Literary Pursuits

The Workbasket – June 1953

Time for some more scans from my collection of vintage Workbasket magazines, this one from June 1953. (Which I guess I should have posted in June, huh?) Anyway, 60 years ago.

“Here is a hat which will keep you looking cool on the warmest days and is a perfect match for those casual summer dresses.” So, I’m supposed to believe that wearing one of these fetching little numbers will keep me cooler than wearing no hat at all? Oh, wait! It says “…keep you looking cool…” That’s entirely different. I definitely want to look cool in my casual summer dresses. Better whip me up one or three.

This is apparently what they considered “Air-Conditioned Driving” 60 years ago, before real air-conditioning  was a standard option in most cars. “You’ll drive cool as a breeze through the hottest summer months with Cool Rest at your back! And there’ll be no more wet sticky clothing, either!” Bless their hearts!

This “Surprise Package For The Non-expectant” is “real fun”! Can’t you just see the 1953 housewives giggling over the cleverness of the idea?

I’m sorry, but I can’t imagine that a inflatable pool that’s only 42 inches across and 8 inches deep would “hold up to 8 children comfortably” and no, I don’t call that “GIANT” either. (However, they do offer larger sizes at the bottom.) The fine prints says: “A private swimming pool all their own for your kids to splash in. Endless fun with all the different ways they can play–cooling carefree frolic in the water plus the added joy of bouncing on the broad air-cushioned seat.” Yeah, how “endless” do you think the fun would be with 8 kids bouncing on the sides of the thing? But… it does come with a “free maintenance kit” so I guess you can just keep repairing it every time it deflates, huh? For “only $2.98” what did you expect?

Let me see… If I sell 9 tubes of wonderful Genevieve Bedford’s Creme Shampoo… (Wonder who Genevieve Bedford was? A shampoo guru, I guess.) …at 89 cents each, I’d need to send in $8.01 for my aluminum pitcher “ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT COST.” That seems kinda high to me at 1953 prices. But then, that does include all those tubes of shampoo, too. But I’d hafta get out and sell ’em to raise the money. Hmm… not sure I need a Cheerio pitcher that bad.

Speaking of 1953 prices, there’s at least one thing that has amazingly not been hit by inflation over the years– a ball point pen! The “sensational ball point pen” (with “actual photo”) is an “unbelievable value! Not one–not three–but EIGHT Ball Point pens for $1.”
Guess what? I saw a package of not one– not three– not eight–but TEN ball point pens on sale at Wal-Mart just last week for $1! Better hurry over and stock up while they are still available at less than 1953 prices!

This month’s Women Who Make Cents column includes ideas for painting dog portraits on hankies, gluing “any bright colored feathers I have on hand” onto paper for stationery, and painting “different designs” on hand-made aprons. First of all, I don’t think I could paint a dog portrait that anyone would want on their hanky… nor do I just happen to have bright colored feathers on hand. The apron thing? Well, maybe. If I liked to sew. Which I don’t. So this month’s suggestions to “add to the family income” are pretty worthless to me.

I do like looking at the dainty dress patterns from long ago, though.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this bit of nostalgia. Which snippet did you like best?


  • Andi Carter

    I liked the Fly King fly catcher. We have TWO of those things, and they look identical to the one on the ad page. AUGH! Instead of glass jars, they are plastic, but Roger finally dumped them both out. they smell so badly, probably because the thing was filled up so full of black flies, it was so gross!!! But it works!


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