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History

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The Golden Era of Cigarette Ads

October 22, 2017

When Sir Walter Raleigh helped to popularize tobacco during the 16th century, he probably had no idea that he would be responsible for one of the largest and most profitable advertising campaigns in the history of Madison Avenue. Campaigns that would see a single product go from lifestyle enhancement to a pariah of the medical community within a matter of years.

Give Me Your Young at Heart

Before their negative association with health, cigarettes were marketed to successful young men and women as a way to relax and get more out of life.  Advertisements were filled with virile, athletic men and women prancing around tennis courts in snow-white shorts exclaiming,

“WHAT A DAY… what a game… what a cigarette! Why is Lucky so much a part of moments like this?”

Like any other product that clamored for the consumer’s attention, the multi-million dollar tobacco industry embarked on a constantly evolving campaign to come up with original reasons why smokers should buy their brand of cigarettes over the others: read more

All Entries Family Health History Humor Life and Death

Those Good Old Time Diseases

August 25, 2017

I was a first-grader at Van Nuys Elementary School the first time I came into contact with the medical system. As a healthy child, the only thing that slowed me down was the occasional off-color weenie on “Hot Dog Friday.” None of the hair-netted ladies behind the steam table thought for a minute that I could have something as serious as Ptomaine Poisoning and wouldn’t have been able to recognize it even if I had. Instead, one of them took off her apron and marched me downstairs to the nurse’s office where she laid me down on an old army cot that smelled of other 6-year-old kids.

Nurse Blumenthal looked like every other grammar school nurse – a clinical version of the Pillsbury Doughboy with a red cross centered squarely on the front of her hat. She was probably a cracker-jack clinician at some point in her career. But, you could sense that 30 years of working nights at the V.A. hospital had eroded her diagnostic skills to the point where she was grateful just to have a place to spend the twilight years of her career. read more

All Entries Business and Work Family Food & Recipes History Humor

The Popsicle Story

May 2, 2017

As luck would have it, some of the best inventions that are part of our lives actually happened by accident. Who could possibly imagine going through a day without Kool-Aid, penicillin, microwave ovens, ice cream cones, Post it notes, potato chips, Super Glue, Slinkies or heaven forbid… no Popsicles?

The Cold Start of a Legend

The Popsicle was “invented” in 1905 by an industrious 11-year-old boy named Frank Epperson during an unseasonably cold San Francisco evening. After accidentally leaving his fruit drink in a cup on the front porch overnight, he discovered that the juice had frozen around the wooden stir stick. The next morning, he pulled the frozen drink out of the cup by the stick and voila… the first Popsicle was discovered!

Epperson’s invention took the neighborhood by storm as the “Eppsicle,” but it wasn’t until 1923 while running a lemonade stand at the Neptune Beach amusement park in Oakland, California that he realized the money making potential of his discovery. His children grew to love the cool treat, begging him for one of “Pop’s ‘sicles,” so in 1924, Epperson applied for the first patent of the “Popsicle” – the first “drink on a stick.” read more

All Entries Business and Work Fashion History Home Life Humor Technology

The Adrian X-ray Shoe Fitting Machine

April 20, 2017

During the 1940s, people were concerned about their feet. Mothers, fathers – even the U.S. Army. As a result, the guardian of modern foot care was born – the “Adrian X-ray Shoe Fitting Machine.”

A Star is Born

Although there are a number of conflicting stories about its origin, the first x-ray shoe fitting machine has generally been attributed to Dr. Jacob Lowe, a Boston physician who was looking for a fast and efficient way to analyze soldiers’ feet during World War I. Dr. Lowe was concerned with the number of poorly fitting boots worn by military recruits and was interested in a way to cut down on their foot-related injuries.  In addition to providing the good doctor with a superior view of the foot, the x-ray shoe fitting machine allowed Dr. Lowe to speed up production by not requiring soldiers to remove their boots.

The x-ray shoe fitting machine was a simple design. A fluoroscope was mounted on the base of a wooden platform and sent x-rays upward toward a florescent screen. The client would place their foot between the two and the image would be directed up to a reflector, where three viewing scopes displayed the foot’s image to the customer. The entire area was sealed within a lead-shielded area for protection of the client. Unlike x-rays that are captured on film, the machine displayed a real time image of the client’s foot – shoes and all. read more

All Entries Appearance Fashion History Humor The Arts

Footnotes – Interesting Facts About Shoes and Who Wears Them

April 20, 2017

When you look down at your feet, do your shoes give away your birthplace, income level or your social status?  Do they tell the world what you do for a living, what your hobbies are or whether or not you’re married? Well, they used to.

You Are What You Wear

Shoes have been around in one form or another for thousands of years. Some of the earliest shoes were actually sandals worn by Egyptians and depicted the owner’s pecking order in society. Peasants tended to wear “comfortable” sandals made from woven papyrus with a flat sole that were lashed to their ankles with reeds. More affluent citizens could be identified by sandals with pointed toes – especially if they were colored red or yellow. If you were a slave, chances are you went without shoes altogether.

When Moses climbed Mount Sinai to chat with God, the big guy obviously wasn’t impressed by his footwear. Instead, he commanded Moses to “Put off thy shoes, for the ground whereon thou standest is holy.” Discarding one’s shoes was and continues to be in many societies a demonstration of humility and piety. But, for the rest of us, shoes continue to speak volumes about who we are, how much money we make and what we do for a living. Many Greek aristocrats owned so many pairs of shoes that they hired slaves to carry them when they traveled. read more

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