Retro Xmas Ad: the All-Electric Freshman

It’s the new “All-Electric” radio. I don’t know enough about radio to ask what the old partially-electric radios were like. I think they might mean the crystal sets that required a mile of wire, a cat’s whisker, and some probes hooked up to a potato. You’d think all radios were electric by 1929, the year of this ad. Then again, you’d think Santa and the angels kept to their own sides of the street, as it were. Apparently not.

(Fruits of obligatory googling: AC powered radio were the latest thing in the late-twenties. And Santa had a joint-operating agreement with the cherubim from 1897-1933, when it was dissolved under new labor laws.)

The ad copy is interesting:

“Young and old are fascinated. HOME is the center of attraction now!”

By the end of the 20s, it seems everyone had fled the comforts of the hearth for the blind pig, the poolhall, the jazz club, the Carnegie Library. Here’s the puzzler:

“Every night there’s a merry scramble to get the dinner dishes put away in time for the ‘remote control.’”

I’ve no idea what they meant by that.  Probably the on-off switch.

“Radio is a moving picture of the panorama of the world’s daily life and progress; tomorrow’s news tonight; priceless concerns of prima donnas; the theater brought to the home; it educates while it entertains. Saturday, people POURED into our tore for the NEW EQUAPHASE.”

“The Christmas rush is ON with its usual speed multiplied by three. Our stock is melting like the Christmas candles.”

Yes, those tubes did run hot.  It cost $185, which was a lot of money in 1929. As for the Foster and Waldo brand, here’s the conclusion of the hagiographic bio on Mr. Foster, taken from the 1923 compendium of profiles we cited the other day. It’s really a piece of work. The pangyric ends thus:

“A mere record of events and their dates cannot constitute a biography of such a man as Robert O. Foster. The motive power behind his achievements, the forces that have made him successful, his mentality and character are absorbingly interesting and peculiarly instructive.”

You feel like you really know the man, don’t you?

“He is a man of unusual vigor both physically and mentally. At the age of sixty-five he is still a young man, with the ambition and determination to achieve, in the years to come, even more greatly than he has in the past. He employs a large force of salesmen, to whom he gives a talk every week-day morning, and, daily, the keynotes of his instructions are Truth and Altruism.”

Or, as the salesman used to call it, “the daily T & A.”

The next portion runs off the rails entirely:

“He loves the world and men, and to step into his office is to be assured that he loves children, for their pictures are its adornment. He exhales energy and  lean, vigorous thought, and he is a living refutation of the old legend that an artistic temperament is useless in business. He has one of the best poetical minds in the country and he is one of its really successful men. He has written some poems of a high order and he has built up a big business house with nothing to start on. His mind revels in the sublimity of the universe and yet misses no smallest detail in the management of an extensive business.”

Say, where’s the boss? Don’t tell me he’s reveling in the sublimity of the universe again; I have to get these contracts out today.

” Public office has no attraction for him, but he takes a keen interest in the progress of the city and has given time and appreciated services to the promotion of civic enterprises of merit. He is for better and bigger things in every way, and in addition to being one of the best of Americans he is also a citizen of the world.”

He bought out Waldo ten years before this ad ran, but kept the name. Ookiest part of the bio:

“On September 26, 1906, Robert O. Foster married Miss Mamie Keidel, whom he had known from her infancy.”

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