Bloomfield Industries, est. 1933

Museum Artifacts: Cast Iron Fry Cutter (1930s) & Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop, (1960s)

Made By: Bloomfield MFG Co. / Bloomfield Industries, 3333 S. Wells St. and 4546 W. 47th St.

Some men have lived and learned through living
Some men have learned by seein’ true
You cannot judge from what they’re sayin’
It’s real clear from what they do
—lyrics by Michael Bloomfield from the song “Good Old Guy,”

Ampro Corporation, est. 1914

Museum Artifact: AMPRO Precision Projector, KS model, c. 1936

Made By: The Ampro Corporation., 2839-51 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL

“Everything that projection engineers could wish to achieve . . . everything that you movie-makers have felt should go into the ideal 16mm mechanism . . . everything you could possibly wish for, is combined in the AMPRO Precision Projector.” —advertisement in Movie Makers magazine,

Allied MFG Co., est. 1934

Museum Artifact: Komic Kamera Film Strip Viewer, 1934

Made By: Allied MFG Co., 1338 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL

Once upon a time, during a fleeting moment of optimism smack dab in the solar plexus of the Great Depression, an 18 year-old kid named Harold B. Shapiro applied for a patent on a device he called a “film exhibitor”—a small bakelite box intended for the “direct viewing of scenic or other picture films .

American Flyer MFG Co., est. 1907

Museum Artifact: Cast Iron Locomotive No. 3195, c. 1930

Made by: American Flyer MFG Co., 2229 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL

There’s something inherently sad about a solitary steam engine—even a toy one. With no tender, it has no imaginary fuel, and with no boxcars, it serves no imaginary purpose. Our particular locomotive doesn’t even have a lonesome whistle to blow. Still, if we’re talking about the American Flyer Manufacturing Company at the dawning of the Great Depression,

Kling Bros. & Co., est. 1897

Museum Artifact: Tailor’s Measuring Tape, c. 1930s

Made By: Kling Bros. & Co. Inc., 2300 W. Wabansia Ave, Chicago, IL

“Garments that combine character and charm with lines that are clean cut, comfortable, and correct. . . . Are you one of the ten thousand dealers who know the immeasurable satisfaction to be found in KLING-MADE clothing specialties?”—1920 ad for Kling Bros.

Bambino Products Co., est. 1933

Museum Artifact: Bambino World’s Fair Baseball Board Game, 1933

Made By: The Bambino Products Co., 103-105 S. Jefferson St., Chicago, IL

George Herman “Babe” Ruth—the Great Bambino—was arguably the most famous person in the United States in 1933. Even in the twilight of his baseball career, at age 38, he was literally and figuratively a larger-than-life character; a celebrity as much as a sportsman.

Princess Pat, Ltd., est. 1907

Museum Artifact: Princess Pat Duo-Tone Rouge, c. 1931

Made By: Princess Pat, Ltd., 2709 South Wells Street, Chicago, IL

“She is exquisite, this woman of today. She is frank—too vivid and intense for pretense. She revels in luxury . . . Color, line, softness, she perceives and strives for. She does not fear her mirror.” —excerpt from Princess Pat sales booklet,

T. C. Gleason MFG Co., est. 1905

Museum Artifact: Knights of Columbus Ceremonial Sword, c. 1930s

Made By: T. C. Gleason MFG Co., 325 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL

A Knights of Columbus sword, as you might presume, is made for symbolic, decorative use—not for combat. That being said, the sword in our collection, likely dating from the 1930s, is just sharp enough—and rusty enough—to at least pose a minor threat of tetanus.

Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co., est. 1905

Museum Artifacts: (1) “U.S. Automatic” Pencil Sharpener, 1908; (1) “Giant,” (1) ‘Gem,” (2) “Chicago” (1920s), and (4) “Dexter” sharpeners, 1930s

Made By: Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co. / Spengler-Loomis MFG Co., 58 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL . Factory: 2415 Kishwaukee Street, Rockford, IL.

For many of us, the sight of an old desk-mounted, mechanical pencil sharpener brings back some sensory-charged childhood memories—the thrilling turn of the crank,

Bersted Manufacturing Co., est. 1924

Museum Artifact: Bersted Electric Toaster No. 74, c. 1932

Made By: Bersted MFG Co., 5201 W. 65th St., Chicago, IL

The toaster of the future! The toaster for all times! The apex of toasterdom!

Looking like a miniaturized attraction from the “Century of Progress” World’s Fair, this majestic creation by Chicago’s Bersted MFG Company was actually a bargain basement brand for its day;

Chas. A. Brewer & Sons, est. 1911

Museum Artifact: Peppy Thrill Punch Board Game, 1939

Made By: Chas. A. Brewer & Sons, 6320 S. Harvard Avenue, Chicago, IL

“One out of every three adults plays a punchboard or slot machine. More people do this than play church lotteries, the horses, and numbers games—all three combined.” —Samuel Lubell, Saturday Evening Post, 1939

Produced the very same year as the article quoted above,

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,