Addressograph Company, est. 1892

Museum Artifact: Addressograph Print Ribbon Tins, 1920s

Made by: The Addressograph Company, 915 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL

While the terrific 1920s ornamentation suggests something rare and precious, these small ribbon tins were more like the printer ink cartridges of their day; stacked in office storage rooms to keep a business’s addressograph machine up and running. What’s an addressograph, you ask? Why,

Wander Company (US), est. 1917

Museum Artifact: Ovaltine “Food Beverage” Tin, 1921

Made By: The Wander Company, 37 S. Wabash Ave. (HQ), Factory at 1 Ovaltine Court, Villa Park

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

The Cracker Jack Co., est. 1871

Museum Artifact: Cracker Jack Cocoanut Corn Crisp Tin, c. 1930

Made By: The Cracker Jack Company, 4800 W. 66th Street, Chicago, IL

“You can eat as much as you like!” That’s how the Cracker Jack Company marketed its new Cocoanut Corn Crisp to America in 1928, assuring all snackers that these “luscious lumps of goodness” were “healthful, pure, and wholesome.” Not being a doctor or nutritionist,

Bunte Brothers, est. 1876

Museum Artifacts: Bunte “Fine Confections, “Diana,” “Stuft” and “World Famous Candies” Tins by Bunte Brothers, 1910s-1930s

Made By: Bunte Brothers Candy, 3301 W. Franklin Blvd., Chicago, IL

Which industry best exemplified the spirit of Chicago at its manufacturing zenith? The steel mills? The Union Stock Yards? The railroads? Architecture?

Nope. It was definitely candy—sweet, delectable, teeth-rotting candy.

For the thousands of Chicago factory workers employed in the confectionery trade,

D.B. Fisk & Co., est. 1853

Museum Artifact: Woman’s Hat, aka Fiskhat, c. 1920s

Made By: D.B. Fisk & Co., 225 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL

The slow death of the millinery trade in America is usually attributed to a simple change in fashion trends—something about the 1960s cultural revolution vs. the puritan formalism of the hat. In truth, though, women’s headwear didn’t just fall out of favor in the late 20th century;

Swanberg MFG Co., est. 1922

Museum Artifact: Swanberg Mechanical Pencil, c. 1923

Made By: Swanberg MFG Co., 1516 W. Foster Ave., Chicago, IL

Once seemingly destined to take its place as mankind’s preferred writing stick, the mechanical pencil only ended up writing itself into a corner. No refinement, no reimagining from one generation to the next, could ever quite transition these utensils from the drafting room to the classroom;

Grossman MFG Co., est. 1914

Museum Artifact: Universal Polish Mop, 1920s

Made By: Grossman MFG Co. / Western Steel & Chemical Co., Inc., 4000 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, IL

No it’s not a Polish mop as “in the style of Poland,” but ’tis instead a polish mop, as in to clean and polish one’s floors. Pre-treated cedar oil mops were routinely sold in tins like this one during the early 20th century,

F.B. Redington Co., est. 1897

Museum Artifacts: A pair of Redington Counting Machines, c. 1920s and 1930s

Made By: F.B. Redington Co., 112 S. Sangamon St., Chicago, IL

“Lazy Workmen Weeded Out,” read the tagline of a 1919 advertisement for the Redington Counting Machine—a device that’s still used in factories (in a digital format) nearly 100 years later.

“Find out the lazy workman operating your machines by checking your production.

Armstrong Brothers Tool Company, est. 1890

Museum Artifact: 8″ Steel Pipe Monkey Wrench, c. 1920s

Made By: Armstrong Bros. Tool Co., 317-357 N. Francisco Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Thos. E. Wilson & Co. / Wilson Sporting Goods, est. 1913

Museum Artifact: Wilson Success Mid-Iron Golf Club, c. 1920s

Made By: Thos. E. Wilson & Co. / Wilson Sporting Goods, 2037 N. Campbell Ave., Chicago, IL

Today, a typical set of Wilson golf clubs includes “woods” made of titanium and “irons” machined from flexible steel alloys. But once upon a time, these crooked fairway sticks were exactly what they purported to be—utilizing hickory for the shafts,

TinkerToy, est. 1914

Museum Artifact: TinkerToy Wonder Builder Set, 1929

Made By: The Toy Tinkers, Inc., 2012 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Tonk Brothers Company, est. 1892

Museum Artifact: Tonk Sterling Cornet, c. 1920s

Made By: Tonk Brothers Company, 323 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Felt & Tarrant MFG Co. / Comptometer, est. 1887

Museum Artifact: Comptometer Calculating Machine, Model H, 1920s

Made by: Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company, 1733 N. Paulina St., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Woodstock Typewriter Co., est. 1907

Museum Artifact: Woodstock Standard Typewriter, Model No. 5, 1922

Made By: Woodstock Typewriter Company, 300 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL (Offices at 35 N Dearborn St, Chicago)

Woodstock is a sleepy, romantic little town of 25,000, accessible by the Union Pacific Northwest Metra rail line from downtown Chicago—about an hour and a half journey. If you go there, you might recognize it as the stand-in for Punxsutawney in the movie Groundhog Day.

Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., est. 1855

Museum Artifact: OVB No. 2 Kerosene Lantern, c. 1920s

Made By: Hibbard Spencer Bartlett & Co., 211 E. North Water Street

“Hardware seems to those who sell it to be more human than any other kind of business.” That’s how journalist Fred C. Kelly sized up the stock and trade of Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett in 1930, on the occasion of the wholesale company’s 75th anniversary.