Thursday, February 3, 2011

12 Vintage Ads You Wouldn't Dare Buy Today

My teenaged son came across this article on; and while I recognize that is pretty cracked, the ads are authentic and the points the team made about them were pretty funny, and ironic. So, here are some of the ads. How many of these items would YOU buy today?

So, how many babies can be stored in cellophane? Just ask Du Pont. Of course, they don’t guarantee the babies will be alive later, but that’s beside the point-they’ll be fresh at least.

This ad appeared in Harpers in 1904. Things have changed a bit since then. Don’t think I’d let my 5-year-old take her gun to bed for a nap…

 I wonder if this was invented by a dermatologist.

Check out the dazed look on the child lying on the floor while her sister tries desperately to get inside the bottle for its magic elixir. What the self-proclaimed cure-all didn’t state was that it contained opium. Now the dazed look makes sense.


In 1952 Santa didn’t bring shiny bicycles or baby dolls, he brought cancer sticks – and hundreds of them in giant boxes nicely decorated to conceal their cancerous intent.

Apparently cigarettes and chewing tobacco weren’t the only tobacco products aimed at kids, here’s one for cigars. This is an actual label from inside a cigar box. Just how young did they want them to start?


Okay, so let me get this straight. Not only did advertisers want their kids to smoke, chew tobacco and sleep with guns after taking opium-filled cough remedies, but they were encouraged to share a beer with Grandpa. Glad I wasn’t a child then.


I guess all those beers and stogies grew some pretty early whiskers. Baby sure looks happy about using that razor.

Here it is 1950 and every child Scientist can have their own personal Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab with real radioactive materials included. But never fear-the low-level radiation was “completely safe and harmless”. I wonder how many kids who played with these are alive today and cancer free?


Here’s the most amazing one. Cocaine was used throughout the 1800’s and early 1900’s to cure toothaches. I guess it worked. You just forgot about the pain.

Funny how the attitudes about television changed from the 1950’s when it was a miracle box to the 1990’s when it poisoned children’s minds and was to be avoided.


Then there’s this ad. Feed your toddler pure corn syrup for energy and better boxing skills (huge gloves); then listen to NPR on the radio today and hear about all the harm it’s doing. 

Wish everyone would make up their minds.


  1. What an interesting look into our past and how children were used to sell some not so nice things.

  2. Hilarious. My own great-grandfather was guilty of this when he sold his mineral water as a cure for everything back in the early 1900s.

  3. LOL. It's amazing our parents and grandparents survived.

  4. I love the Iver Johnson Revolver ad! That was so disturbing, it was unreal.

  5. Wow, that is sooo rediculus! but i want my baby wraped in plastic wrap XD