In your home complete

Here’s an ad from the October 3 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a coal blower:

When I saw this, I wasn’t sure what a coal blower was. The idea is that it sends a steady stream of air towards your coal furnace to keep the coal burning.

A search of the Toronto city directories revealed that the Star Blower Company was a branch of the Star Electric Fixtures Company. The company stayed in business for over thirty years after this ad came out, moving from 107 Church to 141-143 Church and then eventually to 104 Avenue Road, all under the proprietorship of a gentleman named Peter Salter. I found the firm in the 1963 directory but not the 1967 directory.

Inimitable singer

Here’s a photo from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a singer who was about to be heard on the Star’s radio station.

The dictionary defines “inimitable” as, literally, not capable of being imitated. It is usually considered a compliment. Despite this, I was not able to find any references to Sue Sands anywhere on the Internet – she and her inimitability are lost to history.

The Star’s radio station was CFCA, which went on the air in 1922. It was the first station to broadcast the play-by-play of a hockey game. It went off the air permanently in 1933.

Three generations of swimming champions

Here’s a photo from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two swimming champions and the daughter of one of them.

Ethelda Bleibtrey (1902-1978) won three gold medals in the 1920 Olympic Games. She had previously been arrested in 1919 for “nude swimming” – she had removed her stockings at a pool at a time when doing so was strictly illegal. Public support for her cause led to the abandonment of the stockings requirement.

The encyclopedia.com website has a long entry on Ms. Bleibtrey. She married businessman Frederick MacRobert in 1927; their daughter, Leilah, was born in 1928. They were divorced in the early 1930s.

Georgia Coleman has already been mentioned in this blog here. Both she and Ms. Bleibtrey contracted polio: Ms. Bleibtrey contracted it as a teenager, which led her to take up swimming, and Ms. Coleman eventually died of pneumonia related to her getting the disease in 1937.

I found an Ancestry.com record for Leilah MacRobert – she passed away in 2016.

Brilliant wedding

Here’s a photo from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a couple that had just gotten married.

Searches in the Toronto city directories revealed that the parents of the bride and groom were comfortably off: John A. MacIntosh was one of the partners of Macdonald & MacIntosh, barristers and solicitors, and Frank A. Rolph was the president of both the Imperial Bank and Rolph-Clark-Stone, a lithography and printing firm. (Their workplace, at 201 Carlaw Avenue, was eventually converted to condominiums but still stands. The firm name is clearly visible in the remnant of the old building.)

I traced the Rolphs, father and son, since they had an easy-to-locate surname. By 1938, Frank A. Rolph was just the president of Rolph-Clark-Stone, having given up his side banking gig. He was listed in the 1941 directory as Chairman of the Board. In 1942, his widow, Grace, was listed at their Inglewood Drive address; she was not listed in 1943.

Gordon G. Rolph went into the family firm: he started out as a salesman, but by 1948 was the assistant sales director. In 1958, he was the director of the lithography division; in 1964, he was president and general manager. By 1969, the last year in which Toronto city directories were available online, he too was now the Chairman of the Board. He didn’t stay in Moore Park for long – by 1938, he too had moved to a house in Forest Hill.

By the way, the Rolph-Clark-Stone firm used to regularly print calendars of pinup girls.

Narrow escape from death

Here’s a photo from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an airplane being pulled from the sea.

George Stainforth (1899-1942) was a British pilot who had briefly held the world speed record in September 1929. His first attempt to break the record in mid-September 1931 resulted in his sinking his plane due to what Wikipedia referred to as a “minor taxiing accident”, shown here. The day after this photo appeared in the paper, Stainforth tried again in another copy of the plane, becoming the first pilot ever to reach 400 mph. On a different flight, he also set a record by flying upside down for 12 minutes.

After setting his records, Stainforth became a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force. He was killed in action near the Gulf of Suez in 1942 and was buried with full military honours in Egypt.

Foremost exponent of archery-golf

Here’s a photo from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a western Canadian archery golf enthusiast.

Phillip Moore (1879-1951) was a collegiate athletic champion in the United States before marrying a woman from Banff and settling there. He commanded the 1st Battalion Alberta Regiment during the First World War. The Royal Canadian Legion branch number 26 is named after him and there is a photo of a fund raising badge for the branch. I also found a photo of him with his horse.

A search for “archery golf” didn’t turn up all that much. The Oregon Historical Society has photos of archery golf enthusiasts from 1923. And, naturally, the Archery Trade Association suggests challenging your customers to a round of archery golf.

Very good, sir

Here’s a pair of ads from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention because they were the same size and seem to somehow go together:

I don’t think they had a dining hall at the old Woodbine racetrack, especially one that served steak with Lea & Perrins Sauce, but you never know.

Why he will never marry

Here’s an advertisement from the September 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a magazine that featured an article on the Prince of Wales.

Of course, the Prince of Wales did eventually marry – and his marriage cost him his throne.

Frazier Hunt (1885-1967) was an American radio announcer, writer, and war correspondent. He wrote a number of historical biographies; his subjects included Douglas MacArthur, Billy the Kid, and General George Armstrong Custer. He bought a ranch in southern Alberta in the 1930s, which is where he met the prince; apparently, he taught the prince to play poker.

Liberty magazine was published from 1924 to 1950 (with a brief revival in 1971). At its peak, it had the second-highest circulation of any magazine in the United States, trailing only the Saturday Evening Post. The magazine specified a “reading time” for each of its articles; this was apparently calculated by a member of the editorial staff, who carefully measured the amount of time it took him to read an article and then doubled it.

Combine forces

Here is a photo from the September 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two political leaders who planned to join forces to try to stop Adolf Hitler’s attempt to annex the Saar region into Germany.

The German edition of Wikipedia has entries on both Friedrich Pfordt (1900-1957) and Max Braun (1892-1945). Their joint attempt to maintain the independence of the Saar failed, as the January plebiscite led to its rejoining Germany.

Pfordt separated from the Communist party in 1939 and was interned in Sweden during the Second World War. After the war, he worked with an organization that was attempting to return the Saar to France.

Braun fled after the plebiscite, seeking exile first in France and then in Britain. where he continued to work with anti-Nazi groups. He apparently died of a blood clot after standing on his head. The New York Times ran his obituary. There is footage of him on YouTube speaking about the Saar in 1934.

My searches first turned up a different Max Braun who won a silver medal for the United States in the 1904 Olympics in the tug-of-war event. This Max Braun outlived his namesake by over two decades, possibly because he didn’t stand on his head.

Exhibition in aid

Here’s a photo from the September 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of pictures that were for sale to support a Canadian painter who had just suffered an accident.

André Lapine (1866-1952) was born in Latvia and worked as a painter in the Netherlands for 20 years before emigrating to Canada in 1905. He was best known for his paintings of horses.

A committee was formed to pay his medical bills after he was hit by a car in Toronto in 1934. Happily, he recovered from his injuries and was able to resume painting.

Lapine and his wife moved to Minden, Ontario in the 1940s. Many of his paintings are displayed in the Agnes Jamieson Gallery there.