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Batteries to Bananas: 1939

Batteries to Bananas: 1939

October 1939. "Grinding coffee. General store selling everything from batteries to bananas in Lamoille, Iowa." Medium format acetate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Brands, brands, brands


Very difficult to find with "Breakfast" between "Hershey" and "Cocoa".

Fairbanks Morse & Co.


Fairbanks Morse Continued

They were a firm primarily known for their opposed-piston diesel marine engines, but apparently had their hands in sundry other things. They started building diesel locomotives in the 1940s using the same type of engines, eventually producing the legendary FM Trainmaster.


I want my cumquats!

Finger smasher

I don't know how people kept fingers in those days. Unshielded belt drives aren't allowed even in factories today, let alone in a public store!


The secret ingredient? Mutton suet.


Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time. It's on a diesel engine aboard Torsk, a WWII submarine in Baltimore's inner harbor.


Penetro was a nasal inhaler that apparently contained (mostly) camphor and menthol.

You stuck in in one nostril, pinched off the other and snorted it in, and the menthol gave you at least the feeling of relief.

Vicks still makes a similar product, I used them as a kid in the '70s, not terribly effective but when you're sick any relief is welcome.

Picture found on the Internet.

Torture device?

Those look like the grip pegs on the sled for a meat slicer, with the blade just out of frame.

Product Placement

I'm not sure putting shoe polish next to spices is the way to go, but it might make for some unique odors.

I must know!

What kind of ancient Iowa torture device is this?

Industrial-looking Grinder

Wow! My earliest memory of a coffee grinder involves an Eight O'Clock machine in an A&P market in the early 1950s -- completely self-contained and smelled just fabulous. Can you imagine a giant machine like this in today's world of consumer and employee safety?

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