Cool@Hoole

Hidden Pictures are Dynamite!

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I found this unusual bit of advertising while scanning a box from our Perkins collection. The advertisement is promoting the purchase of dynamite for the use of subsoiling. I’m not sure if using a toy-like device with hidden folk-tale pictures is a standard practice in dynamite marketing, but that was the direction that Jefferson Powder Co. of Birmingham, AL decided to take in the 1930’s.

The “device” works by having a picture printed in red ink on top of a separate picture printed in black ink. The eye naturally picks up only the red picture on top, but when you view the picture through a red filter (in this case, a piece of red celluloid film) you can then clearly see the hidden black ink picture. The first set of pictures appear to be a depiction of the folk-tale “Hansel & Gretel”. I am unfamiliar with the story depicted in the second set of pictures.

It is also interesting to note that Jefferson Powder commissioned this advertisement to be printed by “Adv. Novelty Co” of Chicago, but the ad itself was printed in Bavaria, Germany; an early example of outsourcing.

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-Austin Dixon, Digitization Technologist | Hoole Library

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