CUfB, as I have explained, is the local low-market market, known as CUB because when you think cute little bears you think good prices. Actually, it’s Consumers United for Bargains, so I call it CUfB, or Cuff-Buh. I visit more than I want to. I don’t like the place and you always feel cheap halfway through, because if they don’t care to stock the shelves why should you think you deserve a store where they actually stock the shelves? So.

This is the most CUfB thing ever.

It’s perfect. The church-basement table in the middle of the empty floor space, the mismatched balloon, the one sole sad package of buns on a Sunday night like the last dog at the pound.

Another grocery store from another era:


I want to shop at a place that looks like this instead of a place with church-basement tables. And so I did. The music trickling overhead was Boomer-oriented, of course; early 70s. One song was "Doctor My Eyes" by Jackson Browne, and I always imagine his optometrist nodding along and then saying "is this all a metaphor? You don't really mean that you think you've seen too much? You're what, 27?"

Yes but tell me was I unwise to be so sensitive and aware

"As far as I can tell your eyes are fine. You should wash your glasses more often. There's oil built up in the hinges."

Then the music switched to a Chicago song, because of course we have to listen to Chicago every day for the rest of our lives. I said to the young clerk:

"I had to listen to this when I was your age. I'm sorry you have to listen to it now."

"Was this popular when you were in high school?" he said, because the specifics of the past probably get fuzzy around 1998.

I nodded. "But we didn't have to listen to music from the 30s and 40s at work."

He nodded. I have no idea if he could even conceive of such a thing. It's possible he could have said "I used to follow a tumblr about 70s supermarkets, because I'm interested in the design of that era. I understand they used Muzak systems, right? Not likely they'd be playing Dorsey, but perhaps they might have used some 'easy-listening' orchestrations of big band tunes."

It's possible. But how likely?





Not much for TV Tuesday; I’m finishing Bosch (which is great) so I haven’t gotten to Fargo yet. But I also got a new release of one of my favorite TV shows from the 90s, Murder One. Supposedly the star, Daniel Benzali, was released because the producer said he had “a broad-based indefinability,” which I think means “no one could tell what the character really was.” I never did. I thought he was great - tough, smart, frighteningly cold at times, now and then a bit of old New Yawk for salt. I heard he was swapped out because he was a colossal pain.



It had a classic Mike Post theme, which was a bit too baroque; it had classic opening credits with some CGI of the sort we’d all come to expect. And it had a very 90s sound, a sort of sword-and-scabbard schwing / finger-along-the-rim-of-a-wet-bowl / bell peal, phased to sound unusual.



  Hear it?

Trademark sounds for eras come and go; we never notice when they fall out of style, only when we hear them again and think of a bygone time.

The staff of the law office were all young and attractive, and I remember this actress:


Grace Phillips No wikipedia page. No credits for 10 years. Seems odd in this day. One of her credits is “Arid Extra Dry Commercial 1991,” and while YouTube OF COURSE has two, can’t see her - but it led me to this, which might be from 1990 but is so very late 80s.



Indulgent cabbies, yuppies, choral arrangements of a product's benefits - hokey even at the time, but I miss it.


Another week of our old friend, the Worst is Yet to Come. What horrors are about to befall ordinary Americans now?

So . . . piecing it together, it seems Dad is running after his hat, leaving Junior to push the START button.

So the Worst that is Yet To Come is identifying his body down at the morgue.





It's 1908. What do they have to sell?

Conducive to good health, as they are sanitarily perfect:

It’s all smooth, so there are no germy crevasses.

From their site today: “For over 140 years, exuding a passion about plumbing and the bigger problems it can solve, the Company has raised the standard by constantly innovating to improve the quality of everyday life.”

Plumbing passion, exuded. They did indeed pioneer the one-piece unit, along with the combination faucet (hot and cold from the same spigot? They laughed at the academy.) It’s American Standard now, because they merged in ’29 with American Radiator. Natural fit. American Radiator, by the way, built one of the finest 20s skyscrapers. Gold and Black. Fire and Coal.

Beats the dreaded Corn Broom:


Bissell is still around, making the same thing. (Like Standard.) As for the name, it’s from Henry Bissell:

Following the Panic of 1873, Bissell began working on a carpet sweeper. In 1876 Bissell patented a sweeper with a central brush, rubber wheels, and other improvements on vacuum technology. A fire in 1884 destroyed his first factory, but he was able to overcome the loss and expand his business.

The pnuemonnie carried him off at the age of 45, but his wife took over and built the business, becoming America’s first female CEO. But her impact went back earlier:

The Bissell Sweeper website recounts that Mrs. Bissell complained to her husband about sawdust that collected in their carpets and was difficult to remove, whereupon he made great improvements to a new invention called the carpet sweeper. When he invented the Bissell carpet sweeper in 1876, Anna Bissell became a salesperson traveling from town to town selling the sweeper for $1.50.

An American heroine! You wonder how she treated the servants.

Speaking of radiators:

It was pressed, not cast. Thinner, lighter - and I assume there was something about the design that constituted a trade-off.

They did not become part of American Radiator. There were so many manufacturers; only a few survived.

Pull that hair out of your head! Suck it right up into the light!

They went to extraordinary lengths to reassure you: if your scalp was white after wearing this thing, it wouldn’t work on you - why, you’re already dead, probably. Send it back. You didn’t pay them; you deposited the money in a bank until the trial period was over.

Somehow I think they still made money.

Head of the Thermostat company: Mr. Sweatt. Perfect.

He didn’t invent it.

In 1892, at the urging of his father-in-law, W.R. Sweatt invested $5,300 in the Consolidated Temperature Control Company, based in Minneapolis. A year later, the board of directors asked him to take over management of the company.

But this wasn’t the Minneapolis Thermostat company. He bought all the stock of Consolidated, then sold the company and started managing the Electric Heat Regulator company. His company developed patents, as did another company, and they stood in each other’s way - so they merged, and formed Minneapolis-Honeywell Heat Regulator.

You know what came out of that.

BTW, as for those testimonials: there was a Frank Faust living in Berwick PA.

Derby ribbed?

For that we hace to go back to 18th Century England:

Jedediah Strutt (1726 – 7 May 1797) or Jedidiah Strutt – as he spelled it[1] – was a hosier and cotton spinner from Belper, England.
Strutt and his brother-in-law William Woollat developed an attachment to the stocking frame that allowed the production of ribbed stockings. Their machine became known as the Derby Rib machine, and the stockings it produced quickly became popular.

So named for the town where he operated. So it should be pronounced Darby Rib, then?

So, Coop:

Coopers Inc., and was founded by Samuel T. Cooper in St. Joseph, Michigan[6] in 1876 as a hosiery business. Cooper began the business when he learned that lumberjacks were suffering from poorly constructed wool socks.

He may have waited a day.

Eventually, innovation:

On January 19, 1935, Coopers Inc. sold the world's first briefs at the Marshall Field's State Street store in downtown Chicago. Designed by an apparel engineer named Arthur Kneibler, briefs dispensed with leg sections and had a Y-shaped overlapping fly.[7] The company dubbed the design the maccky, since it offered a degree of support that had previously only been available from the jockstrap.

Jockstrap? Maccky? Could it be . . . that’s where the company’s current name comes from?

Here’s a picture of the inventor of the Y-front brief, by the way. Thanks, Art!

“Eat all you wish, children. It is as wholesome as bread and butter.”

It’s the milk, you see. Samuel Peters invented Milk Chocolate. How? Well, it’s quite simple:

In the process of searching for a better use of his candle factory, Peter fell under the spell of a chocolatier’s daughter in his hometown of Vevey, Switzerland, and soon after, the Peter’s Chocolate brand was born. 

Yes, that all follows logically. This gets interesting, though:

In 1867 Peter first attempted to blend milk into chocolate, but it wasn’t until several years later that he perfected the process of dehydrating the milk to prevent spoilage. This breakthrough was achieved with the help of Daniel Peter’s neighbor, Henri Nestlé.

Huh. Wonder whatever happened to him. Peters is still around - in the private hands of Minneapolis agrileviathan, Cargill.

Mein Gott! My head is real but my body is drawn!

About Al:

He was a pupil of Louis Köhler and Franz Liszt. As one of the most important piano teachers and players of his time,

The Kohler sonata is something every student has to master. Wikipedia also notes:

He became a strong alcoholic and drank heavy lots of champagne during his tours. He died at Libau in 1907 during a concert tour.

He was 44.

No acoustical recordings survive, but there are some player piano rolls, and they were capable of recording dynamic inflections. So:

This is really quite astonishing, when you think about it. This is a computer playing the code of a Welte-Mignon, but at the time an actual piano would play this, reading the program as it scrolled between two wheels.

The Welte factory was bombed to rubble in World War Two, but they didn’t know that when this ad ran.

They hadn’t even started the First one yet.

That'll do! If it hasn't. there's more Capp Homes Stories to read. See you around.


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