Thursday, May 7, 2015

page 69 -- Celluloid collars cuffs and shirt bosoms, Sapolio, Niagara Starch Works

updated 17 March 2017
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a winning hand
I'm surprised there is no brand name on that bottle!



Reproduced from the Digital Commonwealth, here's the back of this card:


As per Google Books, Montgomery Ward offerred celluloid products in its 1895 catalog:


The Celluloid Company, based in NY and NJ, held a number of patents associated with the design and manufacture of these products. The Wikipedia article on Celluloid is a good introduction to the process and its limitations.



Not that you asked, here's what "the poets" thought of Sapolio as published in Press, Volume XLVII, Issue 7474, 13 February 1890, Page 2 as presented by the National Library of New Zealand:


Page 109 of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection presents an extensive discussion on Sapolio without any poetic pretensions.


See page 8 of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection 1885 for additional Wesp, Lautz Bros. & Co. cards.



Thanks to a recent acquisition it is possible to show you both sides of the following Niagara Starch card:



Union Square in Somerville MA has long been a center of commerce. The Hill building  is somewhat obscured by recent modifications. I'd say there's a pretty good chance, however, that the G.H. Hill & Co. grocery was an occupant of this or a nearby building at one time . Here's a glimpse of Union Square from Google Street View in 2013:


From a 1908 postcard (below), it appears that the top two stories were lopped off of the original Hill building, on your right above. The renovations, however necessary, did not improve the appearance of the structure. If the building were to be rebuilt with modern materials following the original exterior design, it might be a magnet structure for the area. (Dream on, you say? It's just another way of looking at urban renewal.)


Here's a couple of postcard views published in the 1950s, including the one from which the view above was enlarged.





From the PDF of a Somerville guided tour:

"Union Square Revisited: From Sand Pit to Melting Pot
Led by Edward W. Gordon,


According to Mr. Gordon, "The Hill Building was named after Ira Hill who was a major real estate developer in mid 19th century Somerville (He owned the Hill Bldg.)  --the Hills were among the first families to build houses atop Prospect Hill around 1850. --he lived in the Greek Revival house (later Colonial Revivalized) at the northeast corner of Walnut and Boston Streets."


Planning for the future of Union Square
December 2014


Google Books reveals the following information about Wesp, Lautz Bros. & Co. from the Buffalo Directory:







Evidently, starch production could be exciting! The factory exploded on 14 July 1898. No trace remains, but we're still discovering beautiful Niagara Starch cards, such as this one added to the Arnold Collection in October 2016:




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