Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 17

Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 17

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 05, 2009

This two-page spread from the Juvenile Instructor strikes me as delightfully suggestive of Mormon life in April 1920:



  1. Even the cheapest garments in the first ad — $1.60 — would be about $20.50 in today’s dollars. The most expensive would be over $76. Amazing how the church has kept the price down.

    Comment by Jacob F — February 5, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  2. Truly a slice of 1920’s life. Crop insurance, a tractor, homemade doughnuts, cheerful credit to out of town conference visitors….

    Today, a similar spread would likely include fast food restaurants, flat screen TV’s, and some pyramid marketing scam.

    And there’s no such thing as cheerful credit anymore.

    Comment by kevinf — February 5, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  3. I wondered what a “boy” tractor was, but it seems that “Waterloo Boy” was a tradename first given to tractors by the Waterloo Engine Company, which was purchased by John Deere in 1918, and Deere continued to manufacture tractors under that name until 1924. Search the name–you’ll find all sorts of interesting things you never knew about tractors–or, at least, that I never knew about the history of tractors.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 5, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

  4. Heh, heh, Mark B.! (#3) Thank you for the research and clarification. Very interesting. I see that the Waterloo Boy Tractor was a “Kerosene Burning” device. The Waterloo Girl Tractors, no doubt, ran on sweet-smelling oils.

    Comment by Rick Grunder — February 5, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

  5. The Waterloo Girl Tractors, no doubt, ran on sweet-smelling oils.

    or on tears and smiles to get the boys to drive them.

    Doughnuts and garments – What better combination for one column?

    Comment by Ray — February 5, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

  6. I wonder what makes credit “cheerful”?

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — February 6, 2009 @ 2:36 am

  7. “Hail insurance.”

    What a marvelous idea. It makes perfect sense, but it would never have occurred to me that anyone would actually sell such a product.

    Many years ago, when my oldest sister Deirdre remarried, she flew out to Iowa to spend time with her husband’s extended family. While touring the farms and fields, she turned and asked her new father-in-law where the irrigation and watering equipment was. His response was, “Oh, we don’t water the crops.” She: “What do you do then?” He: “We just count on it raining.”

    My sister, a native Southern Californian, was dumbfounded at the idea of relying upon nature to supply all the water needed for crops. (As she puts it, San Diego — our home town — is just “a well-irrigated desert.”) She later remarked that it explains why people in the Midwest tend to be religious. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — February 6, 2009 @ 9:49 am

  8. Let’s see, adds for high sugar food, insurance, wedding invitation printing, credit cards, and John Deer tractors. Some things don’t change.

    kevinf (re #2) I’d include an add for a cure-all tonic (herbal supplements?).

    Comment by BruceCrow — February 6, 2009 @ 10:07 am

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