The Age of Advertising: The Time of Television – 1944 (Little did they know…)

This 1944 RCA advertisement for television features an interesting combination of advocacy, sociological and technical prediction, and industry promotion. 

Like the prior post presenting GE’s 1945 advertisement about television, this earlier example explains the future uses of television within the context of education (“courses in home-making, hobbies like gardening, photography, wood-working, golf”) culture (“drama, musical shows, opera, ballet”), and large-scale future employment for returning veterans. 

All valid and true, at least in the mindset of 1944. 

All valid and true, at least until those nations (both of the – then – Allies and Axis) which had been physically devastated by the war eventually rose to levels of industrial and intellectual capability which would challenge the technical and industrial preeminence of the United States. 

All valid and true, until television, as well as other social and technological developments, would change – as much as reflect – the nature of American culture and society, and that of other countries, as well.

In terms of promotion of those firms involved in or contributing to the manufacture of televisions, the advertisement lists 43 different firms.  Of the 43, how many exist today, either independently, or as subsidiaries? 

It took fifteen to thirty years for the automobile, the airplane and the movies to become really tremendous factors in American life.

But television will start with the step of a giant, once Victory has been won and the manufacturers have had the opportunity to tool up for volume production.

Few realize the enormous technical strides television has already made, when the war put a temporary halt to its commercial expansion.

Dr. V.K. Zworykin’s famous inventions, the Iconoscope and Kinescope (the television camera “eye” and picture tube for the home), go back to 1923 and 1929 respectively.  Signalizing arrival of the long-awaited all-electronic systems of television, their announcement stimulated countless other scientists in laboratories all over the world to further intensive development and research.  By the outbreak of World War II television, though still a baby in terms of production of home receivers, had already taken giant strides technically.

During the war, with the tremendous speed-up in all American electronic development, man’s knowledge of how to solve the production problems associated with intricate electronic devices has naturally taken another great stride ahead.

When peace returns, and with it the opportunity for television to move forward on a larger scale, all this pentup knowledge from many sources will converge, opening the way for almost undreamed-of expansion.  Then American manufacturers will produce sets within the means of millions, and television will undoubtedly forge ahead as fast as sets and stations can be built.

In a typical example of American enterprise, many of the nation’s foremost manufacturers, listed here, have already signified their intention to build fine home receivers.

IN THE TELEVISION AGE, the teachers of the little red schoolhouse will offer their pupils many scholastic advantages of the big city.  And in the homes an endless variety of entertaining instruction: courses in home-making, hobbies like gardening, photography, wood-working, golf.

WHILE REMAINING AT HOME, the owner of a television set will “tour the world” via television.  Eventually, almost the entire American population should share in the variety of entertainment now concentrated only in large cities…drama, musical shows, opera, ballet.

TELEVISION will aid postwar prosperity.  Television will give jobs to returning soldiers, and an even greater effect will be felt through advertising goods and services.  Millions will be kept busy supplying products that television can demonstrate in millions of homes at one time.


The manufacturers below may well be described as a Blue Book of the radio and electronics industries.  Their spirit of invention, research and enterprise built the radio industry into the giant it is today.  Who can contemplate their achievements and fail to realize that in them America has its greatest resources for the building of the “next great industry” – Television.  Watch for their names after the war!



Standage, Tom, Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014

Trimble, David C., Television: Airwaves Church of the Future, The Living Church, V 110, N 1, Jan. 7, 1945

The Age of Advertising: Murad Turkish Cigarettes (April 1, 1919)

This advertisement – from The Philadelphia Inquirer of April 1, 1919 – has nothing whatsoever to do with technology.

But, it is fascinating, in its depiction of a product and an era. 

In fact, in its own way, it’s kind of cool. 

Promoting Murad Turkish cigarettes, a man and woman – husband and wife? (could be…) – “friends with benefits” – 1919 style? (good possibility…) – members of the upper crust? – (very, very likely…) delve into a treasure chest, and discover a box of Murad cigarettes, an example of which is also displayed in the lower-left corner of the ad.  They’re both dressed in Eastern-inspired finery; the man in a flowing robe and faux-Pharonic turban; the woman in a bejeweled headdress. 

Or in reality, a very-much imagined, very-much fantasized version of such finery.

The Stanford University’s School of Medicine has an interesting commentary on the origin and nature of this kind of advertising, at Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising:

“In the early 1900s, manufactures of Turkish and Egyptian cigarettes tripled their sales and became legitimate competitors to leading brands.  The New York-based Greek tobacconist Soterios Anargyros produced the hand-rolled Murad cigarettes, made of pure Turkish tobacco.  P. Lorillard acquired the Murad brand in 1911 through the dissolution of the Cigarette Trust, explaining the high quality of the Murad advertisements in the following years.

Murad, along with other Turkish cigarette brands referenced the Oriental roots of their Turkish tobacco blends through pack art and advertising images.  They also capitalized on the Eastern-inspired fashion trends of the time, which were inspired by the Ballets Russes (1909-1929) and its performance of Scherazade.  The vibrant colors, luxurious jewels, exoticism and suggestive nature of the images in these advertisements contributed greatly to their appeal.

Women drenched in pearls, jewels and feathers, wearing harem pants or flowing dresses, were paired in the ads with men in expensive suits or in exotic turbans.  The Orientalism, exoticism and luxury are evoked through Eastern-inspired garb accentuated the Turkish origins of the tobacco and presented it in an alluring, modern light.  Indeed, the women in these ads, in particular, is seen as less of a reflection on Victorian femininity than a fantasy of an exotic enchantress from a foreign land or a modern woman shedding the shackles of Victorian propriety.”

An example of a Murad cigarette package produced by Soterios Anargyros, from Pinterest Turkish Cigarette Page – as depicted in the ad – is shown below. 

The Age of Advertising: New York Telephone

This WW II-era advertisement from New York Telephone is a reminder of the enormous changes in the nature, quality, and ease electronic communication compared with prior decades.  What was formerly limited – in time and distance – is now near-ubiquitous; near-instantaneous.

Like the other New York Telephone ad displayed at this blog, the “center” of this advertisement features a telephone operator wearing a headset and microphone.

The text (presented below) is accompanied by sketches of a soldier, a businessman or professional in a managerial position, a younger businessman or factory manager, a clergyman, and, the national capital. 

Of particular interest in the ad are the rotary (!) telephone and stopwatch.  The message:  “Time is limited.”

Imagine the number of long distance calls required to train and equip a division of troops, then move the men to their embarkation point.

Think of the many more calls necessary for war production and supplying our armed forces overseas.

It’s easy to see why these calls will often overcrowd the long distance lines.  Yet we all want every such call to go through quickly.

You can help by making your long distance call as brief as possible when the traffic is heavy.  Sometimes, when there is an extra rush of calls, the operator may ask you to limit your call to five minutes.

We know you’ll be glad to cooperate in this mutual effort to speed vital war messages.


The Age of Advertising: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, 1945

A highly symbolic, highly effective advertisement by Grumman aircraft, specifically focusing on production of the F6F Hellcat fighter plane.

The emblem of the 7th War Loan would place the date at somewhere after May 7, 1945.



The Age of Advertising: Data Entry in 1943 – The National Cash Register Bookkeeping Machine

Before NCR was “NCR”, the company was appropriately known as the National Cash Register Corporation. After having been acquired by ATT in 1991, a 1996 restructuring of that firm led to the spin-off Lucent Technologies and NCR, with the firm being the only “spun-off” company that has retained its name.

This advertisement, from August 9, 1943, illustrates the company’s National Class 3000 Bookkeeping Machine.

The advertisement is quite simple in style and design.  A sketch of a model using an NC 3000 is repeated four times in the same illustration, giving an impression of “depth” and activity as in – well, quite appropriately! – an office setting.  An example of a neatly completed bill appears in the background.  

The full text of the advertisement appears at bottom.  Note the use of alpha-numeric telephone number prefixes (“CIrcle”, “MOtt”, and “CAnal”).

Here’s an illustration of an NC 3000 from the Office Museum website:

These two images – showing the front and rear of an NC 3000, on its stand – are from the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History website.  This example was manufactured in 1938 or 1939. 

Without machines to help them do this job, hundreds upon thousands of new bookkeepers would be needed to keep our records, and millions of man-hours would be stolen from our war effort.

National Typewriting-Bookkeeping Machines in industry, in business and in government are speeding record making and record keeping for the nation because they are simple and easy to operate…for they alone combine the standard adding machine and typewriter keyboards with full visibility of forms in the machines…  Any typist with a knowledge of an adding machine becomes a proficient operator with a few hours’ practice.

Nationals are flexible…for they can be changed to do all sorts of bookkeeping…like the statement you receive from the department store or the wholesaler…or for purchase records…payroll writing…posting general ledgers…and numerous other applications.

National Typewriting-Bookkeeping Machines, as well as all other National products and systems, save man-hours and provide protection over money and records for the bookkeeping of the nation.

National Accounting-Bookkeeping Machines may be secured by essential industries through priorities…  A stock of modern used National Cash Registers is also available for business needs.

The National Cash Register Company



321 EAST 149TH STREET, MOtt Haven 9-3323

138 BOWERY, CAnal 6-4906


Early Office Museum – Antique Special Purpose Typewriters, at

Mathematical Treasure: National Class 3000 Bookkeeping Machine on Stand, at

NCR Corporation, at

National Museum of American History – Bookkeeping Machines, at


The Age of Advertising: General Electric and Television

On March 14, 1945, a few months prior to their advertisement promoting “Plastic” in both military and civilian contexts, GE ran an advertisement – with a similar 6-section graphic and textual design – presenting and explaining the economic, technical, and cultural aspects of “Television” for the postwar world.

In light of the world of 2017, there’s something almost quaint about the the content of and mindset behind this advertisement, exemplified by the description of the kind of programming that was expected to be available: studio stage shows; movies; sports events; news.  This was a natural reflection of the entertainment and informational “material” then available to the public, much already extant on radio.  Understandably, the ad’s writers could not have foreseen the technological, cultural, and economic changes that – acting in synergy – would sweep the world in the ensuing decades, and continue to do so now.  In their lack of knowledge about the future of entertainment, perhaps the copy-writers were fortunate.       

An example, perhaps, of the way that the manifestation and anticipated use of any new technology, is – at the time of the introduction of that technology – seen in the immediate intellectual context of that time itself. 

Q. What will sets cost after the war?
A. It is expected that set prices will begin around $200, unless there are unforeseen changes in manufacturing costs.  Higher priced models will also receive regular radio programs, and in addition FM and international shortwave programs.  Perhaps larger and more expensive sets will include built-in phonographs with automatic record changers.

Q. How big will television pictures be?
A. Even small television sets will probably have screen about 8 by 10 inches.  (That’s as big as the finest of pre-war sets.)  In more expensive television sets, screens will be as large as 18 by 24 inches.  Some sets may project pictures on the wall like home movies.  Naturally, pictures will be even clearer than those produced by pre-war sets.

Q. What kind of shows will we see?
A. All kinds.  For example:  (1) Studio stage shows – dancers, vaudeville, plays, opera, musicians, famous people.  (2) Movies – any moving picture can be broadcast to you by television.  (3) On-the-spot pick-up of sports events, parades, news happenings.  G.E. has already produced over 900 television shows over its station, WRGB, in Schenectady.

Q. Where can television be seen now?
A. Nine television stations are operating today – in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Schenectady.  Twenty-two million people – about one-fifth of all who enjoy electric service – live in areas served by these stations.  Applications for more than 80 new television stations have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

Q. Will there be television networks?
A. Because television waves are practically limited by the horizon, networks will be accomplished by relay stations connecting large cities.  General Electric set up the first network five years ago, and has developed new tubes that make relaying practical.  G-E stations WRGB, since 1939, has been a laboratory for engineering and programming.

Q. What is G.E.’s part in television?
A. Back in 1923, a General Electric engineer, Dr. E.F.W. Alexanderson, gave the first public demonstration.  Before the war, G.E. was manufacturing both television transmitters and home receivers.  It will again build both after Victory.  Should you visit Schenectady, you are invited to WRGB’s studio to see a television show put on the air.

TELEVISION, another example of G-E research
Developments by General Electric scientists and engineers, working for our armed forces on land and sea and in the air, are helping to bring Victory sooner.  Their work in such new fields as electronics, of which television is an example, will help to bring you new products and services in peacetime years to follow.  General Electric Company, Schenectady, N.Y.

Hear the General Electric radio program:  “The G-E All-girl Orchestra,” Sunday 10 p.m. EWT, NBC – “The World Today” news, every weekday 6:45 p.m. EWT, CBS.

The Age of Advertising: Stromberg-Carlson Radio (who?…)

An advertisement from The New York Times about new radios – well, not-so-new radios! – from 1942, by the Stromberg-Carlson Company, listing radio retailers in the New York Metropolitan area, northern New Jersey, and Connecticut.


The company was founded in 1904, and after being purchased by the Home Telephone Company in 1904, relocated from Chicago to Rochester, New York, where it became, “…a major manufacture of consumer electronics including home telephones, radio receivers and, after World War II, television sets.”  Notably – at least in terms of this blog – the company produced the BC-348 communications receiver, which was used in WW II Army Air Force multi-engine transports and bombers. 

The company was purchased by General Dynamics in 1955, and by 1980, sold by them in several components. 

The full text of the ad is given below. 

The acronym “OPA” refers to the Office of Price Administration, an agency of the Federal Government established in August of 1941, within the Office for Emergency Management.  The OPA became an independent agency in January of 1942, and, “…had the power to place ceilings on all prices except agricultural commodities, and to ration scarce supplies of other items, including tires, automobiles, shoes, nylon, sugar, gasoline, fuel oil, coffee, meats and processed foods. At the peak, almost 90% of retail food prices were frozen. It could also authorize subsidies for production of some of those commodities.”

Manufacture of new radios stopped April 22nd, 1942.  Early completion of production brought about by 100% conversion to war orders has again made available a variety of our Radios and Radio-Phonographs.

If you are thinking of a new instrument to last you beyond the duration, we suggest you make your purchase soon.  For when the current stock of new radios is gone, there will be no more until the war is won.

And you know that, for a long-term investment in good music at its best, you will find “There is nothing finer than a Stromberg-Carlson!”

Visit your nearest dealer listed below, where you will find most models on display, at OPA prices.

Manhattan, Bronx, Westchester, Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut

Gross Distributors, Inc., 570 Lexington, Avenue, New York City
Representative for New York and New England
Write for free booklet “Facts about FM”


Office of Price Administration, at

Stromberg-Carlson, at

The Age of Advertising: General Electric and Plastic – July 10, 1945

From July 10, 1945, here’s an advertisement by General Electric promoting and introducing “PLASTICS”.  

The advertisement, divided into six sections – each with an emblematic illustration – describes the use of plastic in three contexts:  Military: The M-51 fuse; The home: kitchen utensils; Industry and machinery: gears; The military once again: the triple-cluster aerial bazooka as used by USAAF P-47s and P-51s, and, binoculars.  The ad then concludes with a section about the design and development of plastic. 

Though the first genuinely synthetic polymer had existed for some time (Bakelite, created by Leo Bakeland in 1907), only by the 40s and 50s did mass production of plastic actually commence.

The war was winding down, victory was obvious, and GE was thinking of the future.

The full text is presented below… 

26,000,000 fuses.  At the tip of this trench mortar is the M-51 fuse – most difficult mass production job ever done in plastics.  Sixty-seven different operations check its perfection.  Design was completed and mold started by G.E. the day before Pearl Harbor.  Why was General Electric picked for this job?

You’ll find the right answer in your own kitchen.  The handle on your coffee maker, the case on the kitchen clock, the light switch on the wall – chances are these are G-E plastics.  For General Electric has molded more plastic products than anybody else.  And some you’d never guess.  For example…

Cloth that wears like steel.  Steel against steel is noisy.  Wears fast.  Imagine, then, a gear made of cloth – packed in layers, impregnated with resin, pressed under heat.  Oddly enough, G-E engineers who discovered this found that for certain uses such gears were not only quieter, but actually outwore steel.

Would plastic bazookas blow up?  The first hundred plastics tried failed.  Then G.E. laminated a rare paper with a special resin.  The plastic tube stood the shock of repeated firings, was non-inflammable.  Now many planes carry these rocket launchers.  G.E.’s 1400 presses turn out everything from electronic equipment housings to submarine parts.

Salt-water-proof binoculars are new.  And won’t mildew in the tropics.  General Electric worked these out with the U.S. Naval Observatory and specialists in optics.  Plastics were combined with metal, and, to make shrinkage the same, a new metal alloy was developed.  The lenses are universal focus, specially treated for night vision.

How do plastics get born?  Designers say what shape, how heavy or light, soft or hard.  Engineers design special machinery.  Chemists then invent the plastic to fit the need.  Finally, a factory can go to work.  In war or peace, General Electric research and engineering count in plastics, too.  General Electric Company, Schenectady, New York.

Hear the G-E radio programs:  The G-E All-girl Orchestra, Sunday 10 p.m. EWT, NBC – The World News, Monday through Friday 6:45 p.m. EWT, CBS – the G-E House Party, Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. EWT, CBS.


Thompson, Richard C., Swan, Shanna H., Moore, Charles J., and vom Saal, Frederick S., Our Plastic Age, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B, V 364, July 27, 2009. 

The Age of Advertising: Reeves Sound Laboratories (1943-1944)

This advertisement is particularly eye-catching in its use of light and dark, which visually symbolizes its message:  An organization, operating regardless of day or night, producing vitally needed products for the military.  The company?  Reeves Sound Laboratories.

Located at 215 East 91st Street in Manhattan (unfortunately, there does not seem to be a Google street view of the address), the company, founded by Hazard E. Reeves, was a division of Reeves-Ely Laboratories, and conducted research into advanced gunfire control systems and computers, radar and tracking systems, guided missile controls, aircraft control instruments, flight trainers and aerodynamical computers, precision instruments, servo mechanisms, and, sound recording systems.  By 1956, the company merged into the Dynamics Corporation of America.



Previously, the cutting of crystal oscillators had been an art known to only a few technicians.  But then these New Yorkers pitched in:  Debutantes, dancing teachers, actors, stenographers, artists, clerks, butcher boys, beauticians, models and others joined hands with housewives to show what they could do when a war industry came to Times Square.

Over a thousand workers (mostly women) came from the five boroughs and the suburbs.  Everyone started from scratch.  Management and workers were unskilled at the start.  They learned the job together under the guidance of the United States Army Signal Corps experts.  Production processes were studied and broken down into the simplest possible operations.  X-Ray equipment and other highly scientific apparatus were brought in to help.

In the first month, only a few crystal were produced.  Now a year later, these people are turning out many more crystals than was believed possible a year ago.

A production miracle?  Perhaps.  But maybe it’s because these people are Americans – because they’re New Yorkers…or because a large percentage of the employees have relatives doing the toughest job of all – in the Armed Service of their country.

These workers have done their work so well that they have been awarded the Army-Navy “E” which they accept with this pledge:

“I promise to wear this pin as a promise to every man in our Armed Services that, until this war is won, I will devote my full energies to the cause for which they are giving their lives.”

First to fly above Times Square, this pennant will give promise of even greater things in store for ’44.

For a fascinating glimpse into the Lab’s activities with a direct connection to the advertisement, watch the 1943 video Crystals Go To War, (at Jeff Quitney’s channel) – “narration by one of the research scientists of the U.S. Army Signal Corps” – produced for Reeves Sound Laboratories by Andre deLaVarre.  The film is also available at


Industrial Research Laboratories of the United States – Including Consulting Research Laboratories (Bulletin of the National Research Council) Number 113; July, 1946.  Compiled by Callie Hull, with the assistance of Mary Timms and Lois Wilson.  

Hazard E. Reeves, at

Reeves Instrument Corporation, at

The Age of Advertising / The Age of the Railroad: American Car and Foundry Company (January 18, 1945)

Here’s an advertisement from January 18, 1945 for a company that – refreshingly! – exists even today:  American Car and Foundry. 

Formed and incorporated in Jew Jersey in 1899, the firm is located today in Milton, Pennsylvania.  According to the Wikipedia entry, the manufacturing facility, “…is capable of manufacturing railcars and all related railcar components.  The plant is capable of producing pressure vessels in sizes 18,000–61,000 gwc, including propane tanks, compressed gas storage, LPG storage, and all related components, including heads.  The plant, covering 48 acres, provides 500,000 square feet of covered work area and seven miles of storage tracks.” 

(How nice to know that something physical is still manufactured in the United States!)

Regarding the advertisement itself, the illustration is a very nice example of graphic art.  Every major product manufactured by the company is presented, from (primarily) railroad cars, to naval vessels, to shells or bombs, and (it looks like…) tires, with every manufactured item “leading” back to a point on a simplified map showing the location of its relevant manufacturing facility.  Above all, the use of light and shadow is quite striking.  

The full text of the ad is presented below.

In the service of AMERICA … and its RAILROADS

AWARE of the magnificent job American Railroads are doing, and aware too that THE WAR IS NOT YET OVER – A.C.F. pauses for an instant in its immense task of producing materials for our armed forces –  Pauses to SALUTE THE RAILROADS, their men in maintenance, operations, and those who man the trains.  They are truly a potent factor in the successful waging of war.

A.C.F., with sleeves rolled up, has well-laid plans for the future, for the wonder trains of tomorrow, and the facilities and “know how” that will help American’s Railroads attract and hold traffic.

IN WAR A.C.F. produces Combat Tanks, Shells, Bombs, Tractors, Landing Mats, Minesweepers, Net Tenders and many implements of War for our Army and Navy.

IN PEACE A.C.F. will again lead in Production of – Railway Passenger Cars, Streamliners, Freight Cars, Subway Cars, Mine Cars and a variety of other Products.

Whatever A.C.F. Builds – It is Known to Build Well!


ACF Industries, LLC, at

American Car and Foundry, at