Life begins at 90

The June 26 1937 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail had an article about a carpenter and painter who was about to turn 96:


Mr. Smith was born in 1841, so he was over a quarter of a century older than Canada; he arrived in this country when he was 28 and Canada was 2.

The article mentioned that he worked as a carpenter until he was 92, and that he was  able to paint his old homestead in England from memory, both of which seem impressive.

Mr. Smith appears in the Toronto city directory up until 1939, so he lived to celebrate his 97th birthday at least. The 1940 city directory is not available, and he is not listed in the 1941 directory.


Authors & Cox

When looking up entries in Toronto city directories, I have frequently found listings for Authors & Cox, a firm that specialized in artificial limbs, trusses, belts, and other aids for injured or disabled people. In the February 22 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, the company celebrated its 70th anniversary, making it slightly older than Canada itself:


They were in this location as late as 1945, but by 1950 had moved to 295 King Street West. They remained there until sometime between 1960 and 1965 – they do not appear in the 1965 city directory.


Good grief, Mr. Ripley

Recently, I was reading a biography of Charles Schulz (of Peanuts fame). In an early chapter, the book mentioned that Mr. Schulz, as a boy, sent an item to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not about his dog, and that it was published on February 22, 1937.

The Toronto Daily Star ran Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as a regular feature, and I found it:


As the biography explains, “Sparky” was Mr. Schulz’s childhood nickname. I might be imagining things, but I think the dog looks a bit like Snoopy.


Bile Beans

The February 22 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad:


Wikipedia has a long article on Bile Beans. It was a laxative and tonic that was first manufactured in the 1890s. It was supposedly created by a chemist named Charles Forde based on research on a vegetable source known only to Aboriginal Australians; in reality, Charles Forde did not exist, and the compound consisted primarily of cascara, rhubarb, liquorice, and menthol, all of which were commonly available.

In 1905, a Scottish court ruled that the Bile Bean Manufacturing Company had deliberately defrauded the public by making false statements about Bile Beans. Despite this, the product remained on sale through the 1980s, and its business owner was able to purchase Headingley Castle in Leeds with the firm’s profits.