*** boys historical clothing: advertisements showing boys' clothing chronology 20th century

Advertisements Featuring Boys' Clothing: Chronology--The 1910s

Figure 1.--

We have been able to find quite a few advertisement from the 1910s, mostly from family-oriented magazines. Many of the ads are American. We are not sure if this comes from our greater access to American material or that the advertising industry was more advanced in America than in other countries.Many of the ads appear to focus on younger children. We note note little boys wearing button-on shorts and older boys wearing kneepanys with dark long stockings. Boys are pictured wearing sailor suits.

Gervais Cookies (1910?: France)

One of the most famous brand names in France is Gervais cookies. Many early 20th century ads show children with the cookies. We do not have a separate ad page yet, but one of the ads can be viewed on a French clothing page.

Morton Salt (1910s: United States)

Morton's Salt is one of the best known brand names in America. The company is best known today for its symbol of a little girl with an umbrella. We noted Morton Salt advertisements which appeared in the Lady's Home Journal during 1966. The ads used old photographs to demonstrate how long Americans haved used Morton's Salt. We assume that they are actual old photographs, but some readers think that they are recreations. We note a middle-class home with a large porch from 1912. We note an old-fashioned general store with the bins to the right, one of which apparently contains salt. The boy pictured here wears typical 1916 clothes--a tweed flat cap with a bill, a bulky sweater with a muffler, tweed or cord knickers buckled below the knee, and long woolen stockings.

Fairy Soap (1913: United States)

Nathaniel Kellogg "N.K." Fairbank (1829-1903) was an important Chicago industrialist. He founded a company , the N.K. Fairbank Co., which manufactured soap and animal and baking products in northern Illinois. Chicaho in the latr 19th century became a major American city and one of the impotant industries was the meat packing industries. Cattle and hogs from the West and Mid-West were processed in Chicago and shipped tonthe expnding indudtrial cities of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The N.K. Fairbank Company in Chicago made Fairy soap. Here we have an advertisement in the American Magazine (April, 1913, p. 7.). The advertisment shows al in underwear washing up in the morning. The ad copy reads, "Fair Soap: The floating, oval cake--is the purest white toilet soap made." Fairy Soap was was a white soap that floated. In the 19th century that was innovation which avoided the need to have to search in the bathwater for the bar of soap. Its only competitor was Ivory soap made by another American company, Procter and Gamble which had come up with the idea of floating soap in 1878. Gold Brand was another of Fairbank's company's brands. Thomas Hedley & Co. in Newcastle upon Tyne bought the rights to the word 'Fairy' from Fairbanks and launched the what was the first all-purpose soap in 1898. Procter and Gamble Company established its first foreign subsidiary with the acquisition of Thomas Hedley & Co. Ltd (1930). This gave it the rights to the Fairy Brand in Britain and much of Europe. Fairy Soap is still marketed in Britain. The little girl is not in a bathroom, but using a chair and wash pan. I am not sure if that was because many Americans still did not have indoor bathrooms or just to give the child a surface at her height. There is a good depiction of period underwear.

Will & Baumer Candles (1915: United States)

Here we see a 1915 Die Cut Calendar with full pad still attached is a Chromolitho. It was given compliments of the Will & Baumer Company, candle manufactures in Syracuse, New York. It is a Catholic Feast and Fast Day Calendar and was copyrighted in 1888 and 1914. It is a very idealized depiction of Catholic altar boys. While the vestments may be accuraetly depicted, we have not noticed actual altar boys with hair like this in either the 1880s or 1910s.

Little Hummer Bikes (1916: United States)

Bicycles were still relatively expensive in America. In Europe they were more used by adults. World War I was underway in Europe. Inly in America was steel and rubber being used for children's bicycles. Good Housekeeping (November 1916) had an ad for Little Hummer Bikes showing a boy in a sailor suit riding one.

Lux Soap (1917: United States)

A simple uncolored line drawing Lux ad appeared in a 1917 advertisement. It showed a toddler boy in a kind of casual short pants play outfit that had become so popular in the 1910s.

Eagle Brand Conensed Milk (1917: United States)

This advertisement is for Gail Borden Eagle Brand Condensed Milk. It appeared in "The Forecast" for September, 1917 (p. 3a). It shows "An `Eagle Brand' Baby" (a boy of about 3) wearing a white sailor suit with a large colored bow, white long stockings, and ankle strap shoes. The boy is "the picture of health" because his mother gives him Eagle Brand condensed milk: "Mother's Milk is the only perfect food for babies, but when it is not available, Cow's Milk of the right quality offers the best substitute."

Lux Soap (1918: United States)

Soap companies were major advertisers in the 1910s and Lux was one of the principal companies.Lux Soap in 1918 had colored advertisments which were quite expensive at the time. Quite a variety of clothes for younger children were picturde. While idealized, these were children's clothes that were worn in the 1910s. The idea behind the ads were to show what a good job Lux did on wasing day. Thus it would not have made sence to depict clothes that were made up. Thus while iealized, these were depictions of actual styles. The a copy mentions a boys' dress and one boy is pictured in a yellow smock with smocking. The new turnes-down style of sailor hats can also be seen.

Listerine Antiseptic (1918: United States)

This ad for Listerine antiseptic appeared in Good Housekeeping Magazine (September, 1918, p. 92). At the time, Woeld War I was raging in Europe. There seems to be an implied irony in showing the treatment of the little boy's wound at a time when such horrendous life-threatening wounds during the Great War would inevitably be on people's minds. In the illustration a mother is tending to a cut on her son's finger and using Listerine to disinfect the wound. The boy's clothing is of some interest. He wears an interesting white suit with a belt, long black stockings, and slipper- like low-cut shoes. The upper part of the suit is interesting. It has a white collar and matching cuffs, and at the rather wide collar the boy wears a floppy bow tie. I don't know how typical this boy's clothes are (he looks to be about seven years old), but since the illustration is a photograph, it is probably fairly realistic for the period.

Sears Toys (1919: United States)

The Sears catalog for 1919 contained advertisements for push cars and Irish Mails. The ads picture boys in kneepants outfits, mostly sailor suits. We are not sure how popular the hand cars were. We don't notice a lot of family snapshots with them. The name Irish Mail is interesting. There were also ads for tricycles ( velocipedes ).


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Created: April 23, 2004
Last updated: 8:53 PM 3/23/2012