Saturday, September 22, 2018

Make Way for Fall

Last Spring I went to a private estate sale, private in the sense it was run by the family and not a professional estate sale company.  The house was pretty run down and I wasn't finding anything of interest until I came across a huge, flat cardboard box full of papers.  Looking through them, I found catalogs of old newspaper advertising templates.  These would have been used by companies looking to advertise in the newspaper and would have provided text and graphics which could be clipped  and customized to fit their company, the origin of the term "clip art".  As evidenced by many of my blog posts, I'm a fan of vintage advertising, so this was right up my alley.  The owner originally wanted $20 for the box, but I talked them down to $10. 

The catalogs were produced by Metro Associated Services (some of the original "Mad Men" of Madison Avenue) and spanned all seasons and three decades: the 1960's to the 80's. The company is still in business.

The catalogs measure 18" x 24", so it made scanning a bit unwieldy, but I did my best.  The stitching software I have also had issues putting some pages together due to repeating patterns, so I couldn't digitally reassemble all pages.  I'll be posting samples by season throughout the coming year. Today's ads date from 1964 and '65 and feature lots of mid century fonts and images.  Enjoy!

Below are some of the full pages I was able to stitch together.

As you can see, some of the ads have already been clipped out.

Modern advertising artists often try to recreate the style displayed in these catalogs, but to me they fall short, typically creating what looks like a parody of the original rather than recreating it.  

Because these ads were printed in newspapers, its unlikely much of it survived, except perhaps on microfiche.  By scanning and sharing these catalogs, I'm hoping to preserve this lost art and offer a glimpse into our advertising past.  Feel free to clip and share!


  1. These must be designed by men - no self respecting woman would do yard work in a skirt.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Mr. Karswell. More to come this month.


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