Iowa Seed Co., 36th Annual Catalogue, 1906. Back Cover. October is National Apple Month. The Libraries has an abundance of beautiful images of fruits and the like in its seed catalog collection, which is part of the trade literature collection in the National Museum of American History Library. I have to admit that as delicious as the depicted Wealthy Apple looks, and as intrigued as I might be about the Transparent Apple, what really strikes my fancy is that Majestic Tomato, front and center, for fifteen cents. Yum. —Elizabeth Periale
But the most ingenious and perhaps strange idea of all is the little tissue paper cat who is struggling to jump out of the bride-to-be’s bag.
September is National Chicken Month. It seems appropriate to feature this poultry catalog from 1874, which features an incubator that resembles an upright piano, as well as the impressive advertising tagline, “People Live and Learn.”
Ever wonder how candy was made in the nineteenth century? An 1874 catalog from Thomas Mills & Brother entitled Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of Goods advertises a machine which made Candy Toys. It was called the Mills’ Excelsior Toy Machine and was patented on September 1, 1868. The machine cost $500 and had the ability to make 500 to 1000 pounds of candy toys each day. The candy toys could be made in 33 different patterns including a ship, rocking horse, and train as well as a number of animals, such as a dog, lion, camel, or elephant. More catalogs showing the confectionery machinery of Thomas Mills & Brother of Philadelphia, PA can be found in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library. The Libraries also has additional images from this catalog and other items from its trade literature collection on flickr. Enjoy!—Alexia MacClain
The first US waffle iron was patented in 1869. Since then various companies have manufactured waffle irons. In the Universal Electric Housewares catalog from 1950, Landers, Frary & Clark advertised the Universal Sandwich Grill and Waffle Maker as an appliance which makes “quickie suppers or a ‘hurry up’ breakfast.” Besides making waffles and toasting sandwiches, it also fries or grills eggs, bacon, hamburgers, and fish cakes. It comes with two “quick-and-easy-to-change grids” which transform it from a waffle maker to a surface grill or vice versa. And the expansion hinge allows both small and large sandwiches, even “3-deckers,” to be toasted. Universal Electric Housewares and other catalogs from Landers, Frary & Clark of New Britain, Connecticut can be found in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library. —Alexia MacClain Save Save
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