Tuesday, June 2, 2015

page 30 -- celluloid collar and cuff, Malt Bitters Company

updated 30 June 2018
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Highly recommended for the curious is Jane E. Boyd's excellent article, "Celluloid, the Eternal Substitute" in Chemical Heritage Magazine. Not only does Boyd discuss the characteristics of the process, the author also examines the social implications of its use.

"NO MORE WASHEE WASHEE, MELICAN MAN WEAR CELLULOID COLLAR AND CUFF"
(published by Doerner & Gunther. Lith. 62 Duane St. N.Y., 1870)
Prejudice against Chinese immigrants was rampant in post Civil War America. The quote from the card above conveys the desire of some Americans to send those of Chinese ancestry back to China. This seems to be a repetitive theme in world history. Americans even established a country--Liberia--to receive African-Americans sent back from America. In the 21st century America is trying to send the Mexicans, Bolivians, etc. back to their home countries while supporting Israel as a homeland for Jews. Folks who know about these matters have a name for this--the politics of exclusion.

Here's a quote from Google Books:




From About.com, "A Visual History of Chinese Laundries in Social Culture" by laundry expert  Mary Marlowe Leverette,  illustrates just how widely the anti-Chinese sentiment of this period of American history has been recognized by 21st century Americans. Here's what Leverette has to say about the above card:
While this card advertises the patented waterproof celluloid collars and cuffs available in gents' furnishing and fancy good houses across the country; it also reflects the discriminatory movement to send Chinese immigrants back to China that was prevalent in the 1880s in America. The term "Melican Man" is a racial joke of how the immigrants pronounced "American Man".
In 1882 the US Congress passed and President Arthur signed into law the shameful  "Chinese Exclusion Act"  which was designed to exclude ethnic Chinese from entering the country.

Discrimination against those of actual or perceived Chinese ancestry continues into the 21st century, as demonstrated by this YouTube interview:


publisher: Forbes Co., Boston
The reverse of this card from East Carolina University:


Ad from the Carroll Herald, 15 Sept. 1880:




A search for the Malt Bitters Company on Google Images provides a sampling of cards and bottles the company used for advertising:



Other advertising utilized the power of the written word. According to this excerpt from Google Books,









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