Tag: mid-century

Is This Blue Bell Potato Chips Bag the Coolest Thing Ever?

Is This Blue Bell Potato Chips Bag the Coolest Thing Ever?

Ephemera
If I didn't know any better I'd swear that this vintage Blue Bell Potato Chips bag was designed rather recently, and by someone with a real love for retro styling. In fact, this may just be the most perfect example of mid-century packaging graphic design I've ever seen. Let's take a look and then review why this is so great, shall we? The Blue Bell logo is strong, and I love how it incorporates the clapper into the product description. (Not sure what "smoky flavored" is supposed to mean, however.) To further the bell motif, there are musical notes for "fresh" and "crisp," which is just great. So very mid-century. The yellow portion of the bag design appears to be somewhat Googie-influenced, even if subtly so. Although I had no knowledge of the "10 cents" graphic when I des...
The 1959 Symphonic Phonographs Catalog

The 1959 Symphonic Phonographs Catalog

Ephemera
While on vacation in Cape Cod recently, I brought a wad of cash to my favorite used book store and went nuts. In fact, I didn't purchase one book. Instead I walked away with a healthy stack of vintage magazines -- everything from old issues of Family Circle, The Saturday Evening Post, and Better Homes and Gardens to random fashion and auto magazines. And this, the 1959 Symphonic Phonographs catalog. Within these pages lies a bounty of vintage turntable models, all with that special late '50s beauty. You've got your sturdy and fashionable portable players, like the Junior and Sophomore models seen here... ... and you've got hefty models that double as furniture, as was the style back then, like the Symphony. You really can't go wrong either way I suppose. I have no idea
Time Capsule: Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Time Capsule: Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Capsules
In its July 13, 1953 issue Life magazine ran one of many photo essays on the city of Los Angeles. This one focused on the immense population and development growth the city and surrounding area encountered in the late '40s and early '50s. Here then is a gallery of the most interesting photos -- some unpublished -- that went into its story called "400 New Angels Every Day." There were all shot in either December '52 or July '53 by J. R. Eyerman. Less than two years after this piece ran in the magazine, Life published another, less sunny L.A. story -- this one about an October 1954 smog emergency. You can see those pics here.
A Gallery of Vintage Mother’s Day Ads, Vol. 2

A Gallery of Vintage Mother’s Day Ads, Vol. 2

Retrotisements
Has it already been a year since my last gallery of vintage Mother's Day ads ran? Where does the time go? Well, I'm back with another 10 classic advertisements to commemorate that most special lady in our lives -- mom. Of course, the usual suspects are here -- flowers and chocolates -- but I think this year's gallery manages to mix things up a bit. I think this is the first time I've seen a Mother's Day champagne ad after all.
This 1950s Super Homemakers’ Guide Volvelle Is Super

This 1950s Super Homemakers’ Guide Volvelle Is Super

Ephemera
Long before the days when handy housekeeping tips were just a click or an app away, the housewives of America and Canada had to make do with decidedly more crude technology. But man was some of it ever spiffy. Case in point: the Super Homemakers' Guide volvelle (aka wheel chart), published by Super Publications in 1954. The idea is simple -- just dial up whatever you need to mend or wash, and the wheel tells all. For instance, thanks to the guide you know that when you cook cabbage you should place a dish of vinegar on the stove to remove the cabbage odor. Not sure how you get rid of the vinegar odor, as there's no slot on the volvelle for that. This was made with the intent of business buying in bulk to advertise themselves, as on this eBay listing specimen. Pretty neat, no? ...
This 1953 Zenith Radio Ad Is Beautiful

This 1953 Zenith Radio Ad Is Beautiful

Retrotisements
I don't think I need to say anything else about this stunning ad specimen for the Zenith Super De Luxe clock radio, from a 1953 issue of Look magazine. Let's take a close look at that main picture, shall we? Just click to embiggen:   Yup, that's the coolest thing I've seen all day. And I love the color choices, like French Green and Scotch Grey. Here's a current photo of one of these De Luxe bakelite beauties on sale on eBay (clock works, radio doesn't) for $40.
Car Capsule: Photos of the 1955 Ford and Mercury Lineup

Car Capsule: Photos of the 1955 Ford and Mercury Lineup

Capsules, Featured Posts
Some time in 1954, Life magazine photographer Yale Joel ventured to an unknown destination. His assignment was to photograph a group of brand new cars -- 1955 Ford and Mercury models, to be precise. I don't know how many of these pictures ended up in the magazine, as I've been unable to find any associated article in the Google Books archive, but some of these are real stunners. I wasn't sure at first if these were actually 1954 models, but the dead giveaway was the distinctive look of the '55 Ford Fairlane. That stainless steel Fairlane stripe on the side was what tipped me off, as the Fairlane debuted in model year 1955 (replacing the Crestline). Also present -- as far as I can tell -- are the Mercury Montclair and Monterey, as well as a Ford station wagon. Owing to the fact th...
Vintage Toys: Cape Canaveral Satellite Monitor, Circa 1950s

Vintage Toys: Cape Canaveral Satellite Monitor, Circa 1950s

Games & Toys
Via the Smithsonian --  This toy “Cape Canaveral Satellite Monitor” bus is a tin toy produced in Japan for export to an American market. In post-WWII Japan, producing space-themed “tin toys” originated as a way to tap into an international market for “penny toys” or cheap playthings. By the late 1950s, however, this home-crafted industry had become a successful international business manufacturing creatively-designed, complex toys with moving parts and/lights that competed successfully with Western toymakers. This toy’s maker, Yonezawa Toys, Co., Ltd., was one of the biggest manufacturers in Japan of tin toys, many of which carried space themes. The design of this toy, which features lithography created to appeal to an American market, tapped into the American fascination with the new