Web Page No 2152
26th April 2015
Top Picture: National Benzole Sign
Lower Picture: Coalite Poster
Bottom Picture: Lissett Nylons
Things from the 1950’s that are not around Today.
Recently I was given a Programme from the Festival of Britain, held on the South Bank of the Thames is 1951. Whereas the articles are interesting, I found the advertisements of great nostalgic value. So with the programme on my desk I will take a look at some of the products we no longer see today.
To start with cigarettes: now who remembers State Express 555 (what did the 555 stand for I never did find out? This was a brand that was made by Ardath. Then there was Players Medium and Senior Service plus Craven A, but what did these four brands all have in common? They all sold a range of their cigarettes in round tins of 25’s. Whilst talking about numbers when as lads we decided to try smoking we could buy Weights, Woodbines, Players and Senior Service in little packs of five cigarettes, if you can find a shop keeper to sell them to you. To light there cigarettes the adults needed a Ronson petrol lighter, I suppose you can still buy them somewhere but with the introduction of butane lighters and the disposable lighter the traditional Ronson lighter has disappeared from the counters. Actually the other lighter that became well known in the 1960’s was the Zippo lighter, both were American Products and both were owned by the Zippo Lighter Company. Now there is something that has almost become extinct and that is the Tobacconist shop, these shops such as Finlay’s and Dunhill which specialised in different types of tobacco, cigarettes, pipes and other smoking accessories and for some reason also walking sticks.
Back to the advertisements.
Do you remember the Adonis with the winged hat that was the trade mark of National Benzole petrol?
Now looking at the home environment; in your open fire or all night burner the smart thing to burn was Coalite. This was a brand of low-temperature coke which was used as a smokeless fuel. The title refers to the residue left behind when coal is carbonised at 640 degrees Celsius. It was invented by Thomas Parker in 1904. In 1936 the Smoke Abatement Society awarded its inventor a posthumous gold medal. Coalite was darker and more friable weighed less than coal, making it an ideal fuel for open domestic fire grates. Drawbacks were its tendencies to produce an excessive amount of ash causing our parents with the problem of ash disposal; but it was quick to burn and give off a lot of sulphurous fumes.
Moving on we all used Cussons Imperial Leather soap, Mum had Prestige cooking utensils and knives in the kitchen, while Dad had his His Masters Voice radio, record player and records and at bedtime we drank Ovaltine and Horlicks, Bovril and Nesquik.
Cars such as Riley, Lanchester, Wolsely, Humber and Triumph have all disappeared as have the British motorcycles Francis Barnet, Aerial, Sun, Norton, Matchless and AJS.
To keep us amused and "out of our parents' hair" many of us were given a variety of board games and maybe a complete games compendium which usually consisted of snakes and ladders, Ludo , tiddlywinks, draughts, Old Maid, Donkey and a pack of cards. Another one of the standard items that every child seemed to have in their toy box was a paint box with little brushes and tiny "blobs" of different-coloured paints each the size of a postage stamp, in separate compartments. Do you remember the brushes in a jam jar of foul-looking liquid that was often knocked over onto the floor ??
Does anyone remembers a game called "Escalado" (fixed to the dining table you turned a handle to make a sheet of cheap linen "wobble" in order to try and get tin horses to race down the sheet of "linen"?? Another activity which damaged the dining table was "ping-pong,” those metal screw brackets that fastened the net on either side of the table certainly left some very nasty marks and scratches on the surface of the best dining room table.
Another favourite was a Magic Set: a whole box of magic tricks that were so tricky that none of them worked. I remember very clearly a plastic carnation that was pinned to my jumper, and a tube which ran down inside my shirt sleeve to a little "squeezy" bag of water in my pocket.
More standard toys for boys were Dinky Toys, tin soldiers (the new plastic ones were never so good, but at least their heads didn't break off), marbles, conkers and "jacks." The Girls always seemed to be skipping or drawing lines on the footpath and playing hopscotch (I never really got the hang of that game).
But children grow up and as I reached age 13/14, my toys and stamp collection were giving way, by the end of the 1950s anew hobby MUSIC. But that is another story
News and Views:
On this day 26th April 1960-1965
On 26/04/1960 the number one single was My Old Man's a Dustman - Lonnie Donegan and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Wagon Train (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
26/04/1961 the number one single was Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
The On 26/04/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - The Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/04/1963 the number one single was How Do You Do It? - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/04/1964 the number one single was A World Without Love - Peter & Gordon and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/04/1965 the number one single was Ticket to Ride - The Beatles and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.