Looking back: Old food ads provide a sense of their eras
Nancy J. Stohs
SCANNING the old food ads was a treat in its own right. Seeing the outdated prices (bananas: 10 cents a pound!) was amusing.
So was the movie starlet in 1950 touting frozen lima beans, complete with a recipe.
It was also interesting to follow the progression of dominant grocery chains in the Milwaukee area, and how they vied for customers.
Here are a few examples:
1910: A precursor to Kopp’s Flavor Forecast? The Luick Ice Cream Co. advertised a “special brick” of the day. Two days’ worth of flavors: Chocolate Nesselrode and Pineapple Glace.
1920: Prohibition days . . . An ad for Virginia Dare de-alcoholized wine promised: “Nothing is missing but the alcohol, and you won’t miss that in your joy of the fine old flavor.”
1930: “Enjoy iced coffee!” screamed an ad from A & P stores, promoting coffee brands ranging in price from 25 to 43 cents per pound. (And you thought this was a ’90s drink sensation.)
1942: “My husband is full of surprises!” exclaims an apron-garbed stereotypical housewife. Her testimonial relays a request from hubby for fresh homemade salad dressings. But horrors “he didn’t enthuse much about it.” The next day, he brings home Mazola salad oil and proceeds to tell her “Sweetheart” that not only does it made dressings he’ll like, but it also fortifies nerves, keeps the skin in good condition and regulates normal body functions. (Smart man, but can he cook?)
1955: Did you know Pabst once made root beer and other canned sodas? “Children love all 6 flavors! And they’re safe! Made with the juice of real fruit!”
1970: Coupons not worth clipping by today’s standards . . . They included a whole 5 cents off on Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and 7 cents off a can of Chicken of the Sea tuna.
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