The president’s son

Newspapers from the 1920s and 1930s often put their photographs on a single page, as this made the paper easier to produce. The August 11 1923 Toronto Globe included this photograph of John Coolidge, the son of U.S. president Calvin Coolidge:


John Coolidge was 16 at the time this photograph was taken. His brother, Calvin Jr., who was a year and a half younger, had less than a year to live: in July 1924, he died of blood poisoning brought on by an infected blister. John would live for more than three-quarters of a century after this photo was taken: he became a businessman and entrepreneur, and died in 2000 at the age of 93.


Entertainment in 1923

I never get tired of looking at old entertainment ads. Here’s some listings from the August 11 1923 edition of the Toronto Globe:


The Royal Alexandra was air-conditioned to 65 degrees, which seems quite cool today!

Here’s what I could find about the various performers listed here:

I could find nothing about Snell and Vernon, Sally Beers, the Four Juggling Nelsons, Robert Reilly, or Billy Hallen.


Lake Simcoe Ice

Before refrigeration became common, households used to regularly order blocks of ice from dealers. Lake Simcoe Ice was one of the largest ice dealers in the city. Here’s an ad for them from the August 11 1923 edition of the Toronto Globe.


This Muskoka Region web page details the history of ice harvesting on Lake Simcoe and elsewhere. At the time this ad came out, artificial ice began to replace harvested ice, which had the obvious advantage of being easier to produce in warm-weather months.

The Toronto Plaques web site lists a plaque for the Lake Simcoe Ice office at 2276 Gerrard Street East, which closed in 1976.


Marketing Ovaltine

While collecting newspaper ads and articles, I’ve noticed a whole bunch of ads for Ovaltine, which Wikipedia calls a “brand of milk flavoring product made with malt extract.” However, the makers of Ovaltine have never been sure how to market it. They’ve tried just about everything.

In the July 7 1923 Toronto Globe, they marketed Ovaltine as a sleep aid:

1923 July 7 Globe

In the September 19 1925 Toronto Globe, they marketed it as a “pick-up” for listless office workers.

1925 Sep 19 Globe

The September 7 1927 Toronto Globe praised it as a sustaining tonic that helped distance swimmer Georges Michel make it across the English Channel. It was apparently his only nourishment during the ordeal.

1927 Sep 7 Globe

The October 1 1928 Toronto Daily Star included “a message of national importance”, offering health for all at lower cost:

1928 Oct 1 Star

Sixteen days later, in the October 17 1928 Toronto Daily Star, they recommended heating Ovaltine to relieve afternoon fatigue:

1928 Oct 17 Star

During the midst of an influenza epidemic, the December 22 1928 Toronto Globe stated that Ovaltine could protect you from the flu:

1928 Dec 22 Globe

In the April 20 1929 Toronto Globe, they were back to marketing Ovaltine as a cure for sleeplessness:

1929 Apr 20 Globe

And, the February 25 1930 Toronto Daily Star suggested that it was a delicious and healthful beverage after an evening of bridge.

1930 Feb 25 Star

This was the end of what you might call The Golden Age of Ovaltine. I found some Ovaltine ads much later, in the 1940s and 1950s – by then, they had settled on their niche, which was that Ovaltine was a useful supplement for babies and small children. From the June 8 1943 Toronto Daily Star:

1943 Jun 8 Star

And from the March 25 1947 Toronto Daily Star:

1947 Mar 25 Star

And, finally, from the February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

1950 Feb 2 Star

This ad also mentions that Ovaltine can maintain the mother’s health and strength. Or perhaps stave off sleeplessness. Or whatever.

Throughout the years, Ovaltine was always marketed by A. Wander, Limited, first located in Toronto and then in Peterborough. I think I would have liked to sit in on one of their marketing strategy meetings.


Creepy Kruschen people

So far, I have run across four ads for Kruschen Salts, and the people in them all look really creepy.

The first one is from the August 21 1923 Toronto Daily Star:


That old guy in the water looks happy, but he looks a bit strange, as if he is on uppers or something. But he’s normal-looking when compared to the older guy in ad in the September 27 1927 Toronto Daily Star:


The young man is in despair because he wants the creepy old guy to go away. In this ad, I notice that the sole importer of Kruschen Salts has changed. Perhaps they just found a Toronto distributor as well as a Montreal one.

Next, we have an ad from the November 21 1932 Toronto Daily Star:


This “wonderfully active” 66-year-old woman (Mrs. E. W.) looks a bit more normal, except for those eyes: once again, she looks like she’s high on amphetamines or something. It’s deeply disturbing.

The last one is from the March 31, 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, and I think it’s the creepiest one of all:


Oh my God, the zombies are attacking! Run before it’s too late!

I couldn’t find out much about Kruschen Salts, other than it has been around for a while. A British site mentions that it first went on sale in 1922. One of the ads here claims that Kruschen Salts contains six salts, but the website lists only sodium chloride as its current active ingredient.