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Oral History: 1905

Oral History: 1905

Circa 1905. "A living sign on Fifth Avenue, New York City." Brand ambassador for Dr. Rankin's Dental Parlor, conveniently close to a candy store. View full size.


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More about those candies

Research indicates "The Mirror" candies were hard "candy sticks"'s a picture of one of their old tins.

Glass Ceilings

Those round non-dental implants under the gentleman's feet are partial glass ceilings for the sidewalk "vaults" (such as cellars and coal bunkers under the sidewalk), to let in natural light.

Every now and then a vehicle that is too heavy parks on top of one and it collapses.

New York property deeds still to this day refer to sidewalk vaults as part or not part of the conveyance.

Must have been an orphan.

My mother told me you shouldn't be out in the cold bear handed.

Candy, or come back and see us

I recall my childhood dentist in a small Midwestern town, in a sweltering upstairs office where the drill was operated by his foot on a pedal. Agony! But we always got a dum-dum lollipop when we left. I really really appreciate modern dentistry.

So that's the scene from O'Henry

Although I have yet to finish the entire anthology, one of my favorite tales is about a man who is walking down the street, and shall we say the man in the photo, is handing out business cards in front of a dentist office for the dentist. He hands this one man a different card than everyone else, telling him to go upstairs to The Green Door, where the man saves a very attractive woman on the brink of starvation.

This scene is so evocative of that tale. I had not realized the scene to be so truthful of the time.

Potbelly Follow Up

There's some irony here. Checkout the current tenant.

"The New Woman Dentist"

More on Dr. Rankin in this abstract of an 1896 article, cited in "An Historical Review of Women in Dentistry."

And who would not think to...

visit a candy store to get some "Hot Clam Bouillon". Though judging from those industrial bear gloves Mr. Sign is wearing, it looks to be a darn chilly day.

Wrong Avenue!

According to the NY World June 17 1900, Dr. Rankin is on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. He has a nifty ad on pg 8.

[He is a she. Below, Dr. J. Maude Rankin's ad from 1896. - Dave]

Bear Hands and Dentures

This is probably one of the more bizarre photos I've seen in a while. I'm not sure if the display case full of what appear to be dentures is more impressive than those amazing mittens the man is wearing!

Strange gloves

Looks like he's got whole chickens on his hands.

Understanding Your Customer.

This is a business owner who knew how to snag those new customers.

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