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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Acme Inc.: 1921

Acme Inc.: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Acme Card System Co." The first of several visits we'll be making. National Photo Co. Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Acme versus Chuck Jones

If I had access to a roomful of musty city directories from the 1940s and '50s, it would be interesting to plot the number of companies named "Acme" against the number of Chuck Jones cartoons in release.

I will go out on a limb here and predict an inverse relationship.


I always assumed the Roadrunner cartoons pounced on Acme because it was a common and generic-sounding name. I would imagine it would be a popular choice for the same reason businesses are still so fond of names like AAA -- it puts you first in the phone book.

Yes, Virginia, there is an Acme, however...

I hate to be the Grinch in this pop culture love-fest, but my bet is that the firm herein depicted is not named Acme anything, but merely has purchased the Acme Card System company's wares, the latter having contracted with National Photo for illustrations of them in use. Bah humbug.

Pretty hair

on our Girl In The Foreground. I'd like to see her pull the pins on that shiny bun. By the way, "acme" means the highest, the summit, the zenith, the ne plus ultra. You get the idea.

Beep Beep!

Where is the Roadrunner who owns this business?

Don't forget the case of dynamite and giant rubber bands needed each and every time Wile e. attempts to catch a Roadrunner! With all th emoney he has spent, he could have paid another coyote to catch a Roadrunner for him by now!

Coming of Age

We used those card systems until we computerized. In 1995, our retail business, went from purchase order to point of sale in one day. It took weeks to transfer all the information beforehand and of course we had to train our staff.. I was apprehensive, but accepted it as necessary. After a few months I knew we had done the right thing. The accuracy of the sales orders (date, model numbers and sales tax) eliminated costly mistakes that were hard to avoid before. That was the good news, the bad news was that we went from an office staff of 10 to 4 people, most of whom we let go, had been with us for many years. The information provided was mind boggling and the efficiency and accuracy was worth what ever it cost. I was sorry we hadn't done it years before.

Comfy Chairs

Maybe ordering from the "Acme Real Office Chair Company" next time instead of buying from the "Acme Ice Cream Parlor Chair Company" would be a good idea.

Acme stores

There are actually Acme stores. They sell groceries and stuff. One of my college roomies had one in their hometown, and just seeing the bags from the store made me look for roadrunners.

My First Job

I used an Acme system just like this at my first job out of college in 1960.

Kwik File Storage Systems

From the Mayline Group web site:

Kwik File Storage Systems
Founded in 1914 as the Acme Card System Company, we were the original manufacturer of visible record keeping equipment and accessories.

Thanks, Mr. Coyote, for your order

Your Acme flying machine will be shipped to you immediately, along with your complimentary dehydrated boulders and earthquake pills. Like all our products, these are guaranteed to work perfectly every time.

It goes without saying

That any "kid" my age is waiting for the place to fall down or blow up.


I remember card systems like this when I first started work, over 40 years ago. A very effective way of keeping records at the time, when few companies had computer systems.

There really is an Acme!

I wonder if one of those letters in the basket is an order from Wile E. Coyote.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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