11 Things You Might Not Know You Can Still Buy
Vermont Country Store
Even that guy or gal who seems to have everything probably doesn't have these items—because they didn't know they were still available!
1. Sword Canes
The walking stick has been an accoutrement of gentlemen since before there were gentlemen. People carried walking sticks all through history—as a weapon, an aid for the constant walking of previous centuries, or a way to offset the weight of whatever a person had to haul during that constant walking. From the 17th to the early 20th century, the walking stick became more of a status symbol, the ornate detailing of the cane showing the wealth of its owner. In the 19th century especially, canes that concealed swords or daggers became the fashionable weapon of choice for the urban gentleman. Today, sword canes are available in a variety of styles, from that belonging to the cosplay villain, to those that are orthopedically practical. It is illegal to carry these canes in some places, as it qualifies as a concealed weapon. But if your goal in carrying a concealed weapon is dandy-ism, you really can’t get more dapper than a sword cane.
2. Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific
Depending on your age and life experiences, one whiff of this popular '70s and '80s shampoo could be a terrific method of time travel. Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific is another product that is no longer thought hip and far-out enough for mass U.S. production, but is still available in other countries, and through Vermont Country Store.
3. Red Union Suit
A Union Suit is not to be confused with long johns. Long johns are two pieces, pants and shirt, and descended from the Union Suit. This one piece undergarment began life as ladies wear, as part of an attempt to move women away from constrictive and intricate Victorian underpinnings to something healthier. Eventually the warm, no frills design became more appealing to men than women. The suits are still available today. And they still come with comedy gold sewn in, the classic button-up butt flap for ease of access.
4. Wood Burning Ovens
The Elmira Fireview™ Wood Cookstove looks like a modern gas reproduction, and you can buy it as one if you want. But it’s also available as an honest-to-Ma-Ingalls wood burning oven. The manual for the Fireview warns repeatedly of potential fire and burn hazards associated with a wood burning stove, and you’ll be required to learn many terms modern life has not taught you (flue boot, pipe damper, and ash catch). You’re also wise to learn the formula for Thermal conductance: C = Btu = W (hr)(ft²)(ºF) m²)(ºK) and Thermal conductivity: = k = (Btu)(inch) = W = _Btu (hr)(ft²)(ºF) (m)(ºK) (hr)(ft)(ºF), just to be safe. But when the Endtimes come, you can scoop up that plague of frogs right out of your yard and bake a frog kidney pie like nobody’s business.
5. Butter Churns
Pretty much everyone agrees that plunger style butter churns are just an awful way to make butter. Even the site that sells these functional churns urges their electricity-hating customers to use a smaller more modern (early 20th century) paddle churn. The plunger method has existed for centuries, and involves stamping away at cream skimmed from milk until the butter fat separates from the (butter)milk. Scoop it into a kitschy little mold, add some salt and you’ve got butter. And serious back problems.
6. Lifebuoy Soap
Does a red bar of Lifebuoy Soap ring a distant, Christmassy bell in your head? Yes, it’s the very soap that caused Ralphie to go blind from soap poisoning (in a dream, at least) in A Christmas Story. Created in 1895, Lifebuoy is no longer manufactured in the U.S. But a company called Unilever is providing it to Europe, and to the good folks at Vermont Country Store. Careful when you wash your face. You could put an eye out with that soap.
In all the years I ate my meals in a Seventh Day Adventist cafeteria, there always sat a single jar of Postum. The same jar. No one ever actually drank the historic coffee replacement, made from roasted wheat and molasses.
Its creator, cereal magnate C.W. Post, had come up with the recipe (some say by directly taking it from Kellogg’s kitchen) while a patient at Harvey Kellogg’s Adventist Sanitarium in 1895. It fit the Adventist dietary requirement of containing no caffeine, and was also 10 calories, fat-free, trans-fat-free, sodium-free, and kosher. Postum enjoyed popularity in the first half of the century, but with the advent of other non-caffeinated drink options, it was soon only to be found in the cabinets of elderly Mormons and Adventists. Kraft, who owned Postum by 2007, discontinued its production that same year. However, in 2013, Eliza's Quest Food received a license for the Postum trademark, and once again began selling the beverage in limited quantities.
8. Charley Chimps: "The Classic Cymbal Banging Monkey Toy"
From the website: “Meet Charley. Switch Charley on and he relentlessly bangs his cymbals and rocks back and forth while nodding his head. Bop his little red cap and he gets angry. His eyes start popping in and out of their sockets, then he opens his mouth, flashes his pearly whites and screeches waaay too loud.”
So. You can still buy these nightmare monkeys. No one says you should. But you can.
9. Boar Bristle Toothbrushes
Vermont Country Store
I remember seeing these toothbrushes in the leaky bathroom of my grandparents' ancient farmhouse. The little nipple at the end disturbed me and the brown of the bristles made me terrified of what must lurk in my grandparents' mouths. Later I found out the nipple was for gum stimulation, and it was actually hog’s bristles that accounted for the brown color of the brush. Not as comforting a revelation as you’d think. Still, many swear that these old fashioned brushes can clean more thoroughly than any synthetic modern brush.
10. Mystery Date
Collect all the cards to create a matching outfit, and then open the mystery door to see if you’re dressed to match your date! Will it be the ski date? The Formal? Uh oh! Don’t get The Dud! There have been updates issued of Mystery Date over the years, but the classic 1965 version in all its goofy glory is still available.
11. Muzzleloader Guns
If they’re good enough to win the Revolutionary War, they’re good enough for you. Muzzle loader guns are any gun where the projectile and propellant are stuffed down the gun barrel. They even come with their own ramrods. The guns can still be bought side lock, flintlock, and percussion long gun style.