Tag: Catalogs

Highlights From a Johnson Smith Company Ad

While the name may not ring a bell to everyone, I’m sure you grew up seeing these ads in comic books and marveling at the wonders they promised. Let’s check out some of the items offered that intrigue me.

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These ads changed through the years as new products were introduced, but I don’t think they ever really discontinued many items. I would assume everything was pretty much always available because I seem to remember actual bound catalogs being available at some point. I always wanted things I saw in these ads, but could never save any of my allowances on weekends long enough to get a money order to get anything with. So let’s look at some of the things I found interesting through my young years in this ad.

X-Ray Vision Glasses

Ok. So what red-blooded pre-teen boy wouldn’t want something like this? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what we would have in mind when ordering these. That little line there about being able to see-through clothes probably sold more pairs of these than anything else. But according to the fabulous book, Mail-Order Mysteries, these were just an optical illusion created by feather-like things between two pieces of cardboard with little holes in them. What a bummer. I wish I had never ready that, as I had spent my whole life wondering “what if?”.

Pocket Spy Telescope

Now this is a cool little gadget. Imagine carrying around a telescope in your shirt pocket. I know it couldn’t possibly magnify things too much, but for something that small that fits in your pocket, it had to magnify enough to make it cool. It could have been the start of a budding spy career.

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