Category Archives: Advertising

ADVERTISING – FOOD – 1862-1939

1862-1939 is our oldest subcategory of sustenance and taste sensation advertising. Thereafter the subdivisions are broken up by decade: 1940-1949, 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2009, 2010-2019.

It is astonishing how text heavy ads from this time period were. Only the legalese of drug advertisements warnings have as much text these day. Our oldest food ad (it’s actually a  book that instructs you how to better grow food) from 1888:

From the Youth’s Companion, 1898, we have a  Quaker Oats ad that pre-dates the formation of the Quaker Oats company (which formed in 1901–until that time it was called the Quaker Mill Company). We also have an ad for Beardsley’s Shredded Codfish which leverages the abstentions of lent by letting the devout know that they can still indulge in a delightful dish of fish cream and fish balls.

Also from the Youth’s Companion, 1898, is this romantic little Wheat Germ ad:

I do not have exact dates for the following four ads, but I guess they are from approximately 1900.

“This four year old girl was raised entirely on Eskay’s food.” & “For Infants and Invalids.” This is so very sinister:

I am John Mackintosh the Toffee King, and just as the moon controls the tides, I control your children:

From 1901, this may be the ugliest ad that I have ever seen:

We have many Libby’s ad from different time periods. This one, from 1904, I believe is our oldest:

I remember deviled ham sandwiches (as if I were Joe Brainard). I didn’t care for them as a child, but I could really go for one right now. 1924:

1930’s (ca):

1930 era Pep cereal depicts the boy of the house usurping the man of the house (not pictured) to the great adoration of the woman of the house.

The bread diet, 1939!

And finally, also from 1939, a comic ad for All-Bran featuring “The Regulars” sharing a page with a fencing baby.

Advertising – Corporate Identity, Industry, & Utility

After a hiatus for the summer, during which time the Picture Collection crew was very busy adding new content and new subjects, the blog returns to highlight one of the said new subjects: Advertising – Corporate Identity, Industry, & Utility. This subdivision of Advertising has the further chronological divisions of Pre-1950, 1950-1959, and Post-1950. These are advertisements that do not feature consumer products. Rather, like the descriptive subject heading tells you, they feature 1 of 3 things: 1) Corporate Identity advertisements, which mostly feature large corporations trying to cast themselves and their name in a positive, greater-good, type of light, 2) Industry advertisements, which are instances of one corporation or business trying to sell their techniques, expertise, equipment, buildings, and materials to other businesses and corporations, and 3) Utility advertisements, such as Water Works, The Electric Company, and the Pennsylvania, B&O, Reading, and Short Line Railroads. We have hundreds of these advertisements, most of which we added this summer, and most of which are from 1950 ear Fortune Magazines (hence our chronological subdivision featuring the 1950’s and everything else).

As I examined these advertisements, I noticed one, odd, and I must say, disturbing trend: Giant Hands. Giant Hands with jet airplanes escaping their grasp like an insect, giant hands lifting up buildings, giant hands revealing a factory under a giant basket. Modern man, whilst fashioning better living through chemistry and science, had also become literal Titans, moving factories and cities with their giant, vascular hands. Sometimes we get the whole body, but often it’s just the heavenly hands swooping in and arranging our reality. Following is a sampling.

“The People of Union Carbide created the jet-piercing flame processes” and their advertising agency created this monstrous, pork-sausage fingered, witch-green poisonous gas emitting hand violating the earth.

Delco Radio, “With productive manpower bigger and better than ever before…”

“Do you level mountains?” Well, you need Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton, and this guy (but for goodness sake, could you put on a shirt?).

Scientific torture tests as surrealists’ wet dreams…

More dumb strength from BLH.

And finally, the mastermind behind it all, Dr. Manhattan’s red brother, Dr. Jersey City.


The tag-line of this blog is “A tiny window into 637 Periodical Titles & 200,000+ images divided into 910 Picture Subjects.” 95 of those subjects have the parent subject Advertising. There are 16 subcategories of Advertising (Beer, Cigarettes, Cosmetics & Grooming, Drugs & Medicine, Fashion, Finance, etc.). Those subcategories are then divided chronologically, for the most part into decades. This arrangement allows users to see how illustration (or the lack of it), graphic design, copy, and advertising strategies have evolved over time.

Advertising–Tourism, which has nearly 1000 items, is divided thus: 1890-1919, 1920-1929, 1930-1939, 1940-1949, 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2009, and soon 2010-2019. A generous sampling follows.

October 1904

From Travel Magazine, November 1926

From Travel Magazine, December 1926


By Horace Taylor, From The Artist, June 1933

1949. 62 Years later, the Florida Vacation persists.

1950. This is a whole pamphlet published by the Pan American Union.


National Geographic, June 1968

Smithsonian, October 1972



Culture & Travel, July/August 2008