October 2023

In This Issue
  • G.M. Thompson & Sons General Store
  • In Memoriam: Burnie W. Thompson, Sr.
  • 2024 AAAA Convention: Save the Date!
  • Peacocks
  • Fall Indy Ad Show
  • "Where Have You Gone?": The Follow-Up
  • Columbus Collective Museums
  • Wanted Items

The G.M. Thompson & Sons General Store

Most AAAA members have great affection for the general store of yesteryear and many are active collectors of related memorabilia. Some have even established an entire general store in their own homes. However, only a tiny handful of individuals have had the privilege of being part of a family that actually owned and operated a genuine general store...for generations. Burnham W. Thompson, Sr., a long-time, active member of AAAA, was among them.

“Burnie”, as he was called, recently submitted materials about the history of his family’s general store for publication in the Checkerboard. Tragically and unexpectedly, however, Burnie passed away on August 31, just after attending and enjoying the 2023 AAAA Convention with his daughter, April Holinko. The history of this venerable store will be related here, in fulfillment of Burnie’s wishes. A memoriam to honor Burnie’s life will appear in the article that follows.

The history of the Thompson Store goes back to the last quarter of the 19th century. According to the store’s web site ( “On March 9, 1875, Charles W. DeWolfe of New London purchased a building that was built by Lewis Brigham and began using it as a store. The building switched hands from DeWolfe to Merrit Smith, who also bought the house to the west of the store. He added an apartment above the store where his grandson, G. Merrit Thompson was born in 1906.” G. Merrit Thompson was Burnie’s father.

The web site goes on to recount the following: “G. Merritt Thompson states, “My grandfather owned the store until 1907 or 1908 when he sold it to George Reynolds, who used to own the Spring Manor Farm north of here. Reynolds owned it for just a short while and then my grandfather bought it back. He then sold it to a man by the name of Pierce who kept it for a year and sold it to a man named Hansen in about 1909. Hansen ran the store until October 30, 1934 when Hernberg and I went into partnership and bought him out. On July 1, 1936, I bought out Hernberg and he went across the street. When on October 1, 1963, I incorporated with my three sons, Burnham W. Thompson, George Merritt Thompson, Jr., and Byron L. Thompson.”

Mr. Thompson’s father, E. Burnham Thompson, worked for his father-in-law, Merritt Smith, for three years until the business was sold. He then worked for Hansen in 1910 and delivered groceries and grain throughout Mansfield, North Coventry, all the way to the end of Andover making as many as fifty-two stops.

As you walk into the store, the northeast front corner is the original part of the store, and upon looking carefully; it is easy to see where a newer section was added by Smith at a later date. A section to the very rear, where the meat counter and office are, was added by Hansen. In this section, the post office stood for about twenty-five years until it was moved across the street in 1937. The grain shed to the east of the store was built by Mr. Smith in either 1876 or 1877, but it was closer to the road and later moved back.”

Burnie was born in 1939 into this family of general store owners.  From that time on, he was part of the fabric that helped build the store to what it is today (Note: Burnie was the one-year-old being held by his father in the 1940 family photo below).

During his tenure in the family business, Burnie took on  many roles and responsibilities.  He unloaded bags of grain from train cars and later trailer trucks. He made deliveries of food to neighbors and grain to local farms  After receiving a special diploma in meat cutting, he served as butcher in the deli. Burnie was a service clerk, tending to customers’ needs and he pumped gas. He assisted in maintaining the lawn and he helped with the structural upkeep of the store, barn, and outbuildings.

Burnie’s responsibilities grew as he became a well-respected co-owner of the enterprise. He supervised the office bookkeeping, employee hires, and general day-to-day operations. The most esteemed role he held, however, was serving as mentor to the younger generation of family members who have continued in the spirit of G.M. Thompson and Sons Inc.

Although Burnie retired from the family business in 2002, he continued to check-in and visit the store on a routine basis. He enjoyed reminiscing with his brother and delighted in seeing his, son, nephew and grandsons carry on the tradition of serving the needs of agricultural communities.

To this day, G.M. Thompson and Sons is the oldest continuously run business in Mansfield, Connecticut. The store’s web site describes the store as: “Your local General Store carrying products for your Home, Pets, Lawn & Garden.” They also have a deli which has received much acclaim.

The store’s Google feedback conveys all you need to know about this establishment and the family that has operated it for generations. The comments below are actual, direct quotes, representing part of the store’s impressive 4.9 (out of 5) Google rating.

  • Absolutely the best shop for 100s miles around. The staff are tremendously knowledgeable, the products are top grade quality, prices are spot on, and the atmosphere is the most comfortable farm-like setting. Be welcome to ask the staff about the surrounding Mansfield Depot antiquity.
  • This business runs on the values that used to be commonplace in America. May it continue for generations to come.
  • Country store with friendly folks! They have a sandwich bar at the rear of the store with absolutely delicious sandwiches. You gotta try one!
  • Thompson & Sons is a perfect example why shopping local is the best. Friendly, helpful staff. Shop organized and clean. If something is out of stock, staff give a honest explanation and a sincere apology. Also, they sell REAL grinders. Definitely get one here!!
  • I've heard for years about how awesome the deli is. I've just never been in the area when I wanted a bite... until I was! I finally was driving by this place at lunch time and decided to stop in. I had no idea what to expect or order. I went with my typical Italian combo that I would get anywhere else. Wow- it's night and day when someone freshly slices quality meat and cheeses- you can actually taste the individual meats and their quality. Great food, wonderful service, and reasonable prices- what more can you ask for?

Anybody who knew Burnie would immediately recognize in him the fine values and qualities that are reflected in the store's Google feedback. But more about Burnie in the article to follow.

The photos below serve to document various points in the evolution of this venerable general store.

Approximately 1901

Approximately 1904

Approximately 1920

Approximately 1920

Approximately 1940

Approximately 1940

Date Unknown

2022 Warehouse

and Hay Barn

Recent Photo

Town of Mansfield Connecticut quilt featuring Thompson's store

In Memoriam: Burnie W. Thompson, Sr.

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Burnie W. Thompson, Sr. at the age of 84. Click here to view his obituary.

Burnie died on August 31, 2023, not long after his joyful and active participation in the 2023 AAAA convention in York, Pennsylvania. He was accompanied there by his devoted daughter, April Holinko, who stepped up to the plate last year after the passing of Burnie's beloved wife, Gerry. April was determined to ensure that Burnie continued his valued participation in AAAA Conventions and made good on that by accompanying him to both last year and this year's events.

Burnie began his collecting pursuits as a youngster after his grandfather gave him a horse chestnut seed which he held on to for many years. Burnie was told it brought luck and prosperity. Born at the end of the depression and into the family general store business, Burnie was taught the value of not only family but of material items and he took great care of whatever he had. Burnie was a curious learner and liked history. Twelve years after Gerry and Burnie were married, a very popular Sunday flea market started in 1975 in Burnie’s hometown at the Mansfield, Connecticut drive-in. It was there they met people with shared interests and began their collecting pursuits. 

Burnie initially pursued the collection of match holders, followed by cast iron still banks, and then mechanical banks. His interests expanded into collecting metal advertising signs with an affinity for feed and grain signs; tin advertising banks; oil cans and other automotive memorabilia; metal coffee cans; tin mechanical toys; paper advertising ephemera and trade cards. Over the years, he attended auctions and visited numerous antique shops and flea markets. As his collections of treasures grew, he routinely began to sell items at auctions, car/truck shows, flea markets, and the AAAA conventions. This allowed him to “weed out” his acquisitions and upgrade his collections.  Burnie authored an article about advertising banks that appeared in the AAAA Checkerboard several years ago.

Over the past 30 years, AAAA membership has provided Burnie with knowledge about collecting, pleasure in newsletters, and anticipation of attending conventions. It was Burnie's belief, however, that friendships and the camaraderie of fellow collectors were the greatest treasures in collecting.

Burnie embodied the spirit of the general store and he was a true gentleman. He will be missed.

Editor's Note: Burnie's daughter, April Holinko, contributed the background information for this article.

2024 AAAA Convention: Save the Date!

Save the Date! July 17-20, 2024! Embassy Suites! Dublin (Columbus), Ohio! Click here to print out a Save-the-Date flier. Other details will be announced in upcoming issues of our newsletters. The 2024 Convention promises to be very exciting!


Story and Photographs by Rick Cook

Being a pilot, I enjoy collecting antique advertising associated with flight, including bird flight. In the hierarchy of birds, peacocks equate to royalty. They are the birds of kings. Why? Because peacocks, with their beautiful plumage, upright stance, and fierce territoriality, possess the ingredients needed to have confidence, strength, and power – all traits of monarchs. Recently, I added two unrelated items to my antique advertising collection that both feature peacocks.

The first item in my collection is a small wrapped pack (3” x 11/2” x ¼”) containing a dozen 11/2” firecrackers. The wrapping is made from a red waxy type of translucent paper (glassine) that shows each individual firecracker labeled in white cursive with the word: Peacock. The rectangular label on the front of the pack has a thick white border surrounding a thin red border, which surrounds a large light blue vertical rectangular box on top of a smaller yellow horizontal rectangular box.

Front view of Peacock

firecrackers pack

Back view of Peacock

firecrackers pack

Across the top of the red border, in dark blue capitals, are the abbreviations: REG.U.S.PAT.OFF. Across the bottom of the red border, in dark blue capitals, it states: MADE IN MACAU. Within the light blue box, printed in red-on-white cursive with dark blue shadowing, is the word: Peacock. Below that, in dark blue capital letters, is the word BRAND. Next down, printed in a partial semi-circle in dark blue, are the words: Super Charged Flashlight Crackers. Below that, printed in dark blue within a tiny white horizontal rectangular box with a thin blue border, are the words: ICC Class C Common Fireworks.

In the center of the light blue rectangular box, a colorful graphic depicts a peacock standing on top of a globe of the world. The peacock’s plumage is spread fully open in a circle. To the left and right of the peacock, printed in dark blue, it states: 11/2” and 12s. Cutting across the center of the globe, encased within a yellow and orange banner, is the company name printed boldly in orange capital lettering: PO SING FIRECRACKER FACTORY. Next, printed in orange lettering inside the yellow rectangular box, are several warnings and instructions: CAUTION-EXPLOSIVE, Lay on Ground, Light Fuse – Get Away, and Use only Under Adult Supervision. How old is this pack of firecrackers? Read on.

The history of the firecracker industry is interesting. The first firecracker was discovered by accident in China over a thousand years ago. When someone ran out of firewood, a piece of bamboo was tossed into the flames to keep the fire going. As the outer shell burned away, the sap within the wood, as well as the air inside the hollow center, expanded. When the expansion overpowered the thinning shell, the bamboo exploded. And thus, the discovery of fireworks!

During the 9th century, after the Chinese invented gunpowder, manufactured firecrackers were created by encasing gunpowder inside small rolls of paper. That’s how China became ground zero for the firecracker industry, from where firecrackers are still exported worldwide.

There was a time, however, when China wasn’t the primary place for firecracker manufacturing. Beginning in 1881, firecracker production began in Macau. Quickly, Macau became the number one producer, claiming approximately 60 manufacturers at the height of the industry there. In fact, firecracker production was the occupation of most Macanese people (a mixture of Cantonese and Portuguese descent) for a period of about a hundred years. Macau had been a Portuguese territory since 1557 and remained so until 1999. That’s when China was given possession of the land. Macau, however, sort of kept its independence, gaining control of its own governance and business dealings – an arrangement with China that meant “one country, two systems.” By the time that happened, Macau’s firecracker industry had been gone for nearly two decades – a situation that forced a huge turnaround in what most of the country’s population did for employment.

So, what caused the death of such a thriving industry? A couple of things were to blame. First, many countries banned firecrackers during the early 1960s, lessening the demand for production. Second, the United States renewed diplomatic relations with China in 1971. Once that happened, the Chinese government gave large subsidies to its own firecracker manufacturers, allowing those companies to sell firecrackers to U.S. distributors at a much lower cost than they could get from companies in Macau. Demand for firecrackers manufactured in Macau disappeared almost completely. And poof…the end of an industry! The last factory closed in the mid-1980s.

Ironically, the end of Macau’s firecracker production turned out to be the greatest thing to have happened to the country and its people because it forced them into modern times. Gambling became the new primary industry in Macau, sprouting dozens of world-class casinos, the entertainment business that goes along with casinos, hundreds of top hotels and restaurants, private jets bringing high-rollers to Macau International Airport, and condominiums within world-dominating skyscrapers to house the uber-wealthy (you know, the people who own homes in every port – New York, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau – you get the picture; the same people who own the private jets).

Anyway, getting back to the firecracker industry, the Macau manufacturers were famous for the artwork on their packaging – brightly colored depictions of dragons, lions, peacocks, warriors, maidens, and mermaids. In total, over 300 brands were produced. The Po Sing Firecracker Factory was one of the largest in Macau, and known for the high-quality of its firecrackers. This company produced three brands – Peacock, Lion Globe, and Super Spaceman.

The Peacock pack in my collection contains only a dozen firecrackers, but quantities could range anywhere from four to six per pack (called penny packs in the old days), all the way up to 120 per pack. Firecrackers were also packaged and sold as bricks, which were dozens of packs bundled together. I remember purchasing a brick of Black Cat firecrackers during my youth (mid-1970s) during a rest stop at South of the Border (located on US-501 alongside I-95, just south of the border between South Carolina and North Carolina, and still in business today). Even grander than bricks were belts and rolls, which were packages of up to several thousand firecrackers strung together.

So, how did I arrive at an approximate manufacturing date for the pack of Peacock firecrackers in my collection? Well, it required researching the laws governing fireworks. Prior to the formation of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1887, there were no laws in the United States regarding the sale and storage of fireworks. Lots of injuries and deaths caused by accidental explosions brought about the need for governance. The ICC separated fireworks into two groups. Class C fireworks (also known as common fireworks) could be sold to everyday people. Class B fireworks (also known as display fireworks) could only be sold to professional pyrotechnicians. Firecrackers were in the Class C group.

Up until 1955, labeling on packs of firecrackers only required the country of origin. Between 1955 and 1968, the ICC required firecracker packs to be labeled with: ICC Class C. From 1969 to 1972, packaging for firecrackers had the additional requirement of listing several warnings and instructions: Caution-Explosive, Lay on Ground, Light Fuse – Get Away, and Use only Under Adult Supervision. Ah-hah…the same warnings and instructions that are on the pack of Peacock firecrackers in my collection! That means those twelve firecrackers were manufactured by the Po Sing Firecracker Factory sometime between 1969 and 1972.

In 1972, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) came into existence and took control of the sale and storage of fireworks. The following year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) got involved, but only regarding the shipment of fireworks. The ICC classification was removed from the labels of firecrackers and replaced with: DOT Class C Common Fireworks. The list of warnings and instructions remained the same as the previous four years.

Let’s travel back in time for a moment to 1960. That’s when Congress passed the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act, a set of laws prohibiting the sale of the most dangerous types of fireworks to anyone other than professional pyrotechnicians. The problem was that firecrackers weren’t considered dangerous at that time, even though they were extremely dangerous due to the amount of flash powder contained within each individual firecracker. Ordinary people were losing fingers, hands, arms, faces, and worse due to accidents while setting off legal firecrackers.

In 1976, to solve that problem, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) got involved and set a maximum amount of flash powder that could legally be put inside Class C firecrackers. That amount was 50 milligrams, which remains the legal limit today. That means the Peacock firecrackers in my collection are illegal for me to own because I don’t possess an ATF-issued license or permit for Class B fireworks. Ooops! Who knew? I had innocently purchased the pack of Peacock firecrackers at an antiques shop about a year ago purely for its value as a cool piece of antique advertising.

How do I know my firecrackers are illegal? Remember in the third paragraph where I described the Peacock label as having the words: Super Charged Flashlight Crackers? Well, those words were printed there by the Po Sing Firecracker Factory to let buyers know that those firecrackers contained a lot of flash powder – much more than 50 milligrams. That’s because they were manufactured before the CPSC set a maximum limit on flash powder. The industry name for those types of powerful firecrackers was flashlight crackers (or flash crackers). Beginning in 1977, firecracker labels had to state: Contains less than 50 mg. of flash powder.

So, what exactly is flash powder and why is it so dangerous? Flash powder is a combination of aluminum mixed with regular firecracker gunpowder. When ignited, it creates a much bigger bang combined with a much brighter light. Hence, the limit of 50 milligrams in firecrackers to maintain legal status as Class C fireworks.

Starting in 1995, the required warnings and instructions on firecracker labels went over the top, becoming almost intrusive. Due to the exponential expansion of global trade, the United States began recognizing the United Nations fireworks classification system instead of the DOT system. The DOT Class C Common Fireworks on labels was changed to: UN 0336 1.4G Consumer Fireworks. The Caution-Explosive declaration was changed to: Warning- Explosive. All other previous warnings and instructions remained the same. However, several new requirements were added: For outdoor use only, Do not hold in hand or throw firecrackers, Place pack on ground, Never attempt to relight a fuse, Never attempt to light firecrackers in a closed container, and Never carry firecrackers in clothing. As I stated, almost intrusive, right?

The Po Sing Firecracker Company moved its operations from Macau to mainland China after the demise of Macau’s firecracker industry, then changed its name to Po Sing PRO Pyrotechnics Limited (also known as Po Sing Fireworks Limited). Po Sing has several factories in the city of Liuyang but houses its marketing and sales departments in Hong Kong. They still produce the Peacock and Super Spaceman brands of firecrackers.

The second peacock related item in my collection of antique advertising is a small cardboard box (3” x 1” x 5/8”) that at one time contained three condoms. The primary graphic on the front shows a peacock standing tall in a bed of roses. To the right of the bird, spelled out in white cursive against a background of tall trees next to a pond, is the word: Dean’s. Below that, printed in large red-on-white cursive, is the word: Peacocks. Still lower, in white block capitals, are the words: RESERVOIR ENDS. At the bottom, in small white lettering, is the statement: Made in U.S.A. Behind the peacock’s head, printed in black letters and numbers, is the declaration: 3 for 60¢.

Front view of Peacocks condoms box

Back view of Peacocks condoms box

Side and end view of Peacocks condoms box

The primary color on the back and both sides of the box is white, with a border of pale green. The same green is used on both ends. Printed on the back, boldly stated in red capital letters, are the words: DEAN’S PEACOCKS. Below that, in small black lettering, is the statement: Dean’s reservoir end peacocks are tested on new, modern equipment for your protection. Keep this statement in mind as you read further into this article. Following the proclamation about protection, in small black lettering, is the declaration: Exclusively a drug store item. At the bottom, in small black capitals, is the manufacturer’s name: THE DEAN RUBBER MFG. COMPANY. Below that, in even smaller black capitals, is the manufacturer’s location: NORTH KANSAS CITY, MO. No zip code is listed. Below the city and state, the labeling asserts in black: Registered U.S. Patent No. 220179.

Both sides of the box proclaim: The Original Peacocks RESERVOIR ENDS. While the word Peacocks is printed in red cursive, the rest of the lettering uses black ink. Both ends, in black, simply state: 3 for 60¢ No. DF17. The empty box is in good condition, considering it’s from the mid-1960s.

With roughly a hundred items in my collection of antique advertising, the Peacocks box was the first and only condom-related item I’ve ever purchased. I found it at an antiques shop last year while scrounging through a bin of smalls. I loved the graphics, but it was the product that piqued my curiosity.

Most people don’t know about the history of the condom industry, but it’s just as interesting as the firecracker industry. In the United States, with the passing of the Comstock Act of 1872, it became illegal to sell material considered to be obscene and immoral. This included any form of birth control, which meant condoms. Because of the Comstock Act, the manufacturers of condoms were forbidden to advertise their products, which forced condoms to be sold illicitly.

During the early 1900s, with syphilis and gonorrhea spreading like wildfire, a New York judge named Frederick Crane dug deep into the small print of the Comstock Act and ruled that doctors could legally prescribe condoms for use as prophylactics (a means to prevent diseases), but not for use as a contraceptive (a means to prevent conception). That ruling became known as the Crane Decision of 1918, and it allowed condom manufacturers to advertise and sell their products as prophylactics, but not as a method of birth control, which was still considered illegal in the United States.

To comply with the ruling, all advertisements and labels for condoms had to state: An aid in preventing venereal diseases. Dean Rubber Manufacturing Company, one of the largest producers of condoms at the time, took the ruling a step further by only distributing its products to pharmacies. They wanted the world to know that Dean’s Peacocks were high-quality condoms that were effective enough for pharmacists to recommend and sell. This marketing angle came back to bite them decades later when a lawsuit was filed against the company by the U.S. government (Dean Rubber Manufacturing Co. v. United States), which you’ll read about later in this article. You see, during the early 1960s, government watchdogs became aware that Peacocks condoms weren’t living up to the high standards Dean was claiming.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), shipments of prophylactics were allowed to contain 1% defective condoms. That seems crazy, right? But that was the standard at the time, which brings up the question, what was the purpose of the FDA? To answer that question, we need to travel back to 1906, when the United States passed a set of laws prohibiting the sale of misbranded food and drugs, known as the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. The Bureau of Chemistry was created to oversee those laws.

Sidetracking for a moment, I’d like to describe another piece of antique advertising in my collection – this one unrelated to peacocks but related to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. It’s an envelope from the F. W. Woolworth Company printed with a Hubley Toys advertisement – the same advertisement the toy manufacturer commissioned for publication in magazines during the 1954 Christmas season, complete with artwork showing Santa Claus placing toys (airplane, tow truck, logging truck, dump truck, sports car, and tractor) beneath a Christmas tree. Besides the bright red F. W. Woolworth logo and full-color ad, the envelope also features the following statements: Now at WOOLWORTH’S, America’s Favorite Toy Store, and HUBLEY TOYS give your youngsters all the thrills of LIFE-LIKE ACTION!

F. W. Woolworth envelope featuring

Hubley Toys advertisement and 3¢ stamp

Postmark and cancellation of 3¢ stamp commemorating

the 50th Anniversary of the Pure Food and Drug Laws

What makes this envelope special, besides being of interest to collectors of antique advertising, is that it’s a first day cover, making it valuable to stamp collectors. A first day cover is created by gluing a stamp onto the upper right corner of an envelope on the first day that stamp is issued by the United States Postal Service, then taking the envelope to any U.S. post office to have it postmarked and cancelled, showing the city, state, date, and time.

The first day cover in my collection is that of a United States 3¢ postage stamp honoring the 50th Anniversary of the passing of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. Harvey W. Wiley, M.D., is depicted on the stamp, standing in front of a microscope while holding a glass slide possibly containing a piece of contaminated food. Wiley fought for decades for pure food and drug laws and is the father of the 1906 Act. The envelope was postmarked and cancelled on December 1, 1954, in Terre Haute, Indiana, at 8:30 am. Apparently, the stamp was issued a little more than a year prior to the actual 50th Anniversary of the passing of the 1906 Act.

The reason I purchased this envelope wasn’t for its value as a first day cover, nor was it because of the F. W. Woolworth logo combined with the Hubley Toys advertisement. Rather, it was specifically for the toy airplane in the ad. Like I stated in the opening sentence, I collect antique advertising associated with flight. I purchased it at an antiques show about three years ago. It wasn’t until delving into the lawsuit against the Dean Rubber Manufacturing Company that I realized how cool it was that the envelope in my collection had a connection to the Peacocks condom box. But enough sidetracking…time to get back to the main story.

In 1927, the Bureau of Chemistry morphed into the Food, Drug and Insecticide Administration, which shortened its name to the Food and Drug Administration in 1930. In 1938, medical devices came under the FDA’s control when the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act was passed by Congress. That set of laws covered prophylactics, which included Dean’s Peacocks condoms.

By the mid-1960s, when moral standards began to relax, the sexual revolution took hold of the nation. In 1965, a case that lost in the court system of Connecticut (Griswold v. Connecticut) was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the case won. The ruling that came out of the District of Columbia legalized contraceptives across the United States. Condoms were finally allowed to be advertised and sold as a method of birth control. No longer was packaging required to state: An aid in preventing venereal diseases.

For the Dean Rubber Manufacturing Company, the ruling came too late, because all along they had been marketing Peacocks condoms as high-quality products, which led to Big Brother catching the company with its pants down (pun very much intended…LOL), which led to the lawsuit against the company that was mentioned eight paragraphs ago. The charges brought against Dean included misbranding Peacock condoms, as well as Peacock condoms not living up to Dean’s claims that they prevented venereal diseases.

U.S. government laboratories tested random samplings of Peacock condoms and found that 2.54% of the condoms leaked when tested with water – over twice the FDA’s maximum failure rate of 1%. In other words, Dean was manufacturing inferior condoms – not the high-quality condoms the company claimed. A jury dropped the misbranding charge but convicted the company of producing an inferior product (known as adulteration).

Amazingly, the conviction was only a misdemeanor, so the company paid a fine for its crime and that was the end of it. The court case, however, must have scared the bejesus out of corporate bigwigs, because shortly after the lawsuit ended in 1966, the Dean Rubber Manufacturing Company ceased to exist, and a new entity was formed called the Dean Rubber Company (just like ValuJet Airlines did three decades later, when the company briefly closed down, then reemerged as AirTran Airlines after the fatal crash of one of the company’s jets in the Florida Everglades in 1996).

Two clues provided me with a rough date of manufacture for the Peacock condom box in my collection. First, it was sometime after the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1965, because the box lacks the message about preventing venereal diseases. Second, it was sometime before the company changed its name in 1966, because the name on the box is the company’s original name. A third, lesser clue is the lack of a zip code on the box. The U.S. Postal Service created zip codes in 1963 but didn’t make them mandatory until 1967. To end this article, let it be known that the Dean Rubber Company went out of business in 2004.

Fall Installment of the Indy Ad Show

The Indy Ad Show returned to Lebanon, Indiana, 30 minutes outside of Indianapolis on September 26. The show was graced by beautiful weather, which complemented the pastoral Boone County Fairgrounds setting.

As always, the show featured the "best of the best" and there was something for every collector of vintage advertising. Following recent trends, signs of all types were heavily represented.

The photos below reflect the diversity and high quality of the vintage advertising that was available.

Follow-Up to "Where Have You Gone?"

The September, 2023 issue of the AAAA PastTimes included an article that was written by veteran collector and author, Jerry Glenn. The article featured photos of some of the rare and desirable pieces that were once part of Jerry's impressive collection. Making the point that collectors really do not "own" historical objects, but, rather serve as their "temporary custodians", Jerry wondered out loud where these items are now and who are their custodians? We invited current custodians from our readership to respond.

Although we hoped for more, we did receive one response.

Long-time AAAA member, Sharon Kempfer provided the following enthusiastic response:

The article "Where Have You Gone??" by Jerry Glenn was so interesting and I was thrilled when I realized we had two of the items pictured in our collection - the Star Soap and the Empire Soap. We like prints that tell you to send in so many wrappers and you will get the print without the lettering. Our first acquisition was a Horsford (baking powder) piece we acquired from Showtime Auctions in 2014. Since then we have added six more including the Empire Soap which we purchased from a dealer at the former General Heath's Antiques in Adamstown, PA in 2015. This is likely the one pictured because of the slight imperfection at the bottom just above the inscription "Returning from School" which is shown in the article. The Star Soap was purchased from a Chupp Auction in Shipshewana in 2018. These are all displayed in our home. We are always interested in adding more of these prints to our collection. The only ones we have seen are for soap or baking powder. If you have any of these for sale, please contact us by phone at 260-402-3952 or by email at [email protected]. Thanks.

Photos of the two beautiful prints appear below.

So there you have it. These items from Jerry's collection are out there bringing joy to a new crop of temporary custodians. And so goes it with all collectibles. They are entrusted over and over again to new generations of appreciative custodians. Thanks, Jerry, for helping to bring this reality into focus.

Columbus Collective Museums

Columbus, Georgia boasts of one of the most unusual museums anywhere. Known as the "Columbus Collective Museums" it consists of several diverse, small museums housed under one roof. Some of them would be of special interest to collectors of vintage advertising.

Initially established in 1990 by local businessman and collector Allen M. Woodall, Jr. to display his lunch box collection, this museum has evolved since then into a popular and eclectic attraction for both local residents and tourists alike. According to the museum's web site, it is the "Home of the World-Famous Lunch Box Museum plus five more dazzling displays of unique museums that together showcase local industrial heritage and culture!"

The museums included in this historical assemblage are as follows:

  • The Lunch Box Museum
  • Hatcher Family Cola Museums
  • The Tom Huston Peanut Museum
  • The Georgia Radio Museum
  • The Car Museum
  • The Chero-Cola Story

The museum's web site provides further insight into its history and development, as follows:

Building upon the growing enthusiasm and interest around his first museum, Woodall in 2021 hired his granddaughter Kaitlynn Ward Etheridge, who came from a background in sales with a strong track record in digital marketing, to help hone his vision for a lasting legacy in a vision for multiple museums in one location with specific collection areas of focus that together showcase something much larger than the sum of its parts. Establishing its IRS-certified 501c3 status in June 2021, this initiative has a mission to “present the evolution of pop culture and technology in America — with emphasis on the industrial heritage of Columbus, Georgia — to diverse audiences through colorful displays of unique objects and historical site recreations.”

Officially launched under the Columbus Collective Museums (“Home of the World-Famous Lunch Box Museum”) brand, these individual collections are all housed in the back portion of the Woodall’s River Market Antiques with interpretive signage and guided tours to educate visitors.

The museum is located at 3218 Hamilton Rd in Columbus, GA 31904. General admission tickets cost $10.00 and children under 6 are free. For further information, visit their web site at:

The images below provide a glimpse of what this museum has to offer.

Wanted Items

In this column are those sought-after items of desire that seem to be elusive. If you know where any of these items can be acquired or if you have one available, please click the link to reply directly to the seeker. To place a listing in this column, click here. There is no fee for AAAA members. Up to three listings per member are permitted.

Pre-1885 advertising items related to barbed wire and farm fences. I am interested in primary material. Let me know if you have any items including illustrated catalogs, wire company published newspapers, illustrated postal covers and letterheads, flyers, signs, salesman samples, patent models or anything else related to my specific wants. Larry W. Love, [email protected], 214-497-6787

Continental Cubes tobacco tin 4.75” tall and the 6.0” tall size. Convention Hall coffee tin (Ridenour-Baker Kansas City) any variation. Big Horn 1 lb or 3 lb coffee tin. [email protected]

Philip Morris Tin & Porcelain Advertising Signs, thermometers, door push signs. Excellent to mint condition preferred. Daryl Crawford (804) 721-7294 or email [email protected]

Justrite Pet Foods. The Justrite Company General Office was located in Milwaukee WI. A National Account. Advertising, displays, signs, tins, boxes all with logo on it. Most would come from the 1930s through 1950s. Thanks for the help… Gordon Addington. To reply, click here.

Old Topper Brewery Calendar of the late 1940s featuring a pin up artist nude in large format wanted. Always seeking any Rochester Brewery memorabilia. John DeVolder 585-697-4047 or [email protected].


"Jenny" Genesee Brewing Company's girl of the 1950s. Seeking cardboard point of sale-and other items that feature Jenny, who had a ten-year run from 1953 to 1963. Also interested in any cardboard point of sale items from the 1930s through the 1950s from any of the Rochester Breweries. John DeVolder 585-697-4047 or [email protected].

Coca-Cola 24" button porcelain sign with bottle in center. Want several in as close to mint condition as possible. Call 336-970-9867.


Books on Oil & Gas Collectibles. Also looking for books on signs. Call 336-970-9867.

Yellow Kid wanted: 50 year collector looking for the unusual. Reply to: [email protected].

Pedal Cars: Photos, postcards, calendars, catalogs and advertising related to pedal cars. To reply, click here.

Beer cans, soda cans, beer and soda tin-over-cardboard signs, cork-backed bottle caps, key-wind coffee cans, quart oil cans. Please email Jeff Lebo at [email protected].

Pedal car related items. To reply, click here.

Matchbook holders. To know what these are, see my articles in Checkerboard

for Nov. 2020 and May 2021. I will consider all items, in any material from plastic to gold, and not necessarily with advertising. Email Andy at [email protected].

Cigarette Packs. Advanced collector looking to purchase vintage packs. Please contact Dheeraj by email: [email protected].

Donald Duck Goyer Coffee Cans; One pound can & 3 oz sample size in good condition with lids. Please send email with photos & prices to [email protected].

Morimura Brothers (Japanese import company operating in NYC from 1880-1941) advertising items wanted: trade cards, pamphlets, catalog pages, salesman sample pages, porcelain items with advertising. To reply email at [email protected].


DeLaval Items and Farm Advertising Signs. Always looking for top quality and unique items. Contact Gregg Hillyer at [email protected].

Antique advertising pertaining to country store or drug store products or places. Especially those showing women or girls with the product or location shown. I would consider any  antique advertising (paper, cardboard & metal signs). Quality a plus! Dale Peterson at [email protected].

Unusual one pound peanut butter tins. Tin litho or paper label. To reply, click here.


Marshmallow Tins. Smaller than 5 Pound Size. To reply, click here.


American Cookie, Biscuit and Cracker Tins and Boxes. To reply, click here

Banjo related advertising wanted Pre-1940s. Long time collector buying banjo company signage, catalogs, billheads, periodicals, minstrel banjo items such as posters, broadsides, sheet music (pre-1870s) with illustrated banjo covers, early photographs showing banjo players (pre-1915). My main collecting interest is in 19th century material. To reply, click here.

"Antique American Medicine Bottles" by M. Knapp... soft cover book with price guide. Printed in 2012. [email protected] or 781-248-8620. Also, see my other want ad for Clarke’s ephemera and bottles.

Looking for 3 Vintage Tins. American Eagle "Oriental Mixture" tobacco (dimensions approx. 6.5" long, 2.75" wide, 1.5" tall); 1 Gal. Indian Head Hydraulic Brake Fluid; and Packham´s Caramel Toffee. Any offer is welcome and any condition considered. To reply, click here.

Morton Salt, older items, and also Pacific Coast Borax, especially a crate or box. Email [email protected] or call Peggy Dailey 612-522-9211.

Comic Book-Related Advertising Items: Must be from before 1980. To reply, click here.

Clarke’s Vegetable Sherry Wine Bitters, Sharon, MA & Rockland, ME: All sizes, variants, smooth/pontil base. Especially need labeled Clarke’s any size! Also, any Clarke’s ephemera…trade cards, almanacs, newspaper ads, etc. Charlie Martin Jr., 781-248-8620. Email: [email protected].

George Petty: Advanced collector looking for unique or rare items. Photo’s, store displays and non paper items. NO Esquire pages. Pete Perrault. To reply, click here or call (502) 290-7661.

Ice Cream Advertising: Mr. Ice Cream desires better graphic ice cream advertising including: postcards (Advertising and RPPC), trade cards, letterheads, billheads, booklets, poster stamps, blotters, magic lantern slides, pinbacks, watchfobs, and pocket mirrors. Allan Mellis, 1115 West Montana St. Chicago, Illinois 60614-2220. [email protected] To reply, click here.

Stock food, poultry food, veterinary advertising wanted. Posters, medicine packages, give-aways. Email [email protected] or call (256) 520-5211.

Singer Sewhandy Model 20. Green-regular paint, not hammertone. To reply, click here.

National Biscuit Company, Nabisco, Uneeda Biscuit, Uneeda Bakers, Muth Bakery, NBC Bread toys, signage, tins, containers, displays, historical items. Please Email [email protected] or call (937) 205-2232.

Early Cigarette Rolling Papers: Pre-1940s - American, Zig Zag, Braunstein Freres, Bambino, and Ottoman papers wanted. To reply, click here.

Antique/Collectible Banking and Financial System "Giveaway" and advertising items. Specifically from Pennsylvania. Alarm devices and such. To reply, click here.

VITAMINS advertising, displays, signs, bottles, and anything related: Hadacol is an example. Most would come from the 1930s thru the 1970s. Also anything related to cod-liver oil and WEIGHT-LOSS, REDUCING, ANTI-FAT, and OBESITY ITEMS. To reply, click here.


Early tin signs lithographed by Tuchfarber, Wells and Hope, Worcester Sign Company, Sentenne and Green, etc. I can pay more for good condition, but would be interested in any condition. Don Lurito [email protected] also in the directory. To reply, click here.


Dwinell-Wright Co. Royal Ground Spice Cardboard Spice Boxes. One side displays horizontally. Approximately 3.75" by 2.25". Any type of spice is OK. To reply, click here.


ENSIGN Perfect and ENSIGN Perfection vertical pocket tobacco tins to enhance my collection. Feel free to contact me at 614-888-4619 or [email protected] to see if you can help fill the voids.


Edmands Coffee Company, Edmands Tea Company, 1776 Coffee, American Beauty Tea, Japan Tea, Devonshire Tea, (imported by Edmands, Boston/Chicago): Any items such as tins, signs, paper, or anything else related to the Edmands family of companies in Boston is desired. To reply, click here.

The AAAA Checkerboard is a monthly e-newsletter that is made available to all AAAA members at no cost. The mission of the Checkerboard is to increase knowledge about antique and collectible advertising among AAAA members. The Checkerboard also provides news and updates about AAAA. It is produced each month with the exception of the four months per year when the award-winning PastTimes print newsletter is published. Paul Lefkovitz ([email protected]) serves as the Editor of the AAAA Checkerboard. Copyright 2023, Antique Advertising Association of America.

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