Helene Curtis Industries, est. 1927

Museum Artifact: Helene Curtis “Duchess Machineless Oil Wave,” c. 1940s

Made By: Helene Curtis Industries, div. of National Mineral Company, 505 N. Sacramento Blvd. / 4401 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL

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

Franco-American Hygienic Co., est. 1889

Museum Artifact: Hygienic Dermacura Medicinal Soap, c. 1910s

Made By: Franco-American Hygienic Company, 1300 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago, IL

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

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;

Dexter Sewing Machine Co., est. 1956

Museum Artifact: Dexter Sewing Machine and Booklet, c. 1957

Made By: The Dexter Sewing Machine Co., division of the Grant Company, 2735 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL

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

James S. Kirk & Company, est. 1839

Museum Artifact: Box of 3 “Violet” Perfumed Soaps, c. 1910s

Made By: James S. Kirk & Company, 320 East North Water Street, Chicago, IL

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

Western Felt Works, est. 1899

Museum Artifact: Advertising Pamphlet with Felt Samples, c. 1920s

Made By: Western Felt Works, 4029-4117 W. Ogden Ave., Chicago, IL

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

Wilbac MFG Co., est 1940s

Museum Artifact: Expando Grand Slam Baseball Cap, c. 1960s

Made By: Wilbac MFG Co., 913 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL

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

Lady Esther, Ltd., est. 1913

Museum Artifact: Lady Esther Face Powder Boxes, c. 1950s

Made By: Lady Esther, Ltd., 7171 W. 65th St., Chicago, IL

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

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.

Twinplex Manufacturing Co., est. 1910

Museum Artifact: Twinplex Stropper / Razor Blade Sharpener, c. 1940s

Made By: Twinplex Manufacturing Company, 1800 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 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,

Parisian Novelty Co., est. 1898

Museum Artifact: Celluloid Pocket Mirrors, c. 1920s

Made By: Parisian Novelty Company, 3510 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL

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

Elgin National Watch Company, est. 1863

Museum Artifact: Elgin Pocket Watch, 1926

Made By: Elgin National Watch Company, 107 National Street, Elgin, 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,

Art-Rite Products Co., est. 1958

Museum Artifact: Tarnishproof Tinsel Garlands, 1960s

Made By: Art-Rite Products Co., 1355 Blue Island Ave., Chicago, IL

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

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,

Chicago Mail Order Co., est. 1889

Museum Artifact: Chicago Mail Order Shoe Horn, c. 1930s

Made By: Chicago Mail Order Co., S. Indiana Ave & E. 26th St., Chicago, IL

Following on the heels of their Chicago neighbors Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck (pun intended considering the item on display here), the Chicago Mail Order Co. enjoyed a lengthy run of success of its own from the turn of the century well into the 1970s–although much of that was accomplished under its second name,

E.C. DeWitt & Co., est. 1886

Museum Artifact: DeWitt’s Foot Powder, 1920s

Made By: E.C. DeWitt & Co., Inc., 1127 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL

It probably wouldn’t be fair or accurate to call Elden C. DeWitt a “snake oil salesman.” For one thing, the guy’s been dead for nearly a century, so unless a secret diary surfaces, we’ll never know for sure if he genuinely believed in the quirky patent medicines he peddled.

Wm. Meyer Co., est. 1906

Museum Artifact: Eagle Speed Salon Hair Dryer, c. 1930

Made By: The Wm. Meyer Co., 1644 N. Honore Street, Chicago, IL

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

Universal Medicine Co. / Universal Laboratories

Museum Artifact: Universal Special Cream & Wormwood Oil (Piolunkowi Olejek), c. 1920s

Made By: Universal Medicine Co. / Universal Laboratories, 1857 W. Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL

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