The space under our floorboards is a small time capsule. There are at least four generations of electric wiring, old gas piping and the evolutionary history of plumbing lead to plastic. All this and litter left by electricians, plumbers and carpenters over the better part of a century. I’m currently my own builder working my way round the house after a long period of neglect, initially my intention was to leave as much stuff undisturbed as possible but it has been necessary to clear some junk to get straight pipe and cable runs. It’s a nice change from software development but it can be a little dull and dirty, however, the litter has made some of the work seem like historical research. The first generation of electrical wiring was made by W.T. Henley who at one time made submarine cables. Some of the older copper piping is a reminder of Yorkshire Imperial Metals. Fag packets and bits of clay pipe have been found in several places.
Maybe, until the 1960s smoking was what a lot of people did and many of those who had lived through the war had taken up smoking to calm their nerves. In my youth, I worked in a factory and the tea breaks were sometimes referred to as a “smoko”.
Whilst poking around under a bedroom floor, I came across an empty packet of “Weights”. My mother smoked “Weights”, I think because they were a step-up from Woodbines (a.k.a. Woodies) and did not give you yellow fingers like “Senior Service”. The fags were gone, but the card remained, I guess it was discarded sometime between 1935 and 1938.
It is No. 36 in John Player’s Civil Aviation Series and describes a Lockheed Vega. These cards were advertising and designed to encourage brand loyalty but the picture and the text on the reverse are not too far removed from what you might find in “The Observer’s Book of Aircraft”.
I know little about cigarette cards other than what I have seen a car-boot sales, but it seems that if you just looked at the cards and read the paragraph on the back, you would be slightly better educated and have a knowledge of things that are beyond normal experience. I can’t think of a current from or commercial interaction which has that effect.
The text on the reverse is:
This surface is adhesive. Ask your tobacconist for the attractive album (price one penny) specially prepared for the complete series.
A series of 50 selected by the editor of “The Aeroplane”
No. 36 – Lockheed Vega (USA)
The “Vega” is a successful high speed type of small commercial monoplane built in the United States
in considerable numbers. It carries a pilot, situated in a cockpit just below the leading edge of the wing and six passengers in a small Cabin behind. The late Cmdr. Glen Kidston ‘used a” Vega” on his record-breaking flight to the Cape and the machine illustrated was flown round the world in 187 fly-
hours by Wiley Post in 1933. Miss Amelia Earhart also used a “Vega” on the first solo flight across the Pacific in January 1935.
John Player and Sons
Branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company of Great Britain and Ireland Ltd.