Treacherous as a submarine

Submarines were first in common use in the early 1900s, and were generally known about by the First World War. Which is why the May 19 1915 edition of the Toronto Daily Star could feature this ad:


We’ve run into Abbey’s Effervescent Salt before – there was a somewhat cryptic ad for it here. This ad features a testimonial from the Medical Officer of Health for London, England! (Not to be confused with the Medical Officer of Health for London, Ontario.) He wouldn’t lie to you, would he?

What’s interesting is that Abbey’s is available in two sizes: the 25-cent bottle if you plan on being only a little stopped up, or the 60-cent version if you are in regular need.


Whose car is this?

The May 19 1915 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had this picture in it:


My first guess is that this driver got into a hit-and-run collision. But if this had happened, there would not have been a stationary shot of this car. So I don’t know what happened, and I guess I will never know.


Gain or lose weight

Recently, I took a look at the May 19 1915 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. It contained ads for a product that helped you gain weight, and a product that helped you lose it.

First, the gainer:


Advertisements for products that help you gain weight seem strange nowadays, but a lot of people were having trouble getting enough to eat back then.

If you were having enough to eat, or perhaps too much, this day’s paper had an option for you too:


I don’t know what would happen if someone tried to take Certone and Resia at the same time. Which side would win?

What’s interesting to me is how wordy these ads were. People had time on their hands – there was no television or radio back then – and so were willing to read a lot more details than we are.


The sights of the Midway

The September 5 1913 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featured this article about the CNE midway, which shows that at least the food hasn’t changed much over the years.


Beautiful Arab girls from Limerick performing the houchee-couchee?

H. F. Gadsby was an art critic. His greatest claim to fame, at this distance, appears to be that he disliked what eventually became the Group of Seven. In the December 12 1913 edition of the Daily Star, he referred to them as the Hot Mush School, and claimed that the texture of their paint reminded him of gobs of porridge. Here’s a bit of the article (it’s too large to reprint here – you can find it on page 6 of the paper):


This article started a controversy, which brought these artists to public attention. Sometimes, any publicity is good, even when it’s bad!

Wikipedia also has an entry on the hoochie coochie, which was apparently was a catchall term for sexually provocative belly dances. Hubba hubba, etc.


Posh salad dressing

Here’s an ad from the September 5 1913 Toronto Daily Star that attempted to sell salad dressing as a luxury item:



An Internet search for Yacht Club Salad Dressing turned up a PDF link to the Yacht Club Manual of Salads from 1914, and a number of people wanting to sell copies of old ads and salad dressing bottles. This page provides a detailed history of Yacht Club Salad Dressing and lots of ads for the product.



The September 5 1913 Toronto Daily Star contains this terse comment:


J.M. Barrie is, of course, best known as the writer of Peter Pan, which will likely remain in our culture for as long as there is one. The Adored One doesn’t appear in the list of works by year in Barrie’s Wikipedia page (which possibly proves this writer’s point).

Mark Bostridge’s The Fateful Year: England 1914 mentions this play as having been written for Mrs. Patrick Campbell (“Mrs. Pat”), an English stage actress who became emotionally (but apparently not physically) involved with George Bernard Shaw.

For more on Barrie, you can read Anthony Lane’s Lost Boys or this article in the Telegraph.



When looking at old newspapers, I find things that used to cause problems back then but don’t much any more. For example, here’s an article from the September 5 1913 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Such horrible tragic ways to die: because you had a small pimple on your face, stepped on a nail, or picked at a mosquito bite.

Thankfully, this is mostly a thing of the past in developed countries: the tetanus vaccine was developed in 1924 and became generally available in the United States in the 1940s. If Master Dalton Woodside had waited until then to be born, he would not have been killed by the deadly disease.


A good, jolly dance

Here’s an ad from the September 5 1913 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Photo 2018-03-26, 7 24 49 PM

I have no idea why the letters c and t were joined with that strange loop, but I guess font design was different back then.

The Victrola was a brand of gramophone invented by the Victor Talking Machine Company, and was designed to look like a piece of furniture. More details on it can be found here.