Hundred-Year-Old “Old Dutch” Cleaner Ad

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, May 4, 1912: They put me at cleaning the pantry. I’m not fond of house cleaning, and therefore did not like my work. Sewed some this afternoon. I intend to do a lot more often after school is out.

Source: National Food Magazine (May, 1912)


House Cleaning Time




Comes in

Dirt Goes


Try it on


Hard to


Many uses and full

directions on

large sifter can 10¢

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

The pantry probably needed to be cleaned in anticipation of the upcoming canning season. The shelves likely were dusty and filled with disorganized mixture of empty canning jars, pots, and pans.

Need to Gather Eggs

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, April 8, 1912:  I have to gather the eggs now, and I don’t like it any too well. We had our exams today. I wonder about what some of my marks could be.

Source: April, 1911 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Why was gathering the eggs a new task for Grandma? Who did it before—her mother? . . . . her father? . . .  her sister Ruth?

Maybe the hens had just finished molting. Chickens periodically molt—and they lay few eggs while molting.

. . . or maybe the family had just bought some new chickens.

Old Ad for Smth Brothers’ Cough Drops

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, March 4, 1912: I have my first cold of the winter now. It seems to have all gone to my throat. We are going to have recitations next Friday, but our teacher instead of having some interesting speeches favors dried up pieces of poetry. Oh it will be stupid from beginning to end.  

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Colds aren’t fun. Maybe Grandma used some cough drops to soothe her throat. Amazingly Smith Brothers’ Cough Drops were available a hundred years—and are still available today.

Rainy Day

Cough at Night

5 cents a box

Never be without a box of S.B. cough drops during the Fall and Winter– during damp, chilly weather when sore throats, coughs and hoarseness are so prevalent. Take a few of these drops on your way home from the heated theatre, dance hall, office, etc. Far better than medicine, more pleasant, too. Good to take before the “forty-winks.” They loosen the phlegm.

Smith Brothers’

S.B. Cough Drops

Containing Only Pure Medicinal Oils–No Glucose

Makers of S.B. Chewing Gum and Lasses Kisses

Smith Brother of Poughkeepsie

Your Grandpa Knows Us

I absolutely love the last line of the ad–“Your Grandpa Knows Us.” Smith Brother cough drops have been around for a long, long time if that’s how they were advertising them in the early 1900s!

Finally Went Skating

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, February 3, 1912:  Today proved to be a dull Saturday to me anyway. Ruth went skating this evening. It’s the first time this winter.

Source: Youths' Companion (November 16, 1911)

Skate forward, backward; start, stop, dodge. With “U.S. Hockey Player” Skates you have the jump on the other fellows.

They’re the fastest, lightest and strongest made. And they’re the only kind with chrome-nickel steel runner which can not dull.

U.S. Skates

are tempered steel, absolutely guaranteed to stand the hardest strain. The nickel-plating won’t chip or peel. They look more expensive than they are.


Illustrating Hockey, Club, Rink, Racing, and Ladies’ models.  Showing pictures.


54 Brenner St., Newark, N.J.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since this was the first time that Grandma’s sister Ruth went skating, the weather must not have been as conducive for skating in 1912 as it had been the previous winter.  In 1911 Grandma’s diary entries mentioned that friends came over to her family’s farm several times to go skating. For example, on January 17, 1911 she wrote:

Miss Stout was over this evening, wanted me to go skating or else sliding with her down on the creek with the rest of the gang. I choose to stay at home, and there I remained, and here I am at the present time.

Warrior Run Creek flows along the edge of the farm. I’m surprised that the creek froze enough to skate on. Maybe they flooded nearby land to create a homemade skating rink.

Got Up While Still Dark and Milked Cows

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, January 24, 1912: We had to vacate the school room while Jake swept at noon. Spent the time by taking exercise on the school ground. Ruth and I had sort of a fight this morning. I happened to have all the covers and couldn’t  get them back right, so I got up and went out to milk in the darkness.

After Grandma milked each cow, she probably poured the pail of milk into a can similar to this one. To read ad, click on it to make larger. (Source; Kimball's Dairy Farmer Magazine, December, 15, 1911)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Jake was Grandma’s teacher. It always amazes me that she often referred to him by his first name in the diary.

Grandma and her sister Ruth shared a double bed—at least during the cold, winter months. They must have had some fight over the blankets if Grandma decided to get up early to milk the cows instead of staying in the warm bed as long as possible.

Old Ice Cream Freezer Advertisement

15-year-old Helena wrote a hundred years ago today:

Sunday, January 22, 1911. Went to Sunday school and church this morning. Made ice cream. That is my sister made it and I assisted. I got the ice. Besse and Curt came out this evening. Just when Ruth and I were having a little spat all to ourselves.

Advertisement in the July 1910 issue of National Food Magazine.

 Her middle-aged grand-daughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma’s oldest sister Besse was married to Curt Hester, a butcher in Watsontown. My father can remember Curt and Besse working in the butcher shop

Today we think of ice cream as a warm weather food—but I guess in the days before refrigeration that maybe it was a cold weather food. It would have been easier to get the ice needed to make ice cream during the winter months.

I wonder what Grandma and her sister Ruth had a ‘spat’ was about.  Maybe Grandma wanted to make the ice cream rather than assist .

Where did Grandma get the ice?  Warrior Run Creek flows near the house, so maybe she gathered frozen chunks that were near the creek bank. .  . or maybe there was ice on the cattle watering troughs . . . or maybe had they set pans and buckets filled with water out to freeze the previous day . . .