95th birthday

The February 15 1930 Toronto Globe contained this birthday notice:


This is a bit off-putting: if Mr. Tyerman was “remarkably alert for his years”, he would be able to realize that this article was a wee bit condescending.

I was morbidly curious, so I wondered: how many more birthdays was Mr. Tyerman able to celebrate? The answer, sadly, was one at most: he is listed in the 1930 Toronto city directory, but not in the 1931 city directory.



The January 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Globe contained these ads for the singer who went by just a single name, Onegin:



Sigrid Onégin (1889-1943) was a contralto born in Sweden to a German father and a French mother. I’m not sure whether she achieved the greatness of immortality, but you can decide for yourself: many of her recordings are on YouTube, including O mio Fernando from 1929.


Going to California

The January 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Globe contained two different ads for travelling to California.

The first was from the Santa Fe Railway:


The Santa Fe railway’s full name was the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway (or AT&SF for short). It stopped operating passenger trains in 1971.

The same paper also had an ad from Canadian National Railways:


Wikipedia’s page on the Canadian National Railway is here.


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.