Friday, February 26, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - A Riveting Story!

This vintage postcard mentions a vintage product that is still used by millions of us every day!

Oh happy day! This is the birthday of Levi Strauss! He was born February 26, 1829 in Bavaria Germany. After growing up a bit, sailing with his family to the US and working with his brothers in their New York City wholesale dry goods store, Levi opened his own store in San Francisco California, calling it Levi Strauss & Co.

Among other things which he imported from the New York store, Levi sold denim fabric to tailors who made work pants for gold rush miners. It was a rugged material that withstood the rough life of the miners.

Lady, they hain't invented 501's yet. Ah don't know what these are. Now go make me some 'a thet hash I seen you eatin' fer breakfast.

According to Wikipedia, the word "jeans" comes from the French, bleu de Genes, which means the "blue of Genoa". The same type fabric originated independently in India. There, the fabric was used to make uniforms for the Dhunga sailors - thus the term dungarees. Indigo dye was (and is) used to make the traditional blue color.

Thread seams just didn't hold up on this tough fabric until Nevada tailor, Jacob Turner joined with Levi Strauss as a business partner. Together they received a patent for using copper rivets at the stress points of their loose fitting "waist overalls". In 1885 you could buy a pair of blue jeans for $1.50. That works out to about $35 a pair at today's prices.

James Dean and Marlon Brando brought jeans to the mainstream in the 50's, and they became a symbol of rebellion. Wearers were not allowed into restaurants, movies and schools. Jeans became more acceptable in the late 60's, and by the 70's they became a general fashion item. Today, 150 years from the first "waist overalls", they are considered a staple.

The average American owns 7 pairs of jeans. I checked my closet: I have 3 pair of jean pants, and 4 jean skirts, so I meet the average standard. None of mine are Levi brand - they are all made by Chico's. How many do you own?
As you slide your jeans on this morning for "casual day" at the office, remember to say Happy Birthday to Levi!

And, don't forget to zip over to Marie's place for more Postcard Friday fun!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sepia Saturday - Delphine

Welcome to Sepia Saturday! I've always treasured this exquisite picture of my mother, Delphine, at the time of her First Holy Communion. This was about 1929 when she was seven years old. I love her relaxed pose and serene face framed by the beautiful handmade veil caught at the sides with tiny be-ribboned bouquets.

The photographer obviously treasured this picture as well - he used it on his postcard advertisements!

For more sepia tinted treasures, stop by the Sepia Saturday Blog!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - Buy Me Some Peanuts And....


This Day in History: Ninety eight years ago today the first cellophane wrapped prize was inserted into a box of Cracker Jack!
Cracker Jack was introduced at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893. It took a few years - 1896- to figure out how to keep the kernels separated in the box, and then in 1899 the "Eckstein Triple Proof Package" of heavily waxed paper was invented. Who doesn't know the 1908 song:
Take me out to the ball game
Take me out to the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
I don't care if I ever get back

Click here for original Edison recording

The song is still part of the baseball game experience, sung at every game during the seventh inning stretch. Product placement at it's best, worth millions in advertising each time it's sung.

This is one of a set of 16 vintage Cracker Jack postcards, circa 1905, offered by Rueckheim Brothers and Esckstein. - enlarge the card for the mailing instructions.

Cracker Jack prizes circa 1920

Since 1912, those little prizes, one per package, were quite a find. In the 50's we could hardly keep ourselves from just dumping the box to see what the surprise would be! An adjustable ring guaranteed to turn fingers green, a tiny magnifying glass, or perhaps a little plastic zoo animal on a stand! Popcorn, peanuts and a prize - all for a nickle. Quite a collector's item these days.
Now there is just a little paper thing in each box. A sticker, a joke or a tattoo. Well, at least the treat tastes just the same! Even if it does come in a bag.

Prizes were part of the deal even before the mascot, Cracker Jack, and his dog, Bingo, arrived on the scene. The Navy called his style uniform with neckerchief and side buttons a "cracker jack".

Run out and get a box a bag... to enjoy while you visit Marie's at The French Factrice. Your prize will be more Postcard Friendship Friday fun!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - Play Ball!

Rube Oldring _Philadelphia Athletics 1905

Today in history is the 109th anniversary of the formation of the American League in a sport that is as American as apple pie and mom.

"Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it." Whitey Herzog

Opening Day is the national holiday of our national pass time and has been celebrated as much by fans as New Years, Mother's Day and Fourth of July all put together.

Attendance takes a dip on opening day in schools and businesses nation wide. The power of the swing and the slickness of the slide lure thousands of people to the ballpark to watch their teams.

Babe Ruth, calling the shots in the 1935 World Series

"If I'd just tried to hit them dinky singles I could've batted around .600." - Babe Ruth, the Bambino, The Sultan of Swing
Ask any kid to name the three greatest baseball players of all time and they'll name them in order: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Ted Williams. They'll know who Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb and Stan Musial are even though they've never seen them play.
"It's like deja vu all over again." - Joe Dimaggio

"If Satch (Paige) and I were pitching on the same team, we would clinch the pennant by July fourth and go fishing until World Series time." Dizzy Gillespie

"I would rather beat the Yankees regularly than pitch a no hit game." Bob Feller

"Baseball is all I ever wanted. I could eat, sleep and dream baseball." - Smokey Joe Wood

"Baseball hasn't forgotten me. I go to lots of Old Timers games and I haven't lost a thing. I sit in the bullpen and let people throw things at me. Just like old times." Bob Uecker

I thought I'd let the Boys of Summer talk you through this one. They can say it better than I.

Stop by Marie's at Voila! Vintage Postcards for more Postcard Friendship Friday

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sepia Saturday - Hangin' Out

This picture, backed with an unused postcard, is from my father's side of the family. The child seated front and center looks a bit familial, but like much of our family information is lost to history.

I love the swaggering poses of the fellows in the back row and that Charlie Chaplain look-a-like. Are they hanging out with the usher because they want to audition their "Vaudeville act"? - get a free pass into the movie? The usher looks like he knows he's the best looking guy in the group. And the only one with a uniform. And the only one with a real job. And makes $2.00 a week.

Those barefoot lads in the front look like they're just happy to be able to hang out with the big guys without getting whacked on the head or having their hats thrown up on a roof.

The Davison Theater, on Davison Street is long gone, and I could find no information about it. Davison Street, named for Jarad Davison, an early settler, has an interesting history. The street ran through Highland Park, a Detroit suburb, which like Hamtramck, is completely surrounded by Detroit.

Davison Street was the only major through way in Highland Park that ran end to end into Detroit. It was gridlocked during rush hours.

Progress and the need for access to the defense plants during WWII dictated the demise of the old street and - perhaps - the Davison Theatre.

The Davison became the first urban depressed freeway in the United States. Depressed, because it was dug below road level to allow for overpasses. It opened without fanfare in November, 1942. The Davison has been widened and extended over the years and continues to provide access to Detroit and the huge spiderweb of freeways in the Detroit area.

Stop by Poetickat's Invisible Keepsakes for more Sepia Saturday!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - Today in History- But, Officer!

New York Traffic Squad on the State Fair grounds in Syracuse - 1902

Today in history marks the anniversary of the installation of the first three color traffic light in New York City on February 5, 1952.

Traffic Tower on 5th Avenue, 1920's

There have been an assortment of traffic regulators throughout the ages, but it was the three color light that eventually became the international traffic signal.


The true meaning of the colors (in the US and most other countries) is:
AMBER = clear the intersection
GREEN = Go - if safe to do so

I know the above information comes as a complete surprise to a society that thinks independently, is competitive by nature, and has that "You talkin' to me?" attitude.
People are killed every day because people run red lights, slam on their brakes at yellow lights, and take off at green lights without first checking for the red light runners.
(How to measure the length of a second: Its the time between the light turning green and the guy behind you beeping his horn.)
In 1868, John Peak, a railroad manager in Nottingham, UK gave us traffic lights, powered by gas lanterns. He figured if the lights worked for the railroad, they should work for horse and carriage traffic. The first of these was installed in front of the British Houses of Parliament. Unfortunately it exploded in 1869 and killed the police officer who was running it.

Lester Wire, a Mormon, and a detective on the Salt Lake City police force, Utah, is given credit for the red/green combination which he invented around 1912.
Given that society rarely follows the back and white - but seeking ways to get around by inventing gray areas - William Potts, a Detroit police officer added an amber light in 1920, giving
us the three color traffic signal. His invention was only known locally. Although the three color light eventually became the international standard and is still used (though not necessarily observed) today, William Potts died in obscurity.

I was telling the Mister the history of the traffic signal, and about the time I was talking about Lester Wire, the Mister said: "I went to grade school with a kid who claimed his grandfather invented the traffic signal." Was his name Potts? I asked. Yes! - the kid was David Potts grandson of William Potts!
Thanks for stopping by for my cautionary tale! For more Postcard Friendship Friday fun, go to Marie's Voila! Vintage Postcards.