B. Heller & Co., est. 1894

Museum Artifact: $1000 Guaranteed Moth Killer, c. 1920s

Made By: B. Heller & Co. / Chicago Insecticide Laboratory, S. Calumet Ave. and E. 40th St., Chicago, IL

“We guarantee that $1,000.00 Guaranteed Moth Killer will kill clothes moths—and carpet beetles and their eggs and larvae—when it is thoroughly sprayed upon them, and agree to forfeit $1,000.00 to anyone proving to us that it cannot do this.” —Chicago Insecticide Company,

Turtle Wax, Inc., est. 1941

Museum Artifact: Turtle Wax “Hard Shell Finish” Auto Polish, 1950s

Made By: Plastone Company / Turtle Wax, Inc., 4100 W. Grand Ave. and 1800 N. Clybourn Ave.

On June 4, 1956—just five years after the first bottles of Turtle Wax “Miracle Auto Polish” hit the consumer market—Chicago workmen began installing a new, ludicrously enormous advertisement for the product, situated atop the roof of the Wendell State Bank “Flatiron” Building at the intersection of Madison,

Sanford Ink Company, est. 1857

Museum Artifact: Sanford’s Ink Eraser by Sanford MFG Co., c. 1910s

Made By: Sanford MFG Co. / Sanford Ink Company, 846-854 W. Congress Street, Chicago, IL

“Have you handled Sanford’s ink eraser yet? Every office needs it and every stationer should carry it in stock. It does the work of erasing ink from paper and stains from cloth perfectly. It is put up in a handsome round corner package and is made by the Sanford Manufacturing Company,

Gold Eagle Products Co., est. 1932

Museum Artifact: Gold Eagle Radiator Seal, c. 1940s

Made By: Gold Eagle Products Co., 1050 W. Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL

In the early 1990s, when a lot of Chicago’s remaining “mom and pop” manufacturing businesses were reluctantly cashing in their chips, the family-owned Gold Eagle Company was bucking the trends—50% annual revenue growth, to be specific, with tailwinds into the 21st century.

Hammond Organ Company, est. 1928

Museum Artifact: Hammond Organ Generator Oil Can, 1960s

Made By: Hammond Organ Co., 4200 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago, IL

“Smaller than a piano, a midget in comparison with the vast pipe organs of traditional style, yet capable of 253 million different tones; this is the electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond of Chicago.” —Popular Mechanics, April 1936

It’s hard to say how a musical instrument capable of producing millions of different tones could simultaneously be “distinctive”

Claire MFG Co., est. 1913

Museum Artifact: Jinx Cleaner, c. 1920s

Made By: Claire MFG Co., 6742 S. Yale Avenue, Chicago, IL

In 1927, Chicago municipal court judge Theodore F. Ehler—presiding during the height of mob warfare and corruption—made headlines for the unusual sentences he started imposing on a less romanticized element of the city’s criminal underbelly: deadbeat husbands.

Rather than sending these sad sacks off to jail,

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,

Reliable Paste Company, est. 1917

Museum Artifact: Reliable Cold Water Wall Size Paste, c. 1950s

Made By: Reliable Paste Company, 3560 S. Shields Ave., Chicago, IL

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

O-Cedar Corp. & Channel Chemical Co., est. 1906

Museum Artifact: O-Cedar Solid Center Polish Mop No. 15, 1929

Made By: O-Cedar Corp. / Channel Chemical Co., 4501 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL

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

American Varnish Company, est. 1883

Museum Artifact: Floorene Varnish, c. 1910s

Made By: The American Varnish Co., 1138 N. Branch Street, Chicago, IL

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

American Shoe Polish Co., est. 1900

Museum Artifact: Eagle Brand Suede Powder, c. 1920

Made by: American Shoe Polish Co., 1956 S. Troy Street, Chicago, IL

“Wherever footwear is worn and shoes are shined, the American Shoe Polish Company, of Chicago, have made their ‘Eagle Brand’ dressings known”—this according to a 1913 article in that much beloved periodical, Shoe and Leather Facts.

“Through a harmonious co-operation between the manufacturing and selling forces,

Angel Dainty Dye Co., est. 1898

Museum Artifact: Angel Dainty Dyes Color Packets, 1930s

Made by: Angel Dainty Dye Co., 5201 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

Their fabric dyes were promoted as colorful miracles in a paper packet, but the Angel Dainty Dye Company itself may have been founded on a dastardly fib.

“The Angel Dainty Dye Co., Chicago, have something which everyone wants,” read an ad in an 1899 issue of the American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record,

Damon MFG Co., est. 1914

Museum Artifact: 999 Polish for Automobiles, Pianos & Furniture, 1920s

Made By: Damon MFG Co., 325 W. Ohio Street, Chicago, IL

“Oxidation, it is pointed out by the manufacturer of Damon’s 999 automobile and furniture polish, is the reason for loss of luster and deadened appearance in any varnish finish. It is claimed 999 polish keeps the surface waterproof and airtight with pure wax,