Young Men Typists - Heh heh.

Why did Smith Corona feel the need to sell typewriters based on  helping young men get a job? Well, the ad ran in Popular Mechanics, I suppose. And it being 1940 and all, everyone knows that only men read Popular Mechanics. Strangely, though, you'd think that "everyone knows that only women type" would be the standard thought in 1940.

So, I guess we applaud Smith Corona with one hand only, for their progressive "anybody can type" philosophy, even if they're just trying to sell more units.

Their choice of head shots is pretty funny. It looks like they chose three young men who look like they couldn't drive a nail or hold a rifle to use as typewriter candidates. Did they choose extra-wimpy guys on purpose? "TYPING AIDS YOUNG SISSIES SEEKING OPPORTUNITY". Why not have a young guy with a beard and a duelling scar or an eyepatch? "TYPING AIDS YOUNG CONVICTS IN WRITING PAROLE ESSAYS"

It seems that, nomatter how hard they tried to be fair and non-prejudiced, companies in the old days couldn't help but be insulting and prejudiced.

I do like their use of quotes around the adjective "tops", as if the phrase had just been invented and they needed to use finger quotes when reading the copy to each other in the brainstorming session. Wait. Did they have finger quotes in 1940? When were those invented? That may be an interesting research project, if I can figure out how to research it.

UPDATE: Hey, guess what? Finger quotes can be traced back as far as 1927, according to The Phrase Finder, which cites a 1927 article in Science magazine...

"Some years ago I knew a very intelligent young woman who used to inform us that her 'bright sayings' were not original, by raising both hands above her head with the first and second fingers pointing upward. Her fingers were her 'quotation marks' and were very easily understood."

Here's the picture shown in the article on Phrase Finder. Hah! That's great.


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