Vintage books, adverts, recipes and historical mysteries Blog

The Abnormality of Youth, 1926

I read something once that said that “the good old days” have always been regarded as being around 50 years ago. That’s 50 years ago from the vantage point of whatever the current year...

Advice to Would-Be Writers, 1923

Some advice for would-be writers from 82 years ago that still holds true, for the most part. It’s careful not to be particularly encouraging, which is needed even more now, what with writers often...

Mark Twain’s Latest Invention, 1889

Mark Twain was the greatest ever American writer, as far as I’m concerned. Not only a genius-level author, he was a thinker, and a very funny man to boot. His mind was as independent of...

Bovril, 1926

Like some kind of beef-based electricity, Bovril puts BEEF into you. If anyone can tell me what “The Body-building power of Bovril has been proved by independent scientific investigation to be 10 to 20...

Halloween, 1856

I loved it a few years ago when the Google Van came round at Halloween and, for a while, the picture of our house on Google Earth showed a grinning pumpkin in the window....

Mischief Night, 1917

Mischief Night – like trick or treating, except with just the tricks. What’s not to like, if you’re a cheeky 13-year-old? In Liverpool it mainly seems to involve eggs being thrown, especially at taxis...

Cigarettes for Sore Throats, 1922

Craven A cork-tipped Virginia cigarettes – not only does their cork tip prevent “wet end”, but “you’ll not know what real cigarette enjoyment is” without them. “You should smoke them because they’re made specially...

The Beautiful Mrs Maybrick, 1889

Well, this is interesting. I’m a sucker for a historical mystery, and the Jack the Ripper case is an enduring and gruesome loose end from a fascinating period in history. The news here that...

How Ugly Can You Make Yourself, 1936

Are there still gurning competitions? I don’t recall seeing a toothless man pull his lower jaw over his nose recently. Here, straight from 1936, is a veteran gurner in action, offering advice on how...