Happy Halloween & Safe Trick-or-Treating!
The FDA created a simple display in 1933 to illustrate problems with the current food and drug laws. The exhibit generated a buzz in the media. These photos from the show demonstrate the way that consumers could be fooled or endangered by certain products.
This kind of mystery meat is more trick than treat!
Halloween is right around the corner, and at the National Archives we are well versed in the creepiest, weirdest records of the Federal government. Here’s one of our favorites that’s sure to make you shudder with fear (or at least skip a meal).
In the mood for more creepy records? See the rest at: Weird Records from the Depths of the Archives
What’s the creepiest food you’ve ever had?
Need a Halloween costume for your pet chicken? Jackson’s patented Eye Protector could be a good start.
Patent of the Month
The National Archives contains many archival gems. To share some of my favorites, I am starting a new feature for the blog, Patent of the Month.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
Need a knock ‘em dead prop for your haunted house? Try Eisenbrant’s spring loaded “Life-Preserving Coffin!”
"Life-Preserving Coffin, In Doubtful Cases of Actual Death"
Drawing for a Life-Preserving Coffin, 11/15/1843
The fear of being buried alive led Christian Henry Eisenbrandt to patent a “life-preserving coffin in doubtful cases of actual death.” In his application, he claimed that through a series of springs and levers, even the slightest motion of the head or hand would instantaneously open the coffin lid.
(Also fun at parties)
Is your office overflowing with leftover candy today? We’ve got candy in the Archives too - but it’s an archival record, not a treat:
In 1962 two candy companies in Chicago copied Brach’s distinct toffee labels, but not their sweets. Customers were confused and complained to Brach’s about an inferior product. E.J. Brach & Sons brought the matter to the courts. After examining the case including the products (pictured), the U.S. District Court in Chicago ordered Peanut Speciality and Close & Company, Incorporated to stop manufacturing their imitations. The candies used as exhibits in the case survived and are currently kept in a mylar sleeve with the case.
Located in RG 21, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, case 62C1069, “E.J. Brach & Sons, a corporation v. Peanut Specialty Company, a corporation and Close & Company, Incorporated, a corporation.”
"A Fine Play" or a Public Nuisance? Conflicting views on The War of the Worlds
On October 30, 1938, the popular Mercury Theater broadcast a radio play directed by Orson Welles, entitled “Invasion from Mars.” This adaptation of H.G.Wells’ novel “War of the Worlds” dramatized a surprise attack on a town in New Jersey. Many took the radio play to be real — causing widespread panic. Not everyone took to the streets however, and many, like the writer of the first letter, felt that others were overreacting.
What would you have done upon hearing Welles’ broadcast? Take to the streets, pick up the phone, or sit back and enjoy some good radio drama?
Now arriving…at the haunted air field:
Happy Halloween! October 31st and Senior Airman Garth Horton, USAF, crewchief, 437th Aircraft Generation Squadron, Charleston AFB, South Carolina, gets in the spirit as he marshals out an aircraft at Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Sicily. Air Force members are deployed to Naval Air Station Sigonella in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, 10/31/2001
Halloween Hoax, 10/31/1912
Clifford Berryman Political Cartoon Collection, Records of the U.S. Senate
During the Presidential Election of 1912, the Republican Elephant is spooked by the “hollow” threat of Teddy Roosevelt’s new Progressive “Bull Moose” party, which was poised to split the Republican vote.
Cranks, Crack-pots, and Martians
On October 30, 1938, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) broadcast an adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. The hour-long radio program began with an announcer introducing a musical performance and moments later interrupting with a special news bulletin describing the landing of Martians in New Jersey and their subsequent attacks with death rays. Although CBS made four announcements during the broadcast identifying it as a dramatic performance, millions of Americans who heard it were scared into some sort of action, many wrote letters. The newly created Federal Communications Commission received more than 600 letters about the broadcast, including the one featured here.
Scared of a little “Mystery Meat?”
If you really want to be scared by food, don’t miss “Food Frights” on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the National Archives Building with David Gregory of “Meet the Press” and Chef José Andrés.
And be sure to visit the National Archives’ “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” exhibit and see the records that document why the Government became involved in food safety.
What food frightens you?
Happy Historical Halloween!
Just in time for Halloween, here are some National Archives-themed templates for your Jack-o’-Lantern. Find large printable versions of these and more at the National Archives News on Flickr.