Modern Brands

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The Coca-cola thread was so thought-provoking that I have been looking through 1912 newspapers to see what else we would recognize as today's brands. I was startled to see BVD underwear for men- the sleeveless undershirt (called a singlet) had BUTTONS up the front- boxers look the same. Pillsbury and Gold Medal flours were around back then, as well as the "Brownie" camera, Hires Rootbeer( the extract could be bought to make your own at home), Van Camp's pork and beans in a can, and Fels Naptha soap. Grape-Nuts cereal, Cuticura skin products, Karo syrup, Arrow shirts ( for 1 and 2 $!! each) and a Steinway piano could be bought NEW for 100 dollars. I was born too late!
The Shell,

Some of these may have been covered in the earlier thread I missed, but in flipping through a couple of 1912 mags including two of my trusty Harper's Bazaars (spelled "Bazar" then)I ran across ads for Absorbine Jr., Listerine, Quaker Oats, House Beautiful magazine, and Thermos-brand jugs & cups.



Karen Sweigart

Former Member
I bought my sister a Kodak "brownie" camera in an antique store while in CT. I didn't realize they dated back that far. The lady at the store told me it was at least 40 years old. It was in great condition and I think it still worked. I also bought a 1st edition "The Night Lives On" by Walter Lord.

Add Kellogg's (Rent Journey to Wellville with Tony Hopkins to see the Kellogg story-hilarious). Post, Crisco and Heinz beans and catsup to the list- although a brand called Blue Label seems to be the 1912 brand of the moment. I wonder if White Star re-provisioned their ships on the New York side with these American brands? Log cabin syrup was around in dear little cabin-shaped tins which recently made a comeback. Baker's Brand chocolate cocoa is still around too. Now there's some food for thought!
Quaker Oats definitely had to be the unofficial breakfast cereal on the Titanic, what with Walter and Mahala Douglas onboard. For a little bit of background on the Douglas connection to Quaker Oats, go to the history section of the following site and click on the Douglas Family connection:
For more information on Quaker Oats, there is a very brief mention of the Douglas connection on this site:

Daniel Rosenshine

Former Member
Add Gillette and Schweppes (Walter James Hawksford) to that. I came across many others while looking through old papers, they included various tyre and car companies, but I cannot remember them now.

One we should remember is Pears soap. Thomas Pears, a descendant of the firm's founder, went down with the ship.

Other brands spotted in old papers include Michelin, Continental and Rover.

A curious ad I spotted was for a predecessor of Mobil oil. It came in five or six different versions and you were supposed to pick the one suitable for your car. The list gave dozens of makes of car, most of them long gone.

Gavin Murphy

Former Member
Of course Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap was later made by Pears so there is another interesting T link.

D, there were rumours that Pears was on the Unilever chopping block. I know it is still available in the Great White North, made now in India and not Port Sunlight, but do you have any further news to share you dirty boy (as the Pears ad said circa 1912)?

Caswell and Massey still offers Vinolia Toilet soap- identical to Titanic's. It is about 10 bucks a bar now! It is also in their catalogue. Ah, PEARS- yes, Lily Langtry, paramour of kings and princes, and one smart cookie, was a pin-up advertising queen for PEARS- I LOVE those gals who have their cake and eat it too!
I was told that Pears soap was unheard of in the USA, so on my last visit took suitcases of the stuff (I felt rather like some sort of missionary bringing hope to the uninformed!) I wondered why I received so many strange looks as I handed out "rations" to all the Titanic buffs I encountered as it now appears to have been available there all along! I'll be back in August, no doubt bearing gifts of something else unheard of!

Philip Hind

Staff member
They haven't heard of rubbers either. Being a bit of a missionary myself, last time I was there I was in a position to take a load with me and handed them out at stationary stores all over New England.

... what?

Pat Cook

Milady Shelly wrote: >yes, Lily Langtry, paramour of kings and princes, and one smart cookie, was a pin-up advertising queen for PEARS...<

Are you, by any chance, referring to that notorious Texas Law Man Judge Roy Bean?
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