Little Ads - We found some history.

Today the Research & Googling Team has brought us some slices of interestingness... made of history! Mmm, waiter, can I have some coffee with all this history?
I'd never seen the word "skivvies" used in advertising before. I'd only heard it used colloquially. So, I tasked the guys down in R&G to get to the bottom of this one. World Wide Words says this:
The word has been briefly trademarked several times, but the earliest in the US Trademarks Registry is dated 1954 (by Norwich Mills Inc, Norwich, New York) and by then the word had been in public use for some time... In the singular, a skivvy is usually defined as a vest (as we would call it in Britain) or undershirt, sometimes specifically named as a skivvy shirt. In the plural it either refers to both vest and underpants or to male underwear in general. Most examples suggest that this last meaning came along after the one for a vest. But that 1918 citation is in the plural, which may indicate it was already a fairly broad term. The early examples all indicate it was US military slang.
Other sources agree with the military origin of the term. So, it turns out that this ad we found here is from a 1954 issue of LIFE magazine, which makes it the first attempt to trademark the word "skivvies".

This ad comes to us from 1952, in the British magazine Picture Post. It's an ad for Dunlop bicycle "tyres" (heh heh). It seems to assume that the reader instantly recognizes the horseshoe things and associates them with cycling. A moment's staring tells me that this is some kind of trouser cuff clip.

Trouble is, here in The Future, most workaday cyclists I see use some kind of velcro strappy deal to keep their cuff from getting jammed in the chain. I myself am a fairly big bike geek, so if I'm riding, I'm probably wearing spacey bike clothes, looking like an insect. Also, I'm safely concealed in a forest of some kind, where stupid looking weirdos belong.
R&G found some vintage trouser clips like the ones in this ad on Ebay, see? Case closed! Mystery solved! Check and mate!

This last ad is also from Picture Post. What the Eff is "Nervone? Apparently, nerves have "power" and it can run low. Thankfully, Nervone can build up more nerve power so you don't run out? What... is... this... shit?

Oooooh! Nervone is homeopathy, which makes it magic pills. Homeopathy is the idea that "like cures like". If you have cancer, take some cancer to chase it away. Even better, it says that molecules have "memory" of their previous states and - long story short - you can dilute something with water, all the way down to undetectable levels, and call it "medicine". In Britain, where libel laws are, uuh, "different", homeopathy enjoys wider acceptance among people who like magical thinking. Homeopathic remedies are either water or sugar pills, depending on whether the product is in liquid or solid form.

This ad describes conditions that are usually associated with stress and psychological conditions and blames them on "low nerve power". Nervone probably does nothing. As proof, skeptics have staged massive homeopathic "overdoses" to prove that the product contains no active ingredients. Nobody got sick.


Jim Dillon said...

Doctor to patient: "And how long have you had this diarrhea, Mr. Olsen?"
Patient to doctor: "I'm not exactly sure. I couldn't take off my bicycle clips for about three days, and when I figured them out this morning, there it was."

Actual joke from '70's vintage joke pamphlet purchased in truck stop.

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