Thursday, January 07, 2021

Stuff From The Box

It's STUFF FROM THE BOX! You know the drill. I decided to avoid all things World's Fair related this time - to give you guys a break. Remember, this is not the original box that I started with, it's a newer (and bigger!) box.

Let's start today's selection with this nice brass badge (1.5" from top to bottom), a 1936 premium from Cream of Wheat. There's Buck Rogers himself; he has awarded us this "Chief Explorer" badge due to our "Distinguished Achievement". Maybe for most television watched after school? I'll take it! There are two other nice Buck Rogers badges, and I thought I had them both, but can only find one. Maybe I dreamed the other one.

Here's something that my mom gave me, since she knows I like oddball old pins and things like that. It shows an Electrolux vacuum cleaner, and the badge is celebrating the company's 25th anniversary, which would mean that the pin is from 1934.

Next is this swell plastic pin with the smiling portrait of Elsie the Cow, mascot for the Borden Dairy Company since 1936. Elsie has been surprisingly popular over the years; she appeared at the 1939 World's Fair, and for a while the famous cow was not on display (for reason that are unclear to me). People wore "Where's Elsie?" buttons.

Here's a small brass pin with the name "Jimmie Allen" on it. "The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen" was a very popular radio program with an aviation theme; it ran from 1933 to 1947. The show was syndicated and several companies sponsored it over the years, including "Richfield High-Octane" as seen here.

For some reason I love this cheap little plastic Kitty Cat Clock pin, complete with googly eyes. Maybe it was sold at dime stores, or was a prize in a capsule machine. If I had to guess I'd say it's from the 1940s or '50s.

And finally, here's a plastic (Bakelite?) charm of a cured ham. What woman wouldn't swoon when this was presented to her on a necklace of genuine dental floss? "Swift's Premium Ham", that pretty much says it all. It's possible that these were given out at the 1933/34 Chicago World's Fair (much like the popular Heinz pickle pins), though they could have also been given out at other events.

Well, that's it for this time! I hope you've enjoyed this old stuff. Priceless treasures, in my opinion. You can keep your Cartier watches and your Tiffany lamps! Stay tuned for more stuff from the box.


Nanook said...

More lovely treasures to please the eye. It's too bad our world has become too "sophisticated" for such things these times. The clear winner for me is undoubtedly the Electrolux pin. The attention to detail - especially on the hose - is quite the thing. And the Swift's Premium Ham pin has me thinking of Scout and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thanks Major, for sharing more 'stuff from the box'.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, these are all great conversation pieces. You definitely need to wear these to parties, to help spark some good conversation when you run out of ideas.

If I'm correct that the little clock is a real working clock, in the Kitty pin, I'll take that one. Since I rarely wear watches anymore, I could wear it and just leave my cell phone at home.

Major, I think the "cute little ham" suits you best! Thanks for sharing more fun treasures!

TokyoMagic! said...

These items are all great! I think my favorites are the Elsie and Kit-Cat Clock pins. I always wanted one of those clocks, but just never bought one for myself. They still make them and they are even sold in Virginia's Gift Shop, at Knott's Berry Farm.

My grandmother had an Electrolux vacuum cleaner, just like the one on the pin. She used it for decades! Now I'm wondering what happened to it. I do have her Sunbeam iron and toaster. The toaster is the kind where the toast lowers down all by itself. Why didn't that luxury continue, and become a feature on all modern toasters?

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I do love that Electrolux pin; first of all, I had no idea that the company began in 1909, when I would assume not a lot of homes had electricity. Plus it’s just a nicely made object. No love for Buck Rogers? I’m surprised! Good call on Scout and her ham costume, such a great scene in both the book and the movie.

Lou and Sue, my mom knows a guy who apparently has a vest or jacket (I’ve never seen it) covered in literally hundreds of pins. He’s like one of those vehicles that is plastered with decals of every tourist destination they’ve ever been to. The kitty cat clock is not only a real clock, it is nuclear powered and is accurate up to a millionth of a second per century. Hmmm, why does a ham suit me? ;-)

TokyoMagic!, I like those clocks too, and bought one for a friend who got a new art studio space and she wanted to decorate it. She’s a fan of the color pink, and I found a pink kitty cat clock. You can get them in many colors! I remember years ago there was a shop on Melrose Avenue that had a clock like that, it must have been four feet from the top of the ears to the tip of the tail. We never had an Electrolux vacuum, but my mom used her 1958 (wedding gift) Sunbeam mixer for decades. It finally broke down about three years ago, and she tried to get it repaired, but it would have cost less to just buy a new mixer. She can’t bring herself to throw the thing away, even though it no longer works. Darn thing only worked for 60 years, what a ripoff! I've never heard of that feature on a toaster where the bread automatically lowers itself. Maybe the company realized that pushing the toast button down was the only exercise that some people get?

Stu29573 said...

My favorite is the Flash Gordon! It goes well with my Spacepark Ranger pin that I wrote about here:
Elsie was a regular at the State Fair of Texas until just a couple of years ago. She always had a long line of people wanting to say "hi!" It was sad a couple of years ago when she wasn't there.
Fun stuff, Major!

Stu29573 said...

Oops! I meant Spaceland!

Stu29573 said...

And Buck Rogers! I need to go back to bed...

Nanook said...

That Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster is arguably considered to be the best modern toaster ever made. LOOK HERE to learn more about it. And if that whets your appetite, there's a follow-up HERE.

Budblade said...

Holy guacamole, Batman!

That Buck Rogers Solor Scout Chief Explorer pin is even better that the Junior “G” man pin I had.

With a personal message from Buck himself. Wow.

We are in the presence of greatness.

Thanks for sharing your cool stuff Major........Chief

DrGoat said...

All of these are gems. I guess the Buck Rogers pin stands out because you earned it with your distinguished achievement. Obviously.
My parents had toasters like that but they disappeared with the advent of toaster ovens. I'm ready to replace the one we have now. A movement of one millimeter on the toast dial means the difference between perfect toast and "burned out cinder", quoting Micheal Rennie from the original Day the Earth Stood Still.
Thanks Major. If you have Aladdin's lamp in there somewhere, now might be the time to make your 2nd wish.

K. Martinez said...

Wow! Today's gems are unusual. I really like the Swift's Premium Ham charm. Thanks for sharing these, Major. Becoming one of my favorite sub-series of your daily posts.

Anonymous said...

Major, you have a lot of odd things, and I'm glad. Also glad you are posting them here to share.

The Electrolux vacuums originally were steam-powered and so could be used in homes without electricity. Just toss another oak log in the boiler and do the living room rugs.

For some reason, the ham pendant is my personal favorite, because ham.

I'm envisioning a kind of necklace, or even "lei" composed of all these various pendant items, perhaps from a ribbon made of wookie hair. You could wear it on special occasions, like the publication of photos from Mr. X, or the Mysterious Benefactor.

Thanks again for the glimpse into the erudite and unusual.


Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, I was all prepared to sit down calmly and say, “Well, Stu, sometimes we mix up Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, but it’s OK!”. You know, like Mr. Cleaver when he had to have a talk with the Beav. But I see (by reading ahead, not by psychokinesis) that you caught the mixup yourself. So you CAN have dessert after dinner (Mom’s famous cherry cobbler, with ice cream). The Borden company went out of business (after a leveraged buyout) in 2001, much to my astonishment. The brand name is now being used by somebody else now. That’s probably why Elsie stopped appearing at the Texas State Fair.

Stu29573, “Well, Stu…”. Just kidding! Your Spaceland pin is awesome, and I am very jealous of you. Maybe I need to create a new eBay search!

Stu29573, you get out of bed? WHY?

Nanook, I’ve watched the first few minutes of the first video, and will watch the rest in a bit, but I do love that toaster! For one thing I just like the way it looks. Classic, like it would appear on the counter in an MGM “Tom and Jerry” cartoon.

Budblade, did you happen to see my Junior G-Man pin last August? There were many varieties, yours might be different from mine. Buck Rogers personally engraved a message on the back of my badge with his laser pistol. Glad you liked today’s stuff!

DrGoat, yes, my achievement (as I said before) was probably for watching the most TV, but it might also be for complaining about going to school, too. I did that a LOT. I have an old Black and Decker toaster oven that is OK as a little oven, but barely tolerable as a toaster. And my mom has a new B&D toaster oven that burns the toast on the bottom while the top is barely brown. We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t make a toaster oven that’s worth a darn?! I’m writing to Reader’s Digest! I don’t have Aladdin’s lamp, sadly. I traded it for this monkey’s paw, and so far I am regretting it.

K. Martinez, funny how so many people love that humble ham charm! It’s “The Power of Ham”, as Huey Lewis should have said. Good thing you like these posts, because there’s gonna be a lot more!

JG, I definitely do love odd stuff, mostly if it’s old, and I do tend to like advertising items, and relics from old radio and TV shows. The old “Carousel of Progress” showed us a vacuum cleaner that had “one boy power”, with an unfortunate kid cranking away at a wheel while his mother cleaned. I guess the division of labor was a little more equitable that way. I once wore a vintage pin just for fun at a party, and people seemed very baffled by it. That was the last time!

Melissa said...

Hey, if you can explore all the way to the bottom of the Cream of Wheat box, you deserve some recognition of your achievement! Buck (Wheat) Rogers salutes you!

I want to build a dollhouse just so I can put that Kit Kat Clock pin on the kitchen wall.

Is there a little Scout Finch action figure inside the tiny ham?

My Grandma had an Electrolux canister vacuum that looked remarkably like the one in the pin. It didn’t suck very hard, but it was good enough for the lake cabin. Before electricity, the earliest vacuum cleaners were hand-pumped!

Thanks for sharing your treasures!

Nanook said...

If you're looking for a countertop oven that also toasts really well, then look no further than a Breville Smart Oven. They offer several models, and although not exactly cheap, they really work well.

As for ham... now I'm reminded of another film reference: "If you ain't eatin' Wham, you ain't eatin' ham-!"

Kathy! said...

These are fabulous, Major! Can’t you just imagine someone proudly wearing the vacuum on his or her lapel? I’m with the majority in picking the kitty and ham as favorites. I’ve wanted one of those clocks (saw the shop at Knott’s last time I was there, TokyoMagic!) but I thought they were expensive. And the ham is just ‘chef’s kiss’. I have an old plastic potato-shaped pin that says Idaho that came from who knows where that would accessorize the ham charm beautifully.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, ha ha, I can only imagine trying to reach into a box of Cream of Wheat to retrieve a prize! My guess is that kids had to mail box tops to an address, or 10 cents, or both, to get this magnificent badge. Re: Scout Finch: see Nanook’s comment! And re: hand-pumped vacuum cleaners, see my comment to JG!

Nanook, I actually looked at those Breville Smart Ovens, but I wasn’t convinced that it would work as a toaster. My sister has older one, but because the cooking space is large, it kind of dries out the bread until it’s hard and tough by the time the surface gets brown enough to qualify as “toast”. Maybe they've solved that issue by now.

Kathy! Maybe those Electrolux pins were worn by door-to-door salesmen? Funny how so many people like the cheap plastic items the best - obviously I like those too, but I didn’t expect everyone else to feel the same way. Your potato pin sounds cool, I’ve never seen one of those. I have an Oscar Mayer hot dog pin, and a Heinz ketchup bottle pin.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, I forgot to ask you yesterday: When you manicure those hedges, what shape do you make them into?

Sunday Night said...

Speaking of Buck Rogers - I almost got Buster Crabbe's (star of the 1939 Buck Rogers serial) autograph once at a film exhibition but he left the theater too fast and I couldn't catch him!

The Electrolux pin is the greatest.

Dean Finder said...

I was going to add a link to that toaster video, but I see that Nanook beat me to it.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, thanks for posting that link! That looks almost like my grandmother's toaster, but I assume there were slightly different models over the years. I actually have my grandmother's and my great-grandmother's toasters, but they are identical.

Kathy, I forgot to mention that part about the Kit-Cat Clocks at Knott's being VERY expensive. But then a lot of that type of non-Knott's merchandise that they sell, seems to be marked way up.

Major, Knott's has several of the giant-sized Kit-Cat Clocks, like you mentioned, as a part of their display.

Also, I have a friend who bought one of the "automatic" Sunbeam toasters at a swap meet, back in the nineties. It only cost $5, because it didn't work. He took it to a "small appliance repair" shop and he only paid another $5 to have it fixed. I guess the days of the little "fix-it" shops doing inexpensive repairs, are a thing of the past. Now it's just "throw it in the landfill and buy another one" because the repair cost just as much, or almost just as much as a new item. Sad!

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I like to make the hedges look like giant teeth! I always carve away a missing tooth for added hilarity.

Sunday Night, Aw man! I guess I can’t blame Buster for skee-daddlin’ but still. That would have been awesome.

Dean Finder, Everyone knows about the toaster video! It has more views that “Tiger King”.

TokyoMagic!, After watching that video, I realize how empty and meaningless my life has been with my ordinary toaster. But it’s not too late! I can buy one on eBay and turn things around. The pink Kit-Kat clock that I bought wasn’t that expensive, but it was also pretty small. Oh wow, I’ve never seen another one of the big Kitty Kat clocks, I’m amazed that they had them at Knott’s! And yes, my mom has a favorite place in Woodland Hills where she has had appliances repaired for decades, but it has just gotten to expensive. Even the man who does the repairs admitted that it is hard for him to stay in business because everybody just throws stuff away.

Major Pepperidge said...

Arg, I hate typos!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I thought I had taken some pics of the Kit-Cat Clocks at Knott's, not that long ago. I just checked and sure enough, I did take some pics, exactly one year ago this month. Go figure!

Here's a link, in case you or anyone else is interested. One of the photos shows the two giant display clocks. The clock hands were present when these were first installed in the shop, but I have a feeling that guests either stole them, or broke them off, because...well, you know....that's what people do, unfortunately. Another photo shows the boxed clocks, and the price of $59.99 is visible on the back of one of them. I also included a photo of some Kit-Cat socks they are selling. They are just the thing to get for that person who has "everything."

Scroll all the way down to the last four pics in the post (past Elvira), for the Kit-Cat Clock pics:

DBenson said...

Random stuff:

-- In 2007, the owners of Felix the Cat finally got around to suing the makers of the Kit-Cat Clock. Not sure how that turned out.

-- Guessing the pin was tied to the Buck Rogers radio show. There was a ton of merchandise tied to the strip, but I think the only giveaway promoted in the strip itself was autographed pictures of Buck and Wilma. The Mickey Mouse strip did a similar giveaway. Later, the comic strip Gordo offered the lead character's special bean recipe. These little offerings were immensely popular, and were used to impress syndicates and newspapers with a strip's popularity.

-- Elsie appeared in person at Freedomland, the would-be Disneyland near New York. She also had a comic book about her and her family (husband Elmer lives on as a glue mascot), and appeared in the Macy's parade (sitting on a trapeze under a balloon).

-- According to "Notes on a Cowardly Lion", a radio jingle for Swift's Premium Ham was a private joke for Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley. Old chums from stage days, they'd sing it at each other as a joking comment on a scene. Myself, I'd love to have a bunch of those charms to present to some theatrical associates of my own.