Sunday, April 6, 2014

Object of the Day: A Trade Card for Acme Soap

Click on the image to be uplifted.

I would, personally, be very upset if—while showering or, even, washing dishes or clothes—whatever soap I had employed became so frothy and lathery that it lifted me up off of the ground. I think it would be terrifying and upsetting.

This little fellow, however, seems delighted by it. But, that’s okay because, it appears that he has fallen down a well. Not a dry well, either—a well full of water. So, in this instance, I suppose that being elevated by soap would be preferable to drowning.

Conveniently, the well’s cranky-thing says, “Use Acme.” I guess that’s what gave the girl the idea to toss her brother the bar of Acme Soap to save his life—as opposed to, say, a rope or something. Thankfully, she either had some soap or the well’s owner leaves a convenient basket of it outside. Still, oddly enough, she seems surprised that her plan worked.

She asks, “Why is the foam bringing him up?” Well, Honey, why’d you toss him a bar of soap?

She also doesn’t seem to notice that the words, “The Best Bar Soap Made” float ominously near her head.

Though I joke, I think this is actually a beautiful card. It has all the things that I like about trade cards—the fine printing, the charming images, the brilliant, very-Victorian colors, and, yes, a little weirdness.

What sets this trade card apart from the others in my collection is that on the reverse, there’s not the usual florid ad copy, but a space to use the card as a receipt. Acme Soap provided these cards to retailers who would employ the cards to keep a tally of a customers’ purchases.

This one says:




And, on the bottom…
The very best materials are used in the
manufacture of this soap. 

Apparently, this card was going to be used to record the purchases of “Edna” who, it seems bought nothing. 

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