Sunday, July 20, 2008

1930s "Lifetime Elgin" Poster

I picked up this old advert (not a poster, really, but a leaf from a magazine) yesterday at one of our local shops, Paper Antiquities.  The store is amazing, and the owner is very friendly.  If you're ever in San Diego, check them out.  

I love the visual style of the ad, and I even borrowed a bit for the new banner head for the blog, which I think turned out wonderfully.  But it was the text that really won me over:

On city streets or country roads the Lifetime ELGIN is the popular choice of boys and men the country over.  Its smooth, easy action gives a new sense of freedom, of speed, of luxurious pleasure.  You'll revel in the convenience of its appointments and admire the sturdiness of its construction.  Whether commuting to and from work, going to school, using it for business or for purposes of recreation, you'll find the LIFETIME ELGIN an efficient, dependable and less-tiring means of transportation.  As a value it is beyond compare.

I've never ridden an Elgin before (it was the pre-WWII Sears, Roebuck and Company make, replaced after the war by J.C. Higgins), but this description makes me want to.  It's the utilitarian aspect of the description that I like so much--recreation is literally the last use they mention.  The emphasis is on "sturdiness" and on using the bicycle as transportation, which is a realization we're only just now making again.  However, for those who would romanticize an earlier era, on the back is an ad for Allstate automobile tires, so it wasn't all "luxurious" bicycling pleasure and apple-cheeked lads on bikes in those days.  Still pretty neat, though.


  1. Did you notice that the Elgin uses Allstate bicycle tires?

  2. Well, look at that. Sears really knew how to sell a product.