What happened here? The pages from this 1932 Spear catalog are absolutely accurate – they really ARE selling a $175 top-of-the-line phonograph for 30 bucks… Continue reading Highest Fidelity. Lowest Prices.
How rural was America in the 1930s? This rural: so many farmhouses didn’t yet have real plumbing… Continue reading “City Comfort for the Country”
Woven rugs weren’t cheap in the Depression. If you couldn’t afford one, you could get a a “Congoleum” rug for one-fifth of the price… Continue reading When is a Rug not a Rug?
Here’s a page of fireworks fun to ignite the imagination of any red-blooded American boy from 83 summers ago, dreaming of the fun to be had on the Fourth of July. All good– except for one thing… Continue reading Fireworks
I don’t recognize the heroic young couple in this 1939 catalog as real people. But their house must have looked nice, if they bought Pittsburgh paints from the Gebhardt Paint company in Marshfield, Oregon… Continue reading Heroes of the Home
As a sport, baseball in the 1930s was a national obsession in a way that was probably unmatched in America’s history. And everything you needed to play the Great American Pastime could be found on this oversized double-page spread. Continue reading Take me out to the Sandlot
Lilley Luggage, 1931 In a day when travel is quick and airlines discourage us from checking bags with us, it takes a real mental effort to consider travel preparation from long ago. When crossing the country or the ocean took days or weeks by train or by boat, you really had to take packing seriously … Continue reading Serious Luggage for Serious Travelers
Once upon a time, and for a very long period of time, you could use the word “Kodak” as either a noun or a verb and folks knew exactly what you meant. That’s how ubiquitous the brand was in the days of analog, film-based photography… Continue reading When Camera Meant Kodak
Today, the trend is to hide our complex media electronics away. Build the TV set into the wall. Hide the electronics in a closet. In 1937, though, people were proud of their investment in technology, and didn’t hide it…. Continue reading Furniture that Plays Music
Oldsmobile Eight sales catalog, 1936 Auto catalogs have always been sensuous sales tools, managing to make even the smallest utilitarian cars look luxurious. These days it’s done with extreme photography and computer-enhanced imagery. In 1936 it was done through the most elegant of Art-Deco artwork. Just look at that illustration, and never mind the car … Continue reading Streamline Moderne, in home and car