Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 1919 - Halloween Number

It's October and time for the "Halloween Number" of En-ar-co's National News trade journal. Aside from a few pumpkins, there's not much in this issue that stands out as particularly Halloweeny. No witches, no monsters, not a trick-or-treating child anywhere. Although, I must say, the huge pumpkin on the cover is quite impressive. I guess I'm just used to the over-the-top Halloweeniness of things today. And after all, these guys were just trying to sell you their petroleum products.

Night Driving Part 1

A little solo night driving in cars taken from the yet-to-be-invented Monopoly game, under a full moon (one with a face yet), two cemeteries, and two examples of early twentieth-century road rage. Although the first angry guy looks like he's cursing the long-buried dead, I'm pretty sure he is mad about the cheap low-grade oil products he has used in his car. (See angry man #2).
Of course the smug, contented pair on the bottom used the good stuff from En-ar-co and putt happily along in the dark.

Night Driving Part 2

This drawing combines the Monopoly-piece car with the Halloween Jack-O-Lantern theme. Racing down the road at night lighting their way with a candle in a pumpkin seems a bit reckless to me, but... it is just a cartoon.
If only the speed crazed couple above took their eyes off the road for just a second they might glimpse the moonlit scene below. Cornstalks in the moonlight.A Treat

I just like this drawing. Strong hand-lettering. A hearty handshake between an engineer and a barrel of valve oil. The border around the title and even the enigmatic artist's signature together make this one a treat.

Oil through the nightAt this time in the mid-west of the U.S. not all farms had electricity. Farmers relied on kerosene or other fuels to bring light into their homes at night. En-ar-co was one of many suppliers of light oil for the home.


Here's a handful of knee-slappers for you. A smart-mouthed kid joke, a joke in black "Rastus" dialect, a Jay Leno-newspaper ad joke, a joke about a cross-eyed girl, an Italian dialect joke, another Rastus joke, and a nice aphorism to finish things off.
Random Drawings

Now that's scary!

Oil for your auto, oil for your lamps, for your incubators, your tractors, stove.
And oil for your constipation.
It's mineral oil. It's not a laxative.
It just greases the sluice, so to speak.

Is it customary for mineral oil to be produced by a petroleum oil company? I don't know, it just seems weird to me.
Get wise !

This is nice. A big drawing of an owl, top and bottom.

Sorry about the yellow crayon across the eyes. I'm sure the culprit has been apprehended.

Monday, September 1, 2008

September 1919 - Annual School Number

Today is Yesteryear

September 2008 and September 1919 share the same calendar. I thought that was cool so I copied this from the cover and put it here. A good way to start this blog I think.

"The National News - Oil Trade Journal" was published by The National Refining Company (EN-AR-CO) and I presume it was a free hand-out to the customers of their products. As time goes on we will see the many products offered by this company. Advertising was the big reason for these issues being printed, but the jokes and cartoons were probably the reason the customers ever bothered to take or keep them.

Each of these monthly brochures, or "Number",
was themed to the month or season of its publication. This one being September is the "Annual School Number".
Inside you can expect jokes about kids not liking school and coming up with funny answers to Teacher's questions. There will also be many nice spot drawings illustrating the pages.

The cover was printed in two colors on thicker, slicker paper stock than the inside pages. The inside is a newsprint stock and has oxidized a bit. These brochures have twenty pages, counting the cover, and are stapled twice in the fold.
click image to enlarge

On this month's cover we see a movie actress from Universal Films surrounded by a group of little girls. It looks like the kid on the far left is going to be trouble for the new schoolmarm. Often there is information somewhere inside regarding the movie and actress featured on the cover, in this issue I can't find anything. If anyone knows who this is or what film it's from, please let me know.


In an attempt at anthropomorphizing their product they have given us these barrels:


And in keeping with the school theme, we have kids writing on slates (pre dry-erase board) and kids vandalizing fences and walls with graffiti (pre Krylon) all in the service of The National Refining Company:


Here's a cartoon of a child, unhappy to be in school. Yes, the middle-aged man in the drawing below is a child. You know this by the big floppy polka-dot bow-tie which is this cartoonist's shorthand for "school boy". I just like the drawing and I remember the feeling.

A joke about a boring class and a joke about boats not getting paid due to tardiness.

"It is an eagle." "It is not an eagle. It is an ork." "It is not an ork. It is an owl." "It is neither, it is an ostrich."

Apparently this next one needs a bit of explaining. The joke hinges on the use of the word "lamp". The teacher uses it in its traditional definition, while Willie uses "lamp" in its slang definition meaning "eye". Willie's ignorance of literature in general and "Aladdin's Lamp" in particular shows itself, as does his role of class bully, when he replies to the teacher's question with the proud confession that he just beat-up the new kid, blackening his eye in the process.

Now it's funny.

What can be said about pants that hasn't been said already?

1 a
: of or relating to bile

b: marked by or suffering from liver dysfunction and especially excessive secretion of bile
: appearing as if affected by a bilious disorder
: of or indicative of a peevish ill-natured disposition
: sickeningly unpleasant

Smart-alecky kid!!

Three from the old classroom sketch.

Did you hear the one about the child and the old lady caller?

Hash! and Small Bessie comes clean. (They kinda sound like Mary Pickford film titles.)

Not bad. Wish I knew this one when I was in school.