Wednesday, August 11, 2010

11 August 1956 “Nuclear Warheads, Vintage Food Packaging, Hats, and A Great Car”

This month in 1956, not far from where I live here on Cape Cod, a missile will be developed. The Polaris missile developed at the Woods Hole, Mass., Oceanographic Institute can be launched underwater from submarines and carry a nuclear warhead. The cold war marches on.
Just for fun, some vintage food stuffs. What I might see in the aisles of local grocer.
spagsauce You will notice that we are not afraid of the word Sugar in our cereals. It is still in there today (when it is not corn syrup of course) but if we don’t write it on the box, I guess it doesn’t count?crisp cocopuffs sugarkrinkles sugarsmacks This advert offers miniature Grandma Moses prints.postbranflakes I need to do a post on Grandma Moses. I have a wonderful copy of House Beautiful with an article on her and a cover. She was quite the ‘it’ artist of the homemaker set and the middle class.
And though I would be suspect of cake mixes, I am sure by 56 I would use one in a pinch. Here is a fun commercial for Betty Crocker Cake Mix.
And I have to admit, when I buy bread at my grocer (I usually make it as well, but sometimes I need it in a pinch) I get Sunbeam. It is entirely because of the packaging. It is the same as it was in the 1950’s and there is something about unpacking that when I get home and putting it in my vintage bread box. Advertising really works, I suppose, but it doesn’t always have to be bad. In fact, in a pinch, it makes quick and yummy French toast or stuffing.
cremepuffad It was nice to see in this 1956 ad for Max Factor make up that her hat is very similar to the pattern for a hat I just purchased. It seems got very close to the head, almost like large headbands, and are now moving up a bit. This will eventually become the famous ‘pillbox’ of Jackie Kennedy in the early 60’s. Then hats will become larger versions of 1920’s cloche’s but worn atop the head rather than down over it such as this. modhatpattern 1965 vs. cloche 1925. Then, of course by the late 60’s they will become big and floppy and then just, poof! Disappear. Such a sad shame hats are no longer des rigueur, as they can add so much style so quickly to even the last minute thrown together outfit. 
And to close, in a purely selfish, American consumer way, this would have to be my current dream car. A 1956 Mercury Monterey woody station wagon. Oh, gals, imagine the groceries I could haul and the tailgating and rambling down the old road with a lovely vintage chair in the back from the local antique store. A gal can be a little greedy sometimes, can’t she?56monteray
Until tomorrow, then, Happy Homemaking.


  1. I learned in a media class the other day that Edward Bernays (nephew of Freud and "inventor" of consumerism) found that cake mixes like that Betty Crocker one were initally a commercial failure because they only required the addition of water, and the target market of homemakers felt that such a product essentially made them redundant. Hence he instructed that the product be reformulated to also require the addition of an egg or two, which allowed women to take advantage of their convenience, while still feeling like THEY had produced something. Very interesting symbol of the housewife's search for purpose, I thought.

  2. I had heard of that as well. I must say Bernays (in my opinion) was one of the main failures of our country. His intense mix of pshycology and advertising has made the modern consumer world possible. It was odd that back then you felt as if it was cheating to use a mix so by making it more work you were quicker to adapt. And that sort of sly pull is what eventually has lead us all to where we are now. I hope we vintage gals can go backwards in those affects in some way and see things for what they are and buy what we need and not what we THINK we need.

  3. Oh, you are so lucky you can get Sunbeam bread where you are! Yes, I remember all those sugar cereals, and no, they weren't afraid of it then. I remember the little ditty advertising Kellog's Sugar Pops or Sugar Smacks, I forget just which, that went, "Oh, the Pops are sweeter and the taste is new! They're shot with sugar through and through!" As though that were a GOOD thing! (Guess it was Sugar Corn Pops or something.) My mil always advised lacing my babies' rice cereal with sugar, "Oh, they'll burn that right off!" I was horrified, yet all her 4 children were very healthy.

  4. *Gasp!* I adore that purple hat! And what fun it would be to take a camping or road trip in that Woody!

  5. An interesting point about the hats of the 20's: they were worn so low that you lost much of your peripheral vision and therefore had to be careful where you walked. The posture of the modish young woman of fashion often depicted n drawings of the time was mostly due to the need to slouch to see where she was and where she was going.

  6. I wonder why we have sunbeam but other states do not? I wonder if it is made in the North East? It would be worth my finding out because it could be a food stuff still made and shipped in our country and that'd be worth supporting, I think.

  7. Where I live, it is hard to even find Hostess products. Lots of stuff is regional. We are originally from Long Island,and miss Entenmann's products, Wise products, Hostess products, Drakes products, Thomas's English Muffins, Carvel ice cream, and stuff like that. We do have Little Debbies, thank goodness! Friends from home sometimes send me care packages!

  8. carvel ice cream: cookie puss and fudgie the whale!

  9. I live in Louisiana and we have all of those things listed except Entenman's. Thomas's English muffins and bagels have just shown up in the last few years.

    Never tried Carvel ice cream though, because we have Blue Bell! BEST ice cream in the world! They have one creamery in Texas and all the ingredients are local. They do special flavors throughout the year that are limited-time only. The most popular one is peach, which you can only get in June, July and August.

    We have Sunbeam bread here too but we don't buy it. We're a whole-wheat family, except for French toast. That I make with Holsum "Bunny" Texas Toast. It has a bunny on it in the same place where the Sunbeam girl shows up.

    Because of vintage advertising when I need evaporated milk, the only brand I'll buy is PET! They sponsored my favorite radio show, Fibber McGee and Molly. They also sponsored My Favorite Husband for awhile. (that was Lucy's radio show that I Love Lucy was based on)

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