Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Advertising Jokers from yesteryear

I have been focusing recently on advertising decks from the 1920s and into the1930s.  Here's an overview of them along with a little blurb about the products and companies that they were promoting. 

The Albany Felt Company was a paper (and paper-making equipment) manufacturer founded in Albany in 1895. I was initially confused by the "Felts and Jackets" sign held up by the rabbit wearing an elegant tie, jack, shirt, and pants. I thought they were primarily a clothes manufacturer.  Part of the confusion came from the fact that Albany International, the successor to Albany Felt, is in the textiles business. 

It turns out that the "felts and jackets" are references not to human (or animal) clothing but to equipment used in paper manufacturing.  If you are interested, there are books about Paper Machine Felts. The back of the cards features the huge Albany Felt plant in Albany NY.  Playing cards seems to have been a frequent promotional item for Albany, many versions are for sale online

I have tried to see if the rabbit was a frequent mascot for the company and I haven't found much to support it except for one iron Albany rabbit door stop.

Albany Rabbit Iron Doorstop - company mascot?
Company Mascot?

Atkins Saws is the next advertising deck (I'm using alphabetical order). Atkins Silver Steel Saws: They are the "Finest on Earth, Scientifically Constructed, and Made for every use."  Elias C. Atkins started the business in 1855 in Cleveland, OH and soon  partnered with Knippenberg and moved to Indianapolis. They grew a huge saws and tools business with offices in Canada, across the US, and Paris. 

The Atkins Sawman is definitely one of my favorite jokers.

I wonder if the Sawman on the joker below was a corporate mascot or just used for the deck of cards. Click to learn more about the Atkins Corporation .

Atkins Saws 2 - I have a second deck promoting Atkins tools. Since N comes after M (I'm looking at the code on the ace of spades),  I'm guessing that this blue deck was published later. While they have improved the back design, I think they have gone the wrong way on the joker design and the marketing slogan (ie, I think "Finest on Earth" is a superior marketing phrase t "And be Happy"). IMHO

In terms of the dates of these decks, Matt Schacht says: "The earlier one with an "H" date code (ie below) is most likely 1926. The narrow one would be later, (with the M) c1930". If true, I had the sequence wrong because I misread the H as an N. hmmmm

Brock and Company of Los Angeles is next. This deck is Congress Quality and it's true: it comes in a nice two piece leather case and the cards have gold gilded edges. Brock -  founded in 1903 by George A. Brock  - was a jewelry business in Los Angeles which constructed the Seven Grand Building as their corporate headquarters, manufacturing center, and flagship store.  I find the joker lovely but I'm curious why Brock picked a Mexican guitarist and singer for the joker.

The Burleson Sanitarium was the world's largest institution for the cure of piles, fistula, and other diseases of the rectum. It operated from 1899-1966. Willard M. Burleson  founded the Sanitorium and later wrote: "The Burleson painless dissolvent treatment for the cure of piles, fistula and all other disease of the rectum without chloroform or knife is my own invention. I established myself in the practice of my own profession in Grand Rapids in 1899 and since that time with the assistance of my brother, Dr. John F. Burleson, I have cured many thousands of cases of Rectal Diseases, including every possible condition (except cancer) that could exist.

Heh, this article  is a work in progress but I thought I would make it public since maybe someone wants to help researching and writing up little blurbs on each deck? Anyone?   I'm still in the Bs (And there's two Bailey decks below which I need to get thru) Also, I'd like to circle back on each of these decks to see what I can say about the card manufacturer of these decks.

 I am primarily a joker collector who has committed myself to creating a pictorial-based organizational system for jokers. This focus on understanding these decks is a diversion for me. I already have a collection of advertising jokers split into these subcategories:
  1. Casinos 
  2. Cigarettes,  LiquorBeer, Text jokers for drinks 
  3. Desserts and Candy 
  4. Coca Cola Jokers      
  5. Cars 
  6. Public Interest Messagesspace science and technology
  7. Logo type jokersGeometric Designs Jokers featuring "Joker" 
  8. Ads   -  The  category where most of these industrial advertising jokers would go
  9. Jokers promoting playing cards , Ads for brands of playing cards
  10. Advertising jokers with just text - not yet photographed  
Black Horse Ale & Porter

Crown Cork & Seal Co - While this is called a "Convention Souvenir" and so was for promotional purposes, the only mention of the company is on the box. hmmmm

Bailey, Banks & Biddle Co.

Bailey, Banks & Biddle Co.

Eagle-Picher's claim to an 1843 start date is tied to the Conkling brothers establishing a white lead factory in Cincinnati, Ohio to manufacture pigments for paints. The Eagle name was introduced when it merged with the Eagle White Lead in 1906. They operated factories and lead and zinc extraction facilities in the Tri-State mining district of southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. They are still operating mostly focused now on batteries. I can't find much online about the early history of Eagle White Lead. I can find tons about the ongoing law suits and environmental problems from asbestos and lead.  Note there's lots of asbestos suits related to Albany International, a company mentioned above.

 Pepper -  McCarroll ?

Page Dairy's Kleen-Maid Ice Cream

Lewandos -Previously   described on the website.

Wireless AD52 Hochman P80, #117 A Dougherty c1920

Victor CDX Dental X-Ray Unit

Victor Typewriter

OshKosh - This is from what era? Does it belong?

Green River Whiskies from Oldetyme Distillers Inc (I have two of these decks - Trade?)

Knott's Berry Farm - what era? Matt Schacht says it's from the 50s which means I'll probably pull it from here.

Regal Tailoring

Sweetheart 101 from Gardiner Manufacturing Co.  (durn back is upside down)
I think this ace of spades is particularly cool in how it incorporates a pip of clubs, hearts, and diamonds inside the central spades graphic.  Take a closer look.

Hiram Walker & Sons Old Rye Whiskey

Hubbard Hardware

JA Hennessey Cognac

New Index - What is New Index?  Are these advertising? Or a card brand.

Other advertising decks with jokers from this era
that I have yet to photograph and research. (I have kept these decks but I put the joker in the appropriate category in my albums so it is a chunk of work to reunite the deck and joker for the photo shoot)..

Black Horse Ale & Porter -

Victor Personal Typewriter-
Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer-

Opticians 1925-

Chicago Denver Trucking Company-

Brier Smoking and Tobacco-

Chlor-Trimeton Allergy Tablets -

Hyatt Quiet Roller Bearings -

New England Furniture & Carpet Company -

Glazed Kids Manufacturers -

Other posts about old decks in my collection:

Vintage decks that I'd trade away - Interested in trading?
My Matching 606 Congress Jokers (circa 1898-1910)
The African American Experience as Portrayed on Playing Cards The Earliest Jokers

1 comment:

  1. People have asked about getting updates as emails? Is it possible to have email or even text subscribers to a blogger-based blog? Here's a wiki about it but I don't know how to do all this...,whenever%20you%20update%20your%20blog.


Thanks for your input and for reading and thinking about jokers.