Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Noisy New Year!

When I was little, my parents always went out for New Year's Eve.  My brother would stay home and watch my sister and I (except for the year he told us not to kill ourselves and then left).  I usually made it until midnight, beating pots and pans together, but I was never still up when my parents got home.  Getting up the next morning, my sister and I always played with their hats and party noisemakers they would bring home with them.

A few years ago, I found some vintage metal noisemakers at a garage sale.  I love the graphics on these.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed inside that these had been made from recycled tin containers.  Most noticeably, one was an old Johnson & Johnson gauze bandage box:

This one had me baffled as it wasn't in English and had no noticeable graphics.  You really can't see much from this picture:

However, using a flashlight and looking further inside, I found the words "Peter Möller" and a picture of a girl thrusting a sword through a fish.  Googling Peter Möller, I found it was as cod liver oil company out of Norway.  The logo has changed slightly over the years.  No longer does the girl impale the fish, but rather now a ray of sun shines from a spoon in her hand:

As to why these were reused in the making of the noisemakers, I have a theory.  I would guess these were made in Japan and exported to the U.S. in the late 40's and early 50's. Being as devastated as Japan was following the war, they certainly would have needed bandages.  And according to a history of Moller's at their website, "After the war, medicinal cod liver oil retains its high status as an important dietary supplement in the “rebuilding" of the country. Cod liver oil becomes an 'emergency product in ravaged areas where the supply situation is difficult.'"

Medicines and bandages to heal the body converted to noisemakers to heal the economy.  That's a lot of history wrapped up in a simple noisemaker.

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