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Fountain of Youth: 1920

Fountain of Youth: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "People's Drug Store, 14th & U Streets, interior."

Is flyaway hair holding you back? Keeping you home those evenings your friends are out having a gay night on the town? Those loose strands may be a symptom of deeper ills -- malnutrition the consequence of egg-based-beverage deficiency, perhaps aggravated by tooth-brushing with an inferior dentifrice. Ladies, am I talking to you? Then come see this man. He is the gatekeeper to hair-nets, toothpaste, Egg Drinks -- and so much more. (Rubber gloves, for one thing, but that's another story.) The day you pick up a Glemby Hair Net -- or two, or hell, why not a dozen -- is the first day of the rest of your life! View full size.


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Stool sample

Same stool bases as Boo Koo burgers down Texas way!

Egg Creams

As a resident of Brooklyn and not of the Sixth Borough - South Florida, with all due respect to bryhams...while (s)he is correct about egg creams having neither egg nor cream, it does have milk. Without the milk, it's merely a chocolate soda. And, for it to be a TRUE egg cream, it has to be made with U-Bet chocolate syrup.

What that is

Is the end of the cash register. What we're seeing is the printing mechanism and the paper tape.

Speaking of hair nets

Here I am in 1974 in the main plant of Hershey with hair-netted Shirley Temple Black who’s learning all about making chocolate from someone who didn’t know much more about it than she did. She had just been named U.S. ambassador to Ghana, a major cocoa bean source. I couldn’t tap dance, either. For high fashion fans, I am sporting a lovely light blue, white-stitched, denim suit with tastefully flared trousers and a dark denim belt. Note how my gorgeous paisley shirt picks up its pattern cues from Mrs. Black’s frock. Or the other way around.

The hairnet? Employees and visitors both had to wear them. This was after public tours were ended and only VIPs were allowed (the massive production area was not designed for large numbers of outsiders who affected the factory heat and humidity levels, and there might have been safety concerns). Few people can say, as I can, that I saw the beautiful Dorothy Hamill wearing a Hershey’s hair net. Glemby or not, she still looked darn good.

Site of the Start of the 1968 DC riots

For some reason the Washington D.C. 14th and U addy rang a bell in this old man's head and the ringing proved to be correct ...

I am trying to imagine the scene 48ish years later when this store was the starting point of the 1968 DC riots.


What is that

What is that gizmo on the right wall? Our soda man has a problem I see may times in shorpy, how to make bushy curly hair look glued down 20's style. Imagine all that hair oil on a hot day.

Pre Cell Phone

If I had a nickel, maybe I'd make a call on that phone in the back right corner. As with so many of these photos, I'm crazy for the tin ceiling.

Only the finest ingredients

Behind our intrepid counterman are bottles of Clicquot Club, a popular brand of late 19th- and early 20th-century soda. For background, see


Wonder how many of the medicines actually worked, and how many of those that worked can still be found on shelves or in the pharmacy today.

Soda Jerks' Exposé

Like Bull_Durham below, I was a soda jerk 50 years ago, too. I did my stent at a Jahn's Ice Cream Parlor in Coral Gables, Fl. There's a little secret amongst us jerks that I'll let you in on: there's NO egg in a "Egg Cream Soda". There isn't even any cream; it's just syrup shot with seltzer to make it foam up like meringue.

Sorry, not a lot a food value, but a real money maker for Mr. Jahn!

Barber shops and drug stores

I remember that floor tile pattern in the 50's and 60's still in use even in public bathrooms

Those bottles behind the young man might be flavors for the ice cream sodas and sundaes. Does anyone know for sure?

What's the deal...

....with the covers (?) on some of the light fixtures ?
And wouldn't the fan work better if someone attached some blades to it?

The jerk

Why is he doing nothing when there's all that sugar on the floor?

Coffee/tea urn

Here's one that looks just like this one.

Mr. Glemby: Rich Man, Poor Man

Attached is an article from the January 22, 1932 edition of the NY Daily Star. Evidently there was good money to be made in hair nets.

It is somehow oddly ironic that Mr. Glemby's first name was "Harry"!

Glemby Hair Net

The Lorraine Hair Net, manufactured by Glemby and made with real human hair, seems to bear a striking resemblance to a merkin!

Key Person

Who has the job of winding the clock?

What is it

The big cylindrical gizmo with a spigot -- coffee machine?

Bob was confident, so very, very confident.

Bob knew he looked darn swell, with that tire knotted just right by his mom, and the way his soda jerk jacket fit, and he was confident that, one day, when SHE came through the door, brunette tresses flying and probably a lavender silk scarf or it might be powder blue trailing behind, the scent of her alluring perfume trying to keep up, that she would see him there, and she would stop, suddenly. Yes, she would do that, because it was a very small store and if she did not, she would bump into the counter, maybe trip over one of those stools, and hurt her knee or even a foot. But he was ready for her. He could handle that, for he knew exactly which shelf held the mercurachrome.

Molecular physics

I was a soda jerk one summer in the '50s. One day the boss handed me a large bag of sugar and pointed to a full bottle of water, and said "Mix it in." I complained that there wasn't enough room for all that sugar. He just smiled and said "Try it." A half-hour later the sugar was all gone, the water level hadn't risen perceptibly, and I had a jug of simple syrup.

The drug store was Easterling's in Jacksonville, in case there are any other natives out there.

Oh boy!

I'll have a Cherry Smash!

Hard Uncomfortable Seats

Apparently counter space is at a premium and the stools here were installed to ensure a rapid turnover. Speaking of seats, if a physician ever approached me wearing one of those rubber gloves there would be a fight.

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