Daylight savings time

The other day, I was looking at the September 19 1925 edition of the Toronto Globe, and I discovered that daylight savings time was scheduled to end the next day.

The front page of the paper contained this notice:


In 1925, it was just assumed that everybody would go to church on Sunday.

The paper also had this official notice from the mayor, Thomas Foster:


God Save the King! Thomas Foster (1852-1945) was the mayor of Toronto from 1925 to 1927, when he was well into his seventies. He was a teenager when Canada was created, and lived to see the end of the Second World War; he is now buried in a large mausoleum in Uxbridge that the town cannot afford to maintain. His will left $500,000 for cancer research, money for an annual picnic at Exhibition Park for children, money to feed wild birds in Toronto, and prizes for the mothers who gave birth to the most children in four specified ten-year periods, the last of which was 1954 to 1964.

The Time and Date website has the complete history of daylight savings time in Toronto. The amount of yearly DST has changed frequently over the years since it was first instituted in 1918:

  • The first four years were April 14-October 27, March 30-October 26, May 2-September 26, and then May 15-September 15 in 1921. Mid-May to mid-September remained in place until 1923.
  • In 1924, DST was revised to be from the first Sunday in May to the third Sunday in September.
  • In 1927, there was a slight change: DST went from the last Sunday in April or May 1 if the last Sunday in April was the 25th, to the last Sunday in September or October 1 if the last Sunday in September was the 24th. This must have been a bit confusing, but it remained in place until 1937.
  • In 1938, DST would have started on May 1, but the city decided to go with April 24th instead. Similarly, in 1939, DST ended on September 24, not October 1. I have no idea why.
  • During the war, starting April 28, 1940, DST remained in force all year round, ending finally on September 30, 1945. In 1946, the city reverted to the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in September.
  • In 1947, 1948, and 1949, for some reason, the city decided to set its clocks forward and back at midnight instead of 2 a.m.
  • In 1949 and 1950, the city experimented with ending DST on the last Sunday in November instead of the last Sunday in September. I guess that this proved unpopular, as the city reverted in 1951 to moving the clocks forward at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in April, and then moving them back again at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in September.
  • In 1957, the city started moving the clocks back at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in October. This remained in place for 30 years.
  • In 1987, clocks were moved forward on the first Sunday in April, not the last. This remained in place for 20 more years.
  • In 2007, the city changed to its present system: clocks are now moved forward on the second Sunday in March, and back on the first Sunday in November.

Way Sagless Spring

The September 19 1925 edition of the Toronto Globe contained this ad for a bedspring:


I tend to want to read the firm’s name in the voice of a stoned surfer dude: “This spring is way sagless.”

I looked up the Way Sagless Spring Company in the Toronto city directories, because why not. Here’s what I found:

  • The firm doesn’t appear in the 1925 directory; its first appearance is in 1926. So the company had just moved into the Toronto market when this ad came out. (They were also in the United States – see below for more details.)
  • By 1930, they had moved to 48 Abell Street, which is not far from where the Drake Hotel is today. They remained there until at least 1941 (I was checking at about five-year intervals). In 1941, the firm was doing well enough to purchase a bold-face larger-print entry in the city directory.
  • By 1946, they had moved to 81 Riverside Drive in Swansea, and there was a Way Sagless Lunch Bar (!!) at the same location. By 1951, the lunch bar was gone. The firm remained there until at least 1956.
  • In 1961, they were at 11 Kingsway South in Swansea.
  • By 1965, they were gone.

A Google search for Way Sagless Spring Company turned up references to older ads, mostly in Minneapolis, where the company was originally from. (Popular Science has a link to a somewhat creepy-looking Way Sagless Spring ad from 1917; it’s clearly the same illustration.) There is also an old ghost sign for Way Sagless Springs in Brooklyn.


Auto-Knitter Hosiery

Here’s an ad from the September 19 1925 Toronto Globe that caught my eye:


Some snooping in the Toronto city directories yielded the following information about the Auto-Knitter Hosiery Company:

  • The company first appears in the 1917 directory at 257 College Street, with Alfred W. Orme as its manager.
  • Thomas W. Chadburn (pictured in the ad) took over as manager in 1918.
  • In 1920, the firm had moved to 607 College Street, and then moved to 1870 Davenport Road before 1923.
  • The firm remained in business until 1945, at which point Mr. Chadburn apparently married his long-time secretary-treasurer and became vice-president of a medical products company.
  • He appears in city directories as late as 1965 – his occupation isn’t listed, so he was probably retired by then.

A search for “auto-knitter hosiery” turned up the following:

  • The Grey Roots Museum and Archives site has a page on the company.
  • The 100 Hidden Histories blog has photographs of a knitting machine.
  • The Trampled by Geese blog describes trying to get an auto-knitter to work.



Influenza in 1928

While the influenza epidemic of 1918 was the deadliest in recent history, there have been other flu epidemics in Toronto. The December 22 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe was published while an epidemic was in full flood.

The main story on the epidemic stated that 25 new victims had been admitted to hospital, and three people had died:


This wasn’t as bad as Grand-Mère, Quebec, in which there were 1000 to 1200 cases of a “mild variety” of grippe that had closed all the schools:


This day’s paper included two public-service ads related to the flu that were placed by life insurance companies. The first was from Ontario Equitable:


This ad reminded readers that, at the first sign of a cold, you were to start to fight as though your very life depended on it. The ad doesn’t seem to distinguish very well between colds and the flu.

And here’s the ad from Sun Life:


Both ads suggested the importance of keeping your bowels open. For people for whom this was an issue, Grove’s Bromo Quinine offered a solution:


I found links related to Grove’s Bromo Quinine at the National Museum of American History and Weird Universe. It was on sale until at least the 1960s.

The makers of Ovaltine offered another option:


Eventually, I will write a long article about Ovaltine: it’s been marketed in a number of ways, of which this is just one.

Finally, the makers of Veno’s Lightning Cough Syrup offered a remedy:


Veno’s Lightning Cough Syrup had been around since the Victorian era, and was originally known as Veno’s Lightning Cough Cure. I found a blog that described this medicine in more detail.


The Hoo-Hoo Club

The December 22 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe contained this article:


I love the very idea of the Bojum of the Supreme Nine of the Concatenated Order of the Hoo-Hoo.

I was reluctant to search for “Hoo-Hoo Club” on Google because I was afraid of what might turn up, but the results turned out to be safe for work. The Hoo-Hoo Club is a fraternal service organization for members of the forest products industry. The order is still in existence today, but most of its clubs are inactive.


Unfortunate placement

The July 19 1929 Toronto Daily Star contained an ad and an article that didn’t go all that well together:


I suspect that the owners of Canadian Colonial Airways would not have been happy to see their ad right above an article describing a plane crash.

Canadian Colonial Airways was formed in 1929, and was rebranded as Colonial Airlines in 1942 before becoming part of Eastern Air Lines. An airline timetable images site has a large collection of timetable covers for this airline.

I found one reference to Floyd Banghart in an obituary for his nephew. This article mentions that Banghart served alongside Billy Bishop in the First World War.


May weather extremes

April in Toronto is unpredictable – you can have anything from sunny and warm to major snow and ice storms. Usually, by May, the weather has stabilized a bit. But some years are exceptions.

On May 30, 1929, the Toronto Daily Star reported that Toronto was in the midst of a heat wave:


According to the weather records that I was able to look up, the high temperature for May 30, 1929 was 32.8C, or 91F. So the all-time record was not broken that day. The weather stayed warm for one more day, reaching 29.4C on May 31, but a cold front came through the next day, with the high temperature only reaching 15.6C.

May 26, 1961 went to the other extreme, as it had snowed the previous day, and there was a strong risk of frost that night:


This had actually been a rather sudden reversal, as the high temperature for May 25 was 26.1C. I’m not quite sure how it managed to snow on May 25, as the listed overnight low was 9.4C, but the records that I have indicate that yes, it did snow on that day. (It also rained a total of 19.6mm on that day, so I guess a system was blowing air in from the north.)

Gardeners in the Toronto district, at least, dodged a bullet, as the overnight low went down to 0.6C – close, but not right down to the freezing mark. (Outside of the city, farmers and gardeners might not have been so lucky.) The high temperature for that day was only 8.3C, but the temperature rebounded to seasonal shortly after. On May 28, the thermometer reached 24.4C.


Poor King Gustav

Newspaper typesetters of the past clearly had access to a handy supply of odd little bits of filler, which they could use to fill gaps in pages. The April 22 1925 Toronto Daily Star included this item:


King Gustav V (or Gustaf V) may have had a brief attack of stomach trouble in 1925, but he went on to live a long life: he died in 1950 at the age of 91 after reigning in Sweden for nearly 43 years. He played competitive tennis for his country under the alias “Mr. G”.


Magistrate’s belief

The April 21 1925 Toronto Daily Star contained an unusual bit of jurisprudence:


If a modern judge suggested that a young woman be locked up for a week and given a series of spankings, it would be all over Twitter.

I’m not sure whether the judge was being compassionate when she remanded Ms. Mayne to the care of her mother. I guess it would depend on whether it was the mother-daughter relationship that drove her to being “found in a resort”.


Save that man! Save that woman!

Daily newspapers used to have a page devoted to ads for churches and visiting preachers. Here’s one from the September 2 1922 Toronto Daily Star that stood out:


A Google search for Byron Stauffer turned up a number of things:

  • In 1910, he wrote Your Mother’s Apron Strings, a series of talks to young men.
  • In 1912, he delivered a sermon entitled “The Titanic Disaster and The Spirit of the Master”.
  • In 1915, he gave a speech to the Empire Club titled “Sir John A. Macdonald: Empire Builder”.
  • In 1919, he wrote The Battle Nobody Saw and Other Sermons.

And, sadly, he might not have lived very long after this Massey Hall event:

  • A footnote from this article lists a “Byron E. Stauffer” as having lived from 1870 to 1922. Every other reference I found referred to “Byron H. Stauffer”, so this might have been somebody else.
  • However, I found a reference to Byron H. Stauffer having been born in 1870.
  • This Amazon link lists his birth and death dates as 1870 and 1922.
  • He is listed in the 1922 Toronto city directory, but not in the 1923 city directory.
  • This footnote lists his name and the date “October 26, 1922” – was that when he passed away? I didn’t want to buy the e-book to find out.