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,

George W. Borg Corp., est. 1927

Museum Artifact: Oldsmobile F36 Glove Box Clock 6V, 1936

Made By: Geo. W. Borg Corporation, 469 E. Ohio Street, Chicago, IL

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

Electric Clock Corp. of America, est. 1930

Museum Artifact: Lincoln Electric Clock, c. 1932

Made By: Electric Clock Corp. of America, 500 S. Throop St., Chicago, IL

What’s in a name? I suppose a 20th century Shakespeare might have said that an electric clock, under any brand name, would still tell the same time. To Henry T. Schiff, however, the name was the thing.

In the mid 1930s,

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.

VAL-A Company, est. 1932

Museum Artifact: VAL-A Egg Scale, c. 1930s

Made By: VAL-A Company, 700 W. Root St., Chicago, IL

Weighing a hundred eggs one-by-one on a galvanized metal doohickey might seem crazily inefficient, if not entirely unnecessary. But for any humble farmer / chicken coop owner of the early to mid 20th century, egg scales like this one were must-have tools of the trade. Today, they can pass for intriguing modern art pieces.

Arrco Playing Card Co., est. 1927

Museum Artifact: Century of Progress Playing Cards, 1933

Made By: Arrco / Arrow Playing Card Co., 734-54 Mather Street (W Lexington St.), Chicago, IL

A promotional tie-in with Chicago’s “Century of Progress” World’s Fair in 1933-34 also marked a major point of progress for the city’s Arrow Playing Card Co., as it introduced its new identity as ARRCO—a name that would soon be familiar to amateur magicians,

American Reflector & Lighting Co., est. 1885

Museum Artifact: Art-O-Lite Reflector Art Lamp, c. 1930s

Made By: American Reflector & Lighting Company, 100 South Jefferson St., Chicago, IL

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

Denoyer-Geppert Company, est. 1916

Museum Artifact: Denoyer-Geppert Cartocraft Globe, 1938

Made By: Denoyer-Geppert Company, 5235 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

“You now have one of the best globes made,” L.P. Denoyer wrote in the preface to his 1931 guide book, A Teacher’s Manual for Cartocraft Globes, “but we are not satisfied with simply having made the sale, for we want you to get the greatest possible value from your purchase.”


Morrison-Atlas Products, Inc., est. 1932

Museum Artifact: Atlas Shoe Polish – Tan, c. 1930s

Made By: Morrison-Atlas Products, Inc., 10160 Franklin Ave., Franklin Park, IL

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

United Razor Blade Corp., est. 1930

Museum Artifact: Box of Blue Steel United Blades, c. 1937

Made By: United Razor Blade Corporation / United Blade Co., 222 W. Adams Street, Chicago, IL

Like the warm analog tone of a vinyl record, sometimes a bit of obsolete technology comes back around again and proves its worth to the modern age. The good old double-edge safety razor blade might be another such example,

Crane Company, est. 1855

Museum Artifact: Crane Co. 75th Anniversary Coin ft. R. T. Crane, 1930

Made By: Crane Company, 4100 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL

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

Eugene Dietzgen Co., est. 1885

Museum Artifact: No. 2745 Handy Pen-Filling Ink Stand, c. 1930

Made By: Eugene Dietzgen Co., 990 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL

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