From Bed Sheet to Tent in Two Minutes

July 12, 2013

Travel light. That is good advice for most travelers but maybe even more so for those who might have to carry their belongings a long distance, such as campers. But with the Burch Combination Bed Sheet, Tent and Sleeping Bag, it’s all-in-one.

Star-Spangled Music

July 3, 2013

This post was written by Audrey Hopkins. Audrey is a Summer 2013 intern at the National Museum of American History Library. She is currently a library graduate student at Simmons College in Boston. This fourth of July, we give you all the fixings for a barbershop quartet! Among the collections here in the National Museum of American History Library are a number of books on American music. For 25 cents in 1897, more »

Swivel Chairs at the Movies

You’re at the movies. Suddenly someone is trying to climb over you to get to the aisle. So you stand or half stand, maybe knocking over some of your popcorn and blocking the view of the people behind you. A few minutes later, you get up again to let the person back in the row. Have you ever wished for an easier way for everyone involved?  How about a chair that swivels?

A Carriage for a President’s Grandchild

A quick glance at this Butler Brothers catalog, Special Catalogue of Baby Carriages, makes it seem like it is just that–a catalog of baby carriages. But after looking more closely, the page showing the “Baby McKee” Carriage stands out. The description reads, “One that is good enough for any president’s grandchild.” Seeing that led to a little research.

The New Century at the Turn of the Century

“Machinery soon grows old.” We can all relate to that especially since we know how quickly technology changes. But when do you think that sentence was written? It was actually the first sentence in this 1901 trade catalog by American Writing Machine Co. The catalog advertised the New Century typewriter.

Riding a Streetcar

Imagine commuting to work on a streetcar like this one! Its open design made it easy to quickly load and off-load passengers, but the disadvantages were quickly felt during rainy weather. This trade catalog by J. G. Brill Co. describes how the patented round corner seat-end panel made open streetcars more pleasant to ride, even on rainy days.

Peerless: Cars from the Past

Cars are part of our everyday lives. For many of us, it would be hard to imagine life without cars. So it’s not surprising to browse the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library and find catalogs by automobile manufacturers. Let’s take a look at one of these catalogs, a catalog describing the 1910 car models for Peerless Motor Car Co.

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