1919 Toothpaste Recipe Advertisement

toothpaste recipe advertisement
Source: American Cookery (June/July, 1919)

I’m often amazed by the advertisements that I find in hundred-year-old magazines. Some of the most fascinating ones are the small advertisements in the back of a magazine that individuals with entrepreneurial aspirations place. For example, I never would have thought about selling a recipe for toothpaste . . . but maybe I lack imagination. I wonder how many recipes he sold.

33 thoughts on “1919 Toothpaste Recipe Advertisement

  1. I love these ads! ( I never have the ingredients laying around, although this recipe could be just baking soda mixed with water, then apply to your teeth) I bet he became a millionaire.

    1. I would be really interesting to know what ingredients his toothpaste recipe called for. You may be right that it was a very simple recipe containing only things like baking soda and water, since the ad tells us that the recipe does not contain “pumice or other injurious substances.”

  2. Remember the ads on matchbook covers? “Learn to Draw”! and so on. Who wouldn’t send in one thin dime to save oodles of money? On the other hand, I’d bet on something like baking soda as a main ingredient, too. It’s century-old clickbait, that’s what it is.

    1. Thanks for reminding me of those old matchbook cover ads. I’d totally forgotten about them. As a child some of them them had very enticing ads – Who didn’t want to “learn to draw”? Fortunately, my parents were wiser than me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Pumice in toothpaste? Toothpaste has come a long way since then! A dime was a lot of money in those days. People probably thought twice about sending that in…

    1. Interesting. . . though I might respond to an ad for a cookbook. I guess that ads for recipes are a similar idea – just on a smaller scale.

    1. I had a similar reaction. Even with the bigger families of yesteryear, just think how long it would take to use a quart of toothpaste.

  4. I am trying to imagine what would be in a quart of toothpaste for only 50 cents. When you make it with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a little water, you make only a little at a time. Love those old ads from The New Yorker especially.

  5. I saw someone commenting on YT asking a homesteader if they had a recipe for shampoo. I guess they did have recipes for things like toothpowder a long time ago in isolated areas. Toothpaste would be unusual recipe. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m not sure, but I think that it was 3 cents. If the paper and envelop cost another 2 cents, he had a 5 cent profit for each recipe he sold. . . sounds like a way to make money.

  6. Truly fascinating. How times have changed with a zillion varieties of toothpaste in most any store you walk in to. I would be interested to know if selling such a recipe brought any success.

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