Literary Pursuits

The Workbasket – February 1951


Check it out! Color printing! But The Workbasket is still only 15 cents! What a deal!

“Ideas for the Bazaar, the Home, Gifts, Sparetime Money Makers, with Many Articles, Easily Made and Inexpensive, that find a Ready Sale.”

Is that the subtitle?? No, I guess not. There is actually a shorter subtitle at the top. Then why in the world did they start so many of the words with capital letters? Weird.

Now here is an “exciting” product:
workbasket1Did you know that there were hair beauty scientists? Personally, I had no idea. Think of that! And I can order a “big 4-oz. jar”! Since when is 4 ounces of anything considered big? Isn’t that the size bottle that airlines allow you these days? Okay. Moving on.

Here you can get a 67-piece set of “fine Gothamware” for only $6.95. Don’t know what Gothamware is? Neither did I.workbasket2Oh, wait! There it is, in fine print. “One of the finest plastics known. Will stay bright and cheerful indefinitely.” All righty, then.

And in case you wondered what the “Famous Holly Fiesta Colors” were, they are also listed in fine print: toast yellow, clover green, ocean blue and flame red. So now you know.

Next is a couple of the funny little tiny ads. Who knew you could get your very own ukulele just for selling 50 packs of garden seeds at 10c each?

Or if you’d rather have cash, you can sell greeting cards — a 21-card assortment for $1. Don’t you imagine that all the neighborhood housewives got tired of buying seeds and greeting cards from each other all the time?
workbasket3I was intrigued when this pattern first caught my eye. I had seen a similar hot pad years ago, but it was made from the plastic rings that hold 6-packs of pop together. You cut them apart and then crochet around them . But I was pretty sure they wouldn’t have had the plastic 6-pack rings back in 1951. Of course they didn’t! This pattern calls for rubber jar rings. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh. Because canning jars don’t use separate rubber rings anymore… and haven’t, as far back as I can remember. I guess if I get inspired to make this pattern I’ll have to substitute plastic for rubber. Eh. Why bother? I think I’ll skip this pattern.
workbasket4Now here is a big money saving offer from Grandma Goodwin. She says, “You must be thrilled, or I cheerfully refund your money.” She doesn’t look very thrilled or cheerful, either one, to my notion!workbasket5Imagine how special you would feel if your sweetheart declared his eternal love with this gorgeous engagement and wedding ring set! “Imagine–12 sparkling Pseudo Diamonds, imported from Europe… natural gold color. Your price for both–4.89.” Oh! I am imagining… and shuddering. I believe I’ll do without. Thank you, anyway.
workbasket6If you need to beautify the ugly skin on your face and neck, “here may be the most wonderful news you have ever read.” What I want to know is, who wrote these silly ads?
workbasket7What about a mail-order tombstone? Dontcha need one of those?
workbasket8Notice that Howard McNally died in 1942 at age 56, but Martha is presumably still with us. Let’s see… she’d be 122. No, wait. This is 1951. Okay. So she’s only 65.

Get ready to Sew for the New Season with these pretty patterns:


  • Jon A. Delamarter

    You are such a nut! When I was a kid, my grandpa used to have boxes and boxes of old car magazines from the fourties and fifties. I’d pour over them by the hour. Like you, I found the ads highly entertaining. For good or ill, I’m afraid the modern consumer is a bit more sophisticated these days – I think.

  • Patty

    You are so right — Grandma Goodwin does not look at all cheerful. My dad’s aunt once made us an Xmas decoration with those plastic soda can rings. We’d hang it on a door knob every year. I had forgotten all about it until I read your post. Thanks for sharing another Workbasket, Karla!

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