One of the things that Aunt Pam had me do when I visited and learned the blog this summer, was to start to go through her vintage decorating magazines. This cleanings pick: Advertisements from five 1940s home decorating magazine. This job was actually very entertaining (most of the jobs get gives me are), many of the advertisements were very comical. Don’t get me wrong, there were tons of great images in these issues — I only picked out a the color ones to share. With the rise in the economy and surplus of money after WWII, people were very eager to update their houses. Lots of new companies focused on interior decorating & DIY ideas for mid century homes began to form and market their wares.
These Frigidaire electric range ads promote the new happy demeanor of households after the war. This one shows a wife impressing her mother-in-law with her cooking skills. She demonstrates how easily it can bake biscuits and the MIL claps her hands in approval.
This image shows a woman gossiping with her friend how her new Frigidaire electric range really provided for a happy husband — and everyone knows a happy husband is a happy marriage. I don’t know how well that motto would go over today.
Hotpoint was another popular company that made and marketed electric ranges. It is not too often today that you see advertising of new products featuring the older generation. Look at this wife tell her husband how she has waited her whole life to be able to cook like she is able to now. (Pam adds: Remember, before the war many many folks did not have electricity in their home. They were heating and cooking with wood, oil, or coal. But asks: Does anyone understand the pre-war cooking fuels for sure?)
While all the men were off fighting in the war, the women had to go out into the working world. Appearance and glamour grew to a height it had never been to before. Every product that could be made was being made. Here are some women’s beauty products from General Electric. On the bottom they say “June in January” with your new GE Sunlamp.
This ad is for a gas range and water heater, but I’m more interested in these yellow kitchen cabinets. It looks like some type of bead-board was used… I like it. Notice the glass blocks above the sink and the tall standing clock built into the stove. The blue counter tops and dark hardware really bring a boldness this kitchen.
Flooring was coming into a whole new era as well. Everyone wanted to redo some part of their home. Back in the day, you see a lot of focus on doing one project at a time… Until about 1953, folks were still very very conservative about spending their hard-earned cash. These ads from Armstrong Linoleum show many options you had when it came to redoing a room. They say, “ linoleum every floor of the house” and you really could would all the designs and texture they have to choose from.
The second Armstrong Linoleum advertisement shows a room never considered in a home before- the kitchen/office. “A woman’s work is never done? That’s what I used to think!” There is a whole glass block wall behind the desk area. The polka dot upholstery on those vanity chairs is a nice touch. I love, love, love this red & white kitchen shown in this Pabco Linoleum Flooring ad. Check out the red trim on the floor going around with the cabinets and the circular island/bar. Totally the kitchen of my dreams.
Painting, whether interior or exterior, was now a much easier task then decades before. With new products and tools one could completely change the look of a room, heck a whole house, in a weekend. The Pittsburgh Paints ad shows how they pulled inspiration from colorful organisms in nature to design the rooms at the bottom. I personally like the blue jay dining room. This Dutch Boy White Lead exterior paint shows just how easily it was to wipe away the years worth of mother nature your home, along with the country, had endured.
After going through all the designated magazines, I had a little collection of Cannon Towel ads — babies are always popular. Hey, if it’s soft enough for them, it’s soft enough for me right? Even during the war, you saw a focus on little touches like towels, as a way to add prettiness to rooms.
Families who couldn’t afford automobile transportation because of the Great Depression were now able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, with extra left over. Long, road trip like vacations were becoming more and more accessible, if not necessary to escape from the new industrial lifestyle. Towels made specifically for the beach or pool came on the market. Nowadays beach tiles have their own aisle at the store.
Last but not least is this ad for Old Dutch Cleanser where a woman’s friend asks her if she bought a brand new tub. She answers, “No, I’ve just cleaned it with the new Old Dutch.” Frugality — “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Do without” — still reined in the psyche of the Depression and WWII generation.
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