Esoterica writ large

There have always been oddballs (and lest anyone reading this take offense, rest assured we count ourselves among the oddest of balls) who have devoted their time and energy to amassing collections of esoteric items.

Prior to the ascent of the internet, these devoted few were limited to sharing their collections with the people whose lives intersected with their own—unless, that is, they resorted to mounting some sort of small museum in which to share their amassed “treasures” with the world at large.

In 1992, we devoted four months to a cross-country excursion, setting foot in all 48 contiguous states and traveling the entire length of the Mother Road, Route 66. Our focus the entire way was the sort of roadside attractions that then and now were ever-dwindling: mom-and-pop eateries, drive-in movie theatres, and the sort of tourist traps that we found irresistible then and still can’t pass up, among which we include these odd little “museums,” which are really more a testament to one man’s (or woman’s) particular obsession than the sort of scholarly, edifying institution to which we generally ascribe the tag “museum.”

For instance, on Day 2 of the aforementioned odyssey, we paid a visit to Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania (which is still going strong today, nearly twenty years later, we’re happy to report).

Mr. Ed (who is apparently not a talking horse, although we didn’t meet face-to-face) turned a life-long passion into a going proposition. He has, in addition to his collection of miniature elephants, which are housed in locked glass cases, a gift and candy shop, which also sells freshly roasted peanuts.

Most of us know someone who collects small plaster, ceramic and glass replicas of their favorite animals: frogs, giraffes, penguins, owls. If you have such a friend or acquaintance (or are yourself such a collector), you might consider following in Mr. Ed’s footsteps. Because, believe us, there was nothing educational about Mr. Ed’s Museum—he merely displays his collection of miniature elephants and makes his dough from the proceeds of the gift shop.

Nowadays, those unwilling to devote their perhaps meagre savings to opening a roadside “museum” can share their collections with the public at large on the internet, and while we don’t know the individual who gathered the labels for this extensive Flickr collection devoted to bread labels of the 1940s and ’50s, we’re willing to bet he or she has considered opening a small roadside museum at one time or another.

Pitch perfect: bread

As the Pitch Perfect series continues, today we feature a collection of 1949 advertising slogans that were used to market various baked goods, bakeries, and baking products, including breads, biscuits, crackers and baking powders.

Always in good taste (Colonial Bakeries), Jersey City, N.J.
Always oven-fresh (Britis Educator Biscuits).
America’s finest bread (Langendorf United Bakeries). San Francisco.

Baked in freshness (Grocer’s Biscuit Co.), Louisville, Ky.
Baker’s own jobbing house, The (B’klyn Master Bakers’ Purchasing Assn.).
Baker’s of America’s finest bread (Langendorf).
Bakes right because it is made right (Made-Rite Flour).
Baking aid that nature made, The (Falk American Potato Flour Co.).
Balanced for perfect baking (Pillsbury).
Best by test (Calumet Baking Powder Co.), Chicago.
Best food the grocer sells, The (Campbell System, Inc.).
Best for all your baking (Purity Flour).
Better baking with less fuel (Pyrex glassware), Corning Glass.
Better biscuits made the better way (Sawyer Biscuit Co.).
Bread is your best food, eat more of it (Fleischmann Co.), New York.

Completes the feast (National Fruit Cake), National Biscuit Co., New York.
Cone-ing on the campus (Illinois Baking Co.), Chicago.
Contains no alum (Magic Baking Powder).
Costs less by the biscuit (Mrs. Tucker’s Shortening), Sherman, Tex.

Delicious whole wheat bread, The (Wheatine Co., Rahway, N.J.).
Don’t ask for crackers, say Snow Flakes (Pacific Coast Biscuit Co.).
Double-acting (baking powder), Crescent Mfg. Co., Seattle, Wash.

Eat bread. . . more bread (The Fleischmann Co.).
Eat Johnston Cookies, the taste that thrills (R.A. Johnston Co.), Milwaukee.
Every bite a delight (Grennan Cake Co.), Detroit.
Every shake a fresh cake (North American Dye Co.), Mount Vernon, N.Y.
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