George is a changed boy

The November 15 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad:


My first thought: if George was old enough to go to school, he would have been teased unmercifully about this ad. I hope that his mother gave him a share of the money that the family got for appearing in it. (And I hope that the family did get paid!)

As usual, I was curious whether Mrs. A. Gresham actually existed at 7 Currie Avenue. The answer is almost certainly yes – the 1929 city directory lists a William Gresham there. He worked as an engineer for the City of Toronto, and continued in that job as late as 1955. In the 1960 city directory, his occupation is not listed, so I assume that he was retired. Unfortunately, I do not know whether Mrs. A was still there, as the city directories were resolutely sexist and only listed the head of the household.

George himself starts appearing in the city directories in about 1948. He worked at Eaton’s, and was there at least through 1960; I didn’t check later than that. Hopefully, he was still regular.

As for California Fig Syrup: it appears to have originated late in the 19th century, which is when a lot of the most famous patent medicines came into being. The references I could find were mostly related to the bottles that it came in. There’s an early history of the company and its bottles, and another history that contains a collection of early ads for the product.

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