Strange stuff from the 50s and 60s

May 25, 2024
Take a trip down memory lane with vintage treasures from the '50s and '60s. Source: Getty Images.

Are you a Facebook fanatic?  I am.  It’s a cheap way to socialize and catch up on all the gossip, and it’s a better mood elevator than a stiff shot of Starbucks. It’s also a great forum for nostalgia.

Lately, my boomer friends have been posting an array of items from the ‘50s and ‘60s.  I think these images are posted to help fend off Alzheimer’s, assuming you can remember what they are.  I love these posts, and when I look at these contraptions, I’m thrown back to our simple days living on a cul-de-sac named Pacoima Court.

Our cupboards were filled with stuff that eventually became obsolete over time, but back in the ‘50s and ‘60s,  these items dominated every household.

Who remembers Mercurochrome? My twin sister Teresa and I used to paint ourselves silly with this stuff, the stripes making us look like orange zebras. My mother was not happy. Widely used as a general antiseptic, did you know that it was originally introduced to the medical profession as a urinary antiseptic? Gives new meaning to the term “piss off” doesn’t it?

How about those S&H Green Stamps? According to Wikipedia, S&H Green Stamps (also called Green Shield Stamps) were trading stamps popular in the United States from the 1930s until the late 1980s. Our family also collected Blue Chip Stamps. I think we may have redeemed several books to buy a toaster.

Remember those plastic inserts that allowed you to play your 45-RPM records on any turntable with a standard center post spindle? They came in a variety of shapes and colors. I’ll bet I tried to use a few of them to play my sister’s guitar after I smoked a reefer. After the strings broke, I probably hid the guitar and blamed it on the dog.

Did any of your parents have a wringer washing machine? I remember ours, with my mom churning the clothes through the rollers like a real champ. Back then, she sure didn’t need a gym membership to stay in shape. Just doing the laundry for six kids kept her fit and trim.

What about Silly Putty? We’d always smash that flesh-colored stuff on our comics, pull up the wad, and look in amazement at the cartoon on the putty. It was created by accident while doing research into potential rubber substitutes for use by the United States in World War II. Sounds like something Superman would have liked. I used to roll it up in a ball and bounce it all over the house.  I think our dog got it once, and vomited all over the living room. So much for our Silly Putty.

What other items do you remember, and how did you use them?

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