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Give Him a Schick: 1941

Give Him a Schick: 1941

July 1941. "Detroit, Michigan. Men's toilet accessories department at the Crowley-Milner department store." Inspecting the Schick Shaver. Large-format nitrate negative by Arthur Siegel for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Grandma worked for the competitor

J.L. Hudson's. If this is July 1941, she probably had quit already to have my aunt, born in October of that year. I'm sure the working environment was similar enough, though.

It took a while

But there it is - a "Life" magazine sticker on top of the glass of the Schick Shaver display - Life's still batting 1000 at Crowley's

Smock, smock

About the salesman dressed as a pharmacist: this was typical barber garb, at least up through the 1950s when I a kid was getting my hair cut in downtown Larkspur.

Found In Japan

Here's a better picture of a Soda-Mizer. The auction blurb said it was found in "Occupied Japan" in 1941. I believe they meant the item was from 1941 and was found in Japan later. The US Occupation of Japan didn't start until 1945. The dollar Soda-Mizer sold at auction for $2.99.

How to Make the Most of a Bottleneck!

Life, May 12, 1941.

How to Make the Most of a Bottleneck!

Why, that's simple! When you open a soda bottle, just don't let it start to lead a “bubble life”! Clamp a Soda-Mizer on the bottle neck. That makes the bottle a s-s-s-syphon! Seals all the life and liveliness inside … tight! And from then on, every time you touch the button there's a swirl of dancing bubbles that stir your drinks to a new brilliance and smoother taste. It makes a good mixer … PERFECT!

A Soda-Mizer repays the $1 it costs in the soda and ginger ale it saves you in just a couple of week-ends. In bright red, blue or green plastics. Fits any bottle. Good drug, department, housewares, gift and novelty stores sell Soda-Mizer. If yours doesn't, mail us $1 (P.S. What a present!). Howard L. Ross Corporation, Dept. 55, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City.


Yeah, the soda thing caught my eye too. Either a dreadful oversight by the marketing department or some kind of joke.

Hold on, everybody!

It wasn't only Holden Caulfield who did product placement for Kolynos. Salman Rushdie's book "Midnight Children" has a chapter, "The Kolynos Kid" and Cyril McNeile, who created Bulldog Drummond, wrote a 1922 novel, "The Black Gang", in which this can be found: "By the way, my boy, you skimped your teeth pretty badly to-night. You'll have to do better to-morrow. Most of your molars must be sitting up and begging for Kolynos if that's your normal effort."

The brand name dates back to 1908 and was a top U.S. dental care company in the 1930s and 1940s, sponsoring big time radio programs such as "Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons", "The Adventures of Ellery Queen" and "Our Gal Sunday". Not a reality show among them. Kolynos was bought by Colgate-Palmolive in 1995 and is a leading brand in Latin and South America.


That little Schick shaver retails for an inflation-adjusted $226.

Salinger was smarter than that

Holdon [sic], birthed in 1951, would have been a couple years shy of knowing the joys of chlorophyll laced Kolynos.

While the book came out in 1951, with a contemporary setting, Holden was supposed to be 16 years old. With a 1934-35 birthdate he would have been old enough to have enjoyed Kolynos.

[Especially since it would already have been an established brand at the time of his birth. The chlorophyll version, not mentioned in the novel, was not marketed until 1952. - tterrace]

Crowley's and Hudson's

It's very nostalgic for me to see all of these pictures of Crowley-Milner that you've been posting recently. This department store, known by generations of Detroiters as "Crowley's," is still fondly remembered by people of a certain age for the big wooden escalators that clacked loudly up the center of the store until its closing day in 1977. But, even though many people preferred to shop there, Crowley's always played second fiddle to its larger arch-rival and neighbor, the J.L. Hudson Co., or "Hudson's".

My great aunt worked for many years at a cosmetics counter that must've been within sight of the men's toiletries counter shown in this photo. But her older sister, my grandmother, worked in the cosmetics department of Hudson's, and would lord Hudson's greater size, fame, class, and sales volume over her poor sibling at holiday parties. Such was the rivalry between the stores - and the sisters - that we were strictly instructed on our trips downtown never to mention to either one of them if we had just visited the other at her cosmetics counter.

Ya reckon

the folks at Kolynos paid JD Salinger to plug their product in “The Catcher in the Rye?” Holdon Caulfield laments that "Everybody was asleep or out or home for the week end, and it was very, very quiet and depressing in the corridor. There was this empty box of Kolynos toothpaste outside Leahy and Hoffman's door, and while I walked down towards the stairs, I kept giving it a boot with this sheep-lined slipper I had on." Holdon, birthed in 1951, would have been a couple years shy of knowing the joys of chlorophyll laced Kolynos.

["Holdon" -- really? - Dave]

Am I reading this correctly

Soda-Mizer - - It Seals- - It Saves - - It Syphons. SODA MIZER, really, just don't say it too fast.

Was a pharmacist required?

The salesman is dressed like a pharmacist. Did they need a license to sell brushes, toothpaste an soda mizers in those days?


Before we get too carried away, I'll point out that the Pro-phy-lac-tic Brush Company of Florence, Mass. was a manufacturer of... yes, brushes, notably tooth but also hair and grooming. However, I did spot a non-PC accessory - though not one of their products:

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