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.

1918 Stickney and Poor’s Mustard Advertisement

Source: American Cookery (February, 1918)

Did you know that branded dry mustard has existed for at least two centuries? I didn’t until I saw this advertisement for Stickney & Poor’s Mustard in an 1918 issue of American Cookery which said that the brand had already been around for a century. Who would have guessed?

I’m befuddled by ad’s graphics and text.  What the heck is the thing that looks like a Christmas ornament on ice skates?

1918 Advertisement for Skookum Apples

Source: Ladies Home Journal (January, 1918)

This 1918 advertisement for Skookum Apples intrigues me on many levels. I was awed at how good transportation systems must have been in 1918. Until I saw this ad, I had no clue that family and friends could ship boxes of apples to soldiers in France during WWI.  Apples from Washington and other northwestern states apparently were transported across the U.S. on train, and then put of ships for Europe – and then somehow shipped to wherever the troops were.

At the same time, I was dismayed by some of the language and images in the ad.

And, I was surprised to see that “Skookum” meant “bully.” Who would have thought that the word “bully” apparently had positive connotations a hundred years ago?

1917 Baker’s Cocoa Advertisement

Source: Good Housekeeping (December, 1917)


This is the third year that I’ve posted Baker’s Cocoa advertisements that were on the back cover of the  hundred-year-old December issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. The 1915 and 1916 advertisements were much warmer and fuzzier than the 1917 one. By 1917, World War I was raging, and the advertisement reflected the nation’s focus on the soldiers who were fighting in the war.

1917 Mistletoe Oleomargarine Advertisement

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

Hundred-year-old cookbooks often included advertisements at the back of the book, which helped defray the costs of printing the book. Here’s a 1917 cookbook advertisement for oleomargarine. (Yes, they had margarine back than – though they called it by a longer name.). It appeared in The Housewife’s Cook Book (1917) by Lilla Frich.

The book was self-published by Ms. Frich. (Is Ms. the right title to use when writing about a woman who wrote more than 50 years before the term was term was commonly used?) She was the Supervisor of Domestic Science for the Minneapolis Public Schools.

Even though the book’s title refers to “housewife’s,” I think that the book was written for use in high school domestic science (home ec) classes. I guess the presumption was that students needed to be taught skills in school so that they were prepared for their future careers as homemakers.