Perfect back contest

Sometimes I run across an article or photo that’s just plain weird. Here’s a picture from the photo page of the July 27 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that falls into this category.

I have no idea why anyone would want to enter the National Progressive Chiropractors Association’s perfect back contest. I suppose that there was a prize of some sort, and it was the middle of the Great Depression, so people were looking to make money any way they could.

I could find no reference to the National Progressive Chiropractors Association or its perfect back contest anywhere. Searches for C. H. Wood indicated that he was a leading chiropractor in California at that time; his given name appears to have been Charles.


Craven in childbirth

The November 21 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this rather startling article about women and childbirth.

It appears that Dr. John S. Fairbairn of St. Thomas’ Hospital in London believed that middle-class British women were unwilling to suffer during childbirth and did not believe that motherhood was a duty. This apparently made it their own fault that they died more often during the delivery process. (Dr. Fairbairn, needless to say, was male.)

A Google search for Dr. Fairbairn turned up this obituary for him; he passed away in 1944. The obituary listed his medical achievements and honours but did not mention his viewpoint on maternal suffering.


Ukelele surprise

I included this bit of filler from the February 18 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star because it was a bit unusual.


I suspect that Mr. Watson was not invited to any future surprise parties.



Here’s an ad from the June 11 1947 Toronto Daily Star that’s just plain weird:


What’s weirdest about this ad is that Abbey’s Effervescent Salt is actually a laxative, though the ad copy doesn’t mention it directly – it just says that Abbey’s “acts gently, effectively”. I’m not sure whether a laxative is the best remedy for overindulging, but then I’m not a medical doctor, am I?

Compare this ad to one that appeared in the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star, which went straight to the point:


Abbey’s Effervescent Salt had been around since the 19th century. The company published a book in 1898 titled Abbey’s Effervescent Salt: The Foundation of Health.

Wikipedia has a generic entry on fruit salts – Abbey’s was apparently created as a competitor to Eno’s Fruit Salt.


Probably not a good idea

From the February 8 1945 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Perhaps the prisoner wanted to create a tunnel in which to hide the $60 watch.



Here’s an article from the November 2 1966 Toronto Daily Star that made my jaw drop:


I had no idea that they used to number the indigenous Canadians who lived in the north – how demeaning is that? Did they actually ever address him as “E7-55”?

I’m not sure when the word “Eskimo” stopped being used officially. Wikipedia informs me that the term was originally used by the Algonquin tribes to refer to their northern neighbours, and that the Inuit never referred to themselves this way.