Out of the blackout, into the boom years
Tracing 1940s America through ads
The aftermath of World War II brought unprecedented pride and prosperity to the American people. From Western Electric communication tools (for “the modern battle”) to Seagram’s whiskey (for “Men Who Plan Beyond Tomorrow”) to the Hoover vacuum (“For every woman who is proud of her home”), the post-war era represented a flood of products and services for every occasion.
Combining social, corporate and graphic history, this new hardcover edition of 40s ads follows America’s development through the anxieties of war to the buying-frenzy of peace. These colorful signs of the times feature both blasts from the past and many brand names still going strong today. It’s hard to believe that the company who made your ultra-compact mobile phone was once advertising portable radios with “Motorola: More radio pleasure for less money,” or that Electrolux didn’t have any qualms about using Mandy, the portly black maid, to promote their new silent refrigerators: “Lor-dy, it sure is quiet!”
Through motorcars, cigarettes, lipsticks and cans of Cambell’s soup, this is an at once entertaining and eye-opening survey of the fears, fads and dreams that characterized a decisive decade. The editor:
Cultural anthropologist and graphic design historian Jim Heimann is Executive Editor for TASCHEN America, and author of numerous books on architecture, pop culture, and the history of the West Coast, Los Angeles, and Hollywood. His unrivaled private collection of ephemera has been featured in museum exhibitions around the world and in dozens of books.
The contributing author:
W. R. Wilkerson III is a freelance journalist, songwriter and author of The Man Who Invented Las Vegas (Ciro’s Books, 2000). His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and USA Today, among others. Wilkerson currently resides in Southern California with his son.