their moms, "Please please buy some more thread!" so they could get the whole collection. They must have been as bad as me when in the 50s I was constantly begging for whatever new cereal came out with a toy inside the box.

If you're interested in learning more about advertising paper dolls check out the link to the book I've posted on the left: "America's Early Advertising Paper Dolls" by Lagretta Metzger Bajorek.

Click on the images to see them larger and at sizes suitable to print and play with.
 J. & P. brunette mechanical paper doll_tatteredandlostJ. & P. blond mechanical paper doll_tatteredandlostJ. & P. Coates_mechanical paper doll dresses_tatteredandlost

UPDATE about Miss Hattie

On February 27th I did a post about a paper doll I have that is 152 years old, Miss Hattie. Today I received a very nice post from an anonymous person all about this doll. I encourage anyone who is interested in paper dolls to read the post. You'll find the link to the post in the left column in the Blog Archive, February listing, entitled "IMAGINE YOURSELF at 152."

Thanks so much to Anonymous for the information. I'm thrilled to have it.