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May 1, 2014

Happy May Day!

Feel like a leisurely stroll down Memory (i.e., Collectible) Lane?
Let's go!
Until the 1960's, mascara came in hard 'cake' form
with a little toothbrush for applying to eyelashes:
Before 1975, the first thing you checked when a baby
cried?  To see if a pin was poking him (or her!):

Dads use to always get ties for Christmas and
moms use to always get handmade pot holders:

To younger readers these might be two
of the most unimaginable inventions:
As odd as it seems, many mid-century homes had a washing machine but not a clothes dryer.  So, if it was raining and you couldn't hang clothes out on the line, what did you do with the wet clothes?  Often they were sprinkled with more water (note bottle sprinkler, left) wrapped up and stored in the refrigerator until the weather cleared up or until you had time to hang them on the line.  Metal pant forms were used to keep wrinkled out of trousers as they dried.  Yea, we have it a LOT easier today.
 These soda bottle-shaped wax treats
were filled with KoolAid-ish liquid:

During the entire 20th century, regardless of the type of cut or
scrape you had, it was always dabbed with Mercurochrome:
But in 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that
Mercurochrome (merbromin) was not safe nor effective as an
over-the-counter antiseptic and banned it. 

Before iPods, cds, and cassette tapes single songs or instrumental
music was delivered through a medium known as vinyl records.

The first of these recordings was produced on a "78" which was
a plate dish-size disc.  That meant that record players had to
have adapters for smaller 45 size records to be played.  So the
little discs were what you stuck in the hole of the 45 in order
to play music on an old record player.  Click here for the
history of sound recording. 

What cell phones are to teens today, portable
radios were to teens in the 1960s:

Before portable cd players, a musical must-have
was a portable cassette tape player and recorder:

Teachers and school administrators didn't have the luxury of copiers
until the 1980s.  Memos, hand outs and tests were created on a "master"
which was then placed on a mimeograph machine (which used purple
ink that got on everything because the copies were wet):



During the Age of Paper, everyone kept a little box of reinforcers for when the punched hole tore open and the document kept falling out of the 3 ring binder.

This pause on our Memory Lane tour is devoted to the hair treatment
options that were popular during the second half of the 20th century.
Believe it or not, beauty shops (i.e., hair salons) didn't use to
sell products.  You had to get those at the pharmacy.  The
earliest of hair gel was Dippity-do which took foreverrrrr to dry.

Blow dryers were in common use by the 1970s and eliminated the barbaric machine called a portable hair dryer (left).  Home perms were almost a requirement for little straight-haired girls in 1960s and are still sold today.
Ahhhhhh, such a sweet memory.  If you dig through your
grandmother's attic you'll probably find a pair of bronzed baby shoes.

Multi-colored aluminum glasses, tumblers and
coasters were popular in the 1950s and 60s:

Boy, were these glasses sweaty in the summer!

A great Christmas stocking stuffer during the 1950s and 60s
was a can of pick-up sticks.  Another childhood staple for
the second half of the 20th century was a can of Tinker Toys.

 On Sunday nights between 1948 and 1971, everyone watched
the Ed Sullivan show, a variety program that featured iconic
musical luminaries such as Elvis Presley, the Supremes, the
Beatles, the Rolling Stones.  One other popular recurring character
on the show was Topo Gigio, a little mouse puppet.  Think of
the marketing opportunities if he was on television today!

I hope today's post brings back great memories for you.  Be on the lookout for some of these collectible items at your local flea markets, thrift shops and yard sales.


  1. Wow, sweet memories of most of those things...I used to love that mascara...and I can smell the mimeograph ink! When my mother died a few years ago, I found a couple pair of the pants forms in the laundry room...had no idea she still had them.

  2. So many familiar objects, but I have never heard of wet laundry being stored in the refrigerator, I wonder if we did that here. I am on a mission to find out!

  3. Oh My Goodness ! I know all of these.Eexcept my Mum never put her clothes in the frig and I don't think she used the pants dryer.
    I was just thinking of "Pick Up Sticks" this week.
    I wish I had some of the old diaper pins or safety pins. The ones they make today are not strong very cheap.
    Cute post today.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. I lived with all of this! My mom used to sprinkle clothes before ironing. They would come in off the line in one basket, she would lay each piece on the kitchen table and sprinkle it, roll it up and stick it in another basket. When she was finished, she would start ironing. Back then, the irons didn't have steam in them and nothing was permanent press.

  5. When they handed out the mimeograph copies, we would pick them up and sniff them! I am not sure why......