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Wire Service: London Hospital 1928

September 8, 1928 – ABOVE LONDON’S CHIMNEY POTS – On the roof of the West London Hospital, situated in the busy Hammersmith quarter of the great Metropolis, has just been constructed a sand pit. This enables the child-patients to enjoy the delights of the sea-side which would otherwise be impossible. Our picture shows some of the children in the sand-pit.

Vintage Photograph: Smoking Newsboys in St. Louis, 1910

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 37: Smokin’ Outside the Pool Room

From St. Louis in May 1910 comes a scene you won’t see much of anymore. The photo description from the Library of Congress reads as follow: “A Pool Room Branch (Chouteau & Manchester). These boys were playing pool and smoking in the pool room while waiting for papers. The smallest boy is 9 years old and sells until 9 P.M.”

Click for a larger version. Photo credit to Lewis Wickes Hine. For another shot from the same session, check out this Shorpy page.

Vintage Photograph: Smoking Newsboys in St. Louis, 1910

I love the smirk on the dapper gentleman standing in the doorway. His face pretty much says, “Yeah, I’m watching these young kids smoke, what of it? As long as I get my paper on time I’m fine and dandy.”

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 26: Rocket Ship Prize, 1954

This week I take a break from my New Jersey-centric photos to feature a pair of really cool images from Life magazine. They were taken in Washington, D.C. by noted Life photog Yale Joel in 1954, although I’ve been unable to determine when or if they actually ran in the magazine.

From what I can gather, some lucky boy won a contest involving a rocket ship. I’m not sure what he did to win it — dress up and send in a picture or write an essay perhaps. But the rocket rolled into town on the back of a trailer, and quite a crowd turned out to see it.

Rocket Ship Prize boy with space helmet

I’m guessing this is the kid who won the contest, all decked out in his space jumpsuit and homemade helmet. Looks like a Timmy or a Johnny.

Rocket Ship Prize Washington Square crowd

The photo description page says this about this spectacular shot, which could only have come from the 1950s: “Rocket ship prize, kids greeting ship in Washington’s Square in cardboard space helmets, truck on which it came is also part of prize, Ricky will sell truck and keep space ship in backyard of his parent’s modest home.”

How long do you suppose this rocket stayed in that back yard? I’d love to think it’s still around, but it probably didn’t make it through the 1960s.

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 22: Hudson Tunnel Station Newsies, 1909

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 22: Hudson Tunnel Station Newsies, 1909

Starting this week I’m going to start featuring more vintage photographs from my home state of New Jersey — the good, the bad, and the just plain neat. It’s a great opportunity for me to both share and learn more about the Garden State, so save your mob/pollution jokes please.

As with most of the other photos I’ve shared, I’m going to attempt to clean things up a bit. I’m no Shorpy but I do what I can.

This week’s image was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine, who shot countless numbers of pictures depicting child labor at the turn of the century and later. This photo shows a group of newsies hawking papers at the Hudson Tunnel Station in Jersey City in December 1909. From the Library of Congress page description: “Newsie selling at the Hudson Tunnel Station, Jersey City. Boy on left is Patrick Drohan, 37 Susex St., 12 yrs. old. Next to him Stanley Fazurowski [i.e., Fozurowski?], 9 yrs. old. Largest boy is 13. Location: Jersey City, New Jersey.”

(Click for the full-size image in a new tab.)

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 22: Hudson Tunnel Station Newsies, 1909

In addition to the vintage duds (dig those boots!), I see two different newspapers here. Three of the newsies are selling copies of The Jersey Journal, which covers Hudson County and has been in publication since 1867. The taller kid in the middle looks to be holding The New York Globe,  which published from 1904 until it was bought and merged into The Sun in 1923.

Based on the location of “Hudson Tunnel Station,” these boys appear to be stationed near the Jersey City side of the newly opened Downtown or Uptown Hudson Tubes. The Tubes were the first non-waterborne link between Manhattan and New Jersey. The tunnels currently PATH trains.

I can’t quite make out the newspaper held by the second child from the left, and nothing in this photo gives away the date. However, similar photos that appear to be from the same session are dated December 21, 1909.

Sears 1969 Fall/Winter Catalog - Baby Car Seat Travel Platform

Is This the Least Safe Baby Car Seat Ever? (1969 Sears Catalog)

So I’m bopping along, looking through 40-year-old Sears catalogs, as I am wont to do, when something catches my eye. No, not hideous fashion or vintage toys, although I certainly find plenty of that. I’m talking about a something altogether different.

Tucked away on page 543 of the 1969 Fall/Winter catalog is an item that you might miss if you focused on the rather, um, interesting vintage baby car seats. See if you can find what I’m think of on this “Travel Time” page…

Sears 1969 Fall/Winter Catalog - Baby Car Seat Travel Platform

Did you see it? Nope, not the car seats. It’s item #6, listed as the “Steel Travel Platform,” and it is a lovely relic from the golden age of Mid-Century Baby Travel.

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Fisher-Price’s TV Commercials Make Me Miss Being Childless

Being the parent of a toddler, I get to watch a wide range of children’s TV. Some of it is actually pretty good, and some of it stinks. And then of course, there are the commercials. Tons and tons of commercials. For the most part I’m able to tune them out, or even have some fun with the ads.

But not the latest batch of Fisher-Price spots. Let’s see if you can guess why, with this example.

Seems pretty harmless, right? The kid’s cute, and who doesn’t love toys? I mean, yeah, that song is a little annoying, what with the singer sounding like someone drugged her water before the recording session. But I guess she’s not that obnoxious.

Now try sitting through about 100 of these ads. That whiny, droning indie hipster “singing” transforms from slightly grating to completely rage-inducing. The only thing missing from this treacly garbage is the ever-present ukulele. If Zooey Deschanel had kids she’d be singing this, I just know it.

Gah! I need to watch something vintage to cleanse the bile out of my system. Ah, this vintage Little People ad should do the trick.

Thanksgiving Maskers scramble for pennies (1911)

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 18: Thanksgiving Maskers, 1911

Before Halloween became the de facto holiday of choice in America for children seeking goodies, there was Thanksgiving Masking. On the last Thursday in November, kids dressed up in costumes — typically made up of adult-looking clothes and either masks or dark, smudged faces — and go around the neighborhood begging for treats or scrambling for pennies.

The tradition started in the 19th century and, as far as I can tell, was mainly relegated to the northeastern U.S. Once the now-accepted traditions of Thanksgiving and Halloween took hold in the 20th century, masking vanished. Certainly one of the major developments that pushed it into obscurity was the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924.

Here’s a shot, most likely dated 1911, of a group of Thanksgiving Maskers scrambling for pennies. Notice the child with the smudged, black face on the left and the one with the mask in the middle. (Click for a larger version.)

Thanksgiving Maskers scramble for pennies (1911)

Here’s another shot showing more costumes.

Thanksgiving Maskers in costumes (1911)

And a shot of an adult painting the face of a Thanksgiving Masker, also from 1911. Dig the fake mustache the kid on the right is sporting.

Painting a Thanksgiving Masker, 1911

Four contestants of the Halloween Slick Chick beauty contest in Anaheim, Calif., 1947.

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 15: Vintage Halloween Costumes

The internet is full of pictures featuring vintage Halloween costumes, so do we really need another gallery? Yes, yes we do.

Four contestants of the Halloween Slick Chick beauty contest in Anaheim, Calif., 1947.

Four contestants of the Halloween Slick Chick beauty contest in Anaheim, Calif., 1947.

Annual Eagles' Minstrel Show at Turner Hall, 1911.

Annual Eagles’ Minstrel Show at Turner Hall, 1911.

Undated vintage Halloween costume photo - clowns

Can’t sleep, dull clowns will eat me!

Children's Halloween costume party - 1941

Children’s Halloween costume party – 1941

Vintage Kiss Halloween costumes - Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons

Vintage Kiss Halloween costumes – Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons

OK, so maybe this last one stretches the definition of vintage a bit. But hey, it’s Kiss and that’s good enough for me. I only wish there were existing photos of me when I dressed like Gene as a kid — with actual face paint no less!

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