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Mad Men: 1959

Mad Men: 1959

c.1955 c.1959*. Ad men at work with a gizmo. My uncle, at the time vice president and production manager at the Foote, Cone & Belding advertising agency's San Francisco office, is at left. The gizmo is a "Chromocritic," a term which up to now returns zero hits on Google, so here's another first for Shorpy. It's obviously something used for viewing color transparencies under differing lighting conditions; the switch at the lower right toggles between "Daylight" and "Artificial." Extreme magnification reveals that its sole distributor was the Macbeth Arc Lamp Company of Philadelphia, PA. There Google helped me, and they were indeed suppliers of precision-calibrated lighting devices for the graphic arts industry. The graphic itself is in classic mid-50s illustration style. From an 8x10 print in a stash of my uncle's memorabilia I just acquired. *Thanks to Dave and others for narrowing down the actual dating. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Just for completeness

There's a note about a demonstration of the Macbeth Chromacritic [sic] in the January 1949 issue of the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers.


Thanks for this post and for all coments!


"She's Tanfastic",,72889-594798,00.htm...

Bobby did this one for the money.

(Use IE since my Firefox doesn't seem to want to play it.)

Link, please

To Bobby Darin's newest 45 single, "She's Tanfastic."

Macbeth Artificial Daylighting Co.

1915 Macbeth Artificial Daylighting Company started in New York to provide daylight fixtures to retailers in New York City.

1918 The Munsell Color Company founded in Boston to supply color standards with Munsell notations.

1922 The Munsell Color Company moves from Boston to New York and continues to sell color books and charts, Munsell Crayons and high-grade tempera to artists and teachers for color instruction of schoolchildren.

1923 The Munsell Color Company relocates from NYC to Baltimore.

1946 Gretag AG Established in Switzerland.

1955 Macbeth relocates to New Windsor, NY.

1965 Kollmorgen Instruments Corporation and Macbeth merge.

1970 Kollmorgen acquires the Munsell Color Company, the internationally recognized manufacturer of precise color standards.

1979 Gretag Color Control Systems becomes an independent profit center within Gretag AG, focused on color measurement and color quality control products.

1984 Gretag Color Control Systems produces the first portable spectrophotometer.

1989 Macbeth acquires a German-based manufacturer of spectrophotometer systems.

1997 The Gretag Color Control System Division of Gretag AG merges with the Macbeth division of Kollmorgen Instruments Corporation.

1998 Gretag Macbeth GmbH acquires LOGO Kommunikations, a developer of color management software.

1999 GretagMacbeth acquires Talia Tecnoequipe, a software company focused on the textile industry. Viptronic, a manufacturer of hand-held instrumentation, acquired by GretagMacbeth

2001 Gretag-Macbeth Holding AG becomes Amazys Holding AG

2003 GretagMacbeth announces acquisitions of SheLyn Inc., a textile software and applications provider and Sequel Imaging, a graphic arts solutions provider.

2006 X-Rite Incorporated acquires Amazys Holding AG and all its holdings.

Man Tan

As I recall, Man Tan was one of the first, if not the first, tanning liquid that required no sun at all. Gross stuff, creepy and bizarre results.

Ford, Corn & Bunion

C. Gayle Warnock, the author of "The Edsel Affair," who died in 2007, did not work for Foote, Cone & Belding. He was the PR head of Ford Motor Company, and worked with FCB on the Edsel account.

Macbeth lamps

Technical Arcanery: The machine is a whiz-bang version of a lightbox, used to view the color in the transparency under different lighting conditions, and probably also to suggest color corrections for the artist. Don't know what all the controls do, but probably just for all the different light conditions and intensities. In sequence, this color viewing step is way ahead of the color separation process. Macbeth (originally Macbeth Arc Lamp Company) did indeed make densitometers, but its primary product for years was the high powered lamps used in graphic arts cameras and platemakers, pre Macs and Pagemaker. The company's biggest competitor was NuArc. Every camera I ran (geezing alert) had NuArc or Macbeth lamps, as did all of the platemaking equipment I operated.

Cone, Belding and Foote

That's the order they're in l>r in this photo from my uncle's stash. He's not in it, but for you Mad Men fans we do have the drinks and the cigs. Emerson Foote at the right is smoking, which is particularly interesting in light of his later history. He also seemed to have inspired a film character. I've tentatively dated this from about 1948. A companion shot, with Fairfax Cone smiling, was used in a number of trade publications

Foot Corn & Bunion

In the book "The Edsel Affair," the author worked for with the Foote, Cone & Belding agency, which was referred to as Foot Corn & Bunion by its own people!


I worked for them. But that's way before my time.


Both the ad and the machine within 24 hours. Shorpy fans are simply the best!

Function over form

Those were the days in which machines were still designed by engineers, not stylists. This thing shouts FUNCTION, with its 'clack-clack' switch levers, Flash Gordon dials and ventilation slots you can slice cheese with. Love it.

On this side of the pond

MacBeth are best known for densitometers, devices for measuring the density of negatives as part of the printing process. For all you young'uns, negatives are what we used to use before memory cards became the fashion!!

The Ad

From 1959-60, on eBay. Thanks to willc for the clue. Somewhere between Chromocritiquing and the final artwork, the arms and legs were shifted a bit.

I tried Googling "Chromocritic"

Five hits now, every one of them straight back to this post.

It's Tanfastic!

Something about that ad artwork tipped over the big junk bin in my head, and out came the product name "Tanfastic." Here is a 1961 ad for that product that ran in women's magazines like Glamour and Seventeen.

Foote, Cone & Belding stash

Did your uncle still work for F,C&B two years later, in 1957?
If so, do you have any photos or ephemera involving their Edsel account?
I assume Ford Motor Company worked with a Detroit or Dearborn based crew, but the ads they made ran nationally, so SFO might have had some role in the western states campaign. F,C&B was their 1957 and 1958 ad agency.

A whole lot of current Edsel owners will drool all over their keyboards if you do.

Curiosity killed the cat

Having been around advertising people on the east coast from 1959 until about 1963, I remembered that Foote, Cone and Belding had offices in S.F., Chicago, N. Y., etc. but could not remember their clients. DoninVa (another commenter) I believe is on the right track with the tanning lotion theory. There used to be a lotion called "Man Tan" around that era, but my search turned up nothing so it apparently no longer exists. I did find the history of the advertising agency and it is enormous, the oldest and largest and most prize-winning ad agency with offices around the world. We always seem to learn something new every day because of Shorpy and I thank you for yet another trip down memory lane.


Not to many years ago I worked for an apparel manufacturing company and we had a machine called a Macbeth box (or something). As I recall it was a four foot cube with the front face open and lighted on the inside. The folks who could tell the difference would use its precisely calibrated light to evaluate the color of fabric samples. Not being able to tell one shade from another, calibrated light or not, I never touched it.

Name this product

Looks to me the ad is for a tanning product. Woman goes from pale to tan while hunk holds a clock.

Pay attention!

"Edgar! look at the picture!"

"I can't Fred...those cartoons have bikinis on, and it makes me feel funny..."

Market conditions

When I worked for a major food company, they had a special room with mockups of supermarket shelves, and in which the lights could be switched among the number of different modes found there. The idea was to see how the packages grabbed the consumer under various conditions. This may be something similar. Or not.


Gotta love a transparency viewer that has meters and a giant knob. The device protruding from the top section looks like it could be a spirit level, but that wouldn't make sense on such a machine. Perhaps it's some form of light detector to help you criticize the chromaticity of the image.

Try Google Books

From "The Lithographers Manual" - Charles Shapiro- 1974

The Macbeth Chromocritic Viewer contains two light sources that can be mixed and measured and the pair of readings can be given to the lithographer by his client for each color transparency. This enables the lithographer to view the job in the same light in his own plant

Looks like a viewer for color separations in a controlled way so as to ensure accurate color reproduction.

That's Very Nice,

but get me a martini. Make it a double.

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