1918 Quaker Oats Advertisement

Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1918)

Food is expensive – both a hundred years ago and now. It’s interesting to see how a 1918 advertisement for Quaker Oats framed the cost of meals around calories. Back then, apparently getting more calories per amount spent was considered a good thing.  Today, are people willing to spend more to get fewer calories?

Barrington Hall Coffee Advertisement

Source: Tried and True Cook Book, compiled and published by The Willing Workers (Minneapolis Incarnation Parish, 1910)

Sometimes I come across hundred-year-old advertisements for brands that have long vanished from the scene. For example, I recently found an advertisement for Barrington Hall coffee. According to the ad, it is “baker-ized” and “steel cut.”

What the heck is steel-cut coffee? It sounds like it should be a type of oats and not coffee. And, baker-ized sounds like cakes or cookies rather than coffee.

Hundred-Year-Old Fleischmann’s Yeast Advertisement

Source: The Housewife’s Cookbook by Lilla Frich (1917)

I always find it challenging to interpret hundred-year-old bread recipes. The old recipes generally call for cakes of yeast, and I’m never quite sure how that translates when using modern dry yeasts.

So I was amazed when I saw a hundred-year-old advertisement for Fleischmann’s Yeast in the back of a 1917 cookbook. Was Fleischmann’s Yeast a cake back then? Perhaps the product has been refined and modernized across the years, but the same company has been around for at least a century.

1918 Ivory Soap Advertisement

Source: American Cookery (February, 1918)

Based on this hundred-year-old advertisement, it looks like people used bar soap to wash dishes. According to Hunker, dishwashing detergents were invented during World War I and only came into common use during the mid-1900’s:

Soap was used for cleaning until 1916, when there was a shortage of fats needed to produce it during World War I. Because there was still a need for a cleaning product, synthetic versions were invented, which are now known as detergents.

There was also a movement towards using detergents because there was a need for a cleaning agent that did not leave behind a residue as soap did, especially on fabric. Upon their appearance, detergents became common products for cleaning dishes and clothing. While many people still used regular soap, by 1953 most households were using detergents.