22 Odd Ads From National Geographic Magazine in the 1910s
National Geographic has been transporting its readers to the most distant corners of the world since 1888. From the start, its pages have been home to some far-out advertisements. If you think the products advertised today are dangerous or wacky, check out what they were peddling in the 1910s.
1. November 1914: Glastenbury Health Underwear
Looking to quell your rheumatoid arthritis and that pesky cough? Get the underwear shown in the ad above (it's guaranteed not to shrink!)
2. November 1914: "The Cure"
Most toxic one liner: “This water is highly Radioactive, which adds to its medicinal properties.”
3. October 1916: Quaker Oats Puffed Rice
Biggest Twist: “Each bubble of wheat is a kernel, puffed to eight times normal size. All its thin, airy flakiness is due to steam explosions. And each has been shot from guns. 100 Million Explosions.”
4. April 1917: American Chain Company
Imagine what the roads would be like if we still used ad space to chastise bad drivers.
5. May 1917: Monroe Refrigerators
We’re inundated with bills. But imagine getting a letter each month charging you for ice.
6. May 1917: Johns-Manville Asbestos Roofing
7. June 1917: Parker Fountain Pens
Most likely to be a terrible gift idea today: “What can be more appropriate as an expression of the Christmas spirit than a Parker Lucky Curve Fountain Pen?”
8. June 1917: Pyrene
Saves lives? Not so much. Pyrene was later discovered to cause kidney disease, tumors, and liver problems.
9. June 1917: Beeman’s Chewing Gum
Paraphrased: “My chewing gum relieves indigestion. (Actually, I’m not sure if it relieves indigestion at all, but people say it does, so I’ll go along with it.) Buy today!”
10. August 1917: The Si-Wel-Clo Silent Toilet
They say it’s silent. No word on whether it’s deadly.
11. September 1917: Portland Cement
Whoever said “concrete roads are permanent” must’ve never driven on a concrete road.
12. September 1917: Ithaca Gun Company
Composer John Philip Sousa, who wrote the march “Stars and Stripes Forever,” was like an olde tyme Ted Nugent.
13. March 1918: Cream of Wheat
As American as baseball, apple pie, and cream of wheat.
14. March 1918: Pacific Northwest Tourist Association
It’s your patriotic duty to hike the Washington mountains.
15. April 1918: Locomobile
Originally a steam-powered vehicle, the locomobile sadly died once the Great Depression hit.
16. April 1918: Bird Houses
We’re still trying to figure this one out, too.
17. April 1918: The Prophylactic Toothbrush
Winner of both “Worst Slogan” and “Most Unfortunate Product Name."
18. April 1918: Calox Tooth Powder
Back in the day, toothpaste and tooth powder were in a fierce rivalry. (Not many people must’ve been convinced by the booklet “Why a Tooth Powder is Better Than a Paste.”)
19. May 1918: The Acousticon
The Acousticon: Most likely to sound like a medieval torture device.
20. June 1918: The EAR Magniophone
The EAR: Most likely to inspire a B-Horror Movie.
21. October 1918: Bissell Carpet Sweeper
Well, it’s true if you go through 50 brooms a year ...
22. October 1918: The Balopticon Projector System
Advertising apparently didn’t keep the Balopticon projector afloat.