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Crazy Ads From 1952

Dangerous products and fantastic claims; ya gotta love these vintage ads!

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An ad for an air cushion appliance, whatever that means | Construction Pro TipsThe Family Handyman

What the..?

Air Cushion appliance? I’m pretty sure this is an anti-hernia apparatus, but they really don’t go out of their way to clarify. I suppose it’s the 1952 version of clickbait. But they claim “Thousands Happy,” with their “…heavenly comfort and security…,” so there’s that.  

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A page of ads for educational books | Construction Pro TipsThe Family Handyman

Be all that you can be

Locksmithing, Hypnotism, Super Ju Jitsu, Swedish Body Massage, that sounds like a pretty wild party! And, if you order two or more items and send in a special coupon (closer look below) you will receive, free of charge, the most unusual text, “HOW TO GET ALONG IN THIS WORLD.” It’s the mother of all self-help books.

A coupon for books | Construction Pro TipsThe Family Handyman

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An ad for a power drill and saw combo tool | Construction Pro TipsThe Family Handyman

The combo platter

Combination tools like this were much more common years ago. This one cuts, polishes, grinds, sands, drills, and mixes. It’s not unlike the Ridgid JobMax platform (below). But I’m guessing that the tools below costs more than $26.88.

A RIDGID JobMax MultiTool

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An ad for a 5-room house for less than $2000 | Construction Pro TipsThe Family Handyman

A 5-room house for under $2,000!

Did you know that you can still order a house this way? Except a similar package costs more than $30,000 these days. But I bet you would save more than $21 per day if you built it yourself. 

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An ad for a fancy oldschool lawnmower | Construction Pro TipsThe Family Handyman

What a mower!

“How’ya Trade Cousin.” Translation: “I will trade my lawnmower for yours.” “Not for a dozen.” Translation: “I wouldn’t trade my mower for a dozen of yours.” Her mower really does appear to be doing a much better job. And it’s so easy to use, you can mow in your sandals! 

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An ad for a remote control sprinkler | Construction Pro TipsThe Family Handyman

Remote Control

Sure, it might not be as convenient as a modern day six-zone irrigation system, but it’s remote control people! I get the pulling the hose bit, but I’m not exactly sure how one pushes a hose? 

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An ad for insulting cards | Construction Pro TipsThe Family Handyman

Offend your friends and family!

All of these ads came from old issues of The Family Handyman (A CPT sister publication), but that doesn’t mean we can’t poke fun at ourselves. I wonder how many guys who used these cards had to build a doghouse…for themselves. I also love the claim that you can save up to $2000 per issue; now that’s a bargain!

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A vintage ad for a table saw | Construction Pro Tips

Check out these ads from 1951 (below)

Is this a good deal?

At first glance, $46.50 seems a pretty fair price for a Tilt Arbor Saw (aka table saw). But never forget to read the fine print, people: “Less extensions, switch and motor.” No motor? I’m guessing there were at least a few unboxing disappointments with this bad boy. Never before- SO MUCH DECEPTION, for SO LITTLE MONEY!

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A vintage ad for a magnetic tool holder | Construction Pro Tips

All for $5.85!

At first, I thought it was just the magnet organizer, but “A carefully selected trio…” is also included. That’s a pretty good deal. Although I’m not sure what a “tool house” is.

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Vintage ad for a jig saw sander filer and blower | Construction Pro Tips


This is a lot of tool for under $15. I’m dubious that the blower on this machine is useful enough to be categorized as “1” of the “4” tools. I’ll give it a 1/2. And why did they call it a “jig saw” when it looks like a scroll saw? At least this tool actually comes with a motor and a switch.

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A vintage ad for a Super Jet Tablet Fuel Blow Torch | Construction Pro Tips

Fire-breathing tablet

A 2000-deg. torch without an off-switch, strapped to the end of a toothbrush, what could go wrong? I wonder how many houses burnt down before they pulled this fire-hazard-nightmare from the shelves? Admittedly, however, if these tablets were still available I would absolutely have a box of them in my shop. Not sure what I would use them for- probably some practical joke that I would later regret.   

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A vintage ad for a speedy spray painter | Construction Pro Tips

No motor?

Apparently selling tools without motors was a thing back in 1951. The Speedy Spray 444 can be powered with an electric motor or gas engine.

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Vintage ad for 3-in-1 oil | Construction Pro Tips

The test of time

3-IN-ONE OIL is still around and so is Plastic Wood! I wonder if the agency who came up with this creepy enlarged-head concept can say the same?

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Pocket tool kit | Construction Pro TipsFamily Handyman

Wait a minute…

I thought Tim Leatherman invented the first multi-tool with a pliers. Says here that this one was made by famous French craftsmen (who shall remain nameless). Seems fishy…

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A vintage ad for a 36-piece electric work kit | Construction Pro Tips

Metal is scarce!

Metal is so scarce that they couldn’t afford to cover up the electric motor’s copper coil windings. I’m thinking it might be best to skip the “mixing” process with this electric work kit. Remember kids: liquids + electricity = no good.

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Vintage ad for a circular saw blade that "stopped all kickbacks" | Construction Pro Tips

Fear sells

After seeing this guy getting conked in the head with a flying board, you’re darn right I’m buying a PTI Original Safety Blade. After all its, “tested and approved by leading laboratories, government agencies, and industrial concerns.” I’m thinking the “government agencies” might just be a brother-in-law who works for the post office? Hmmmm.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by The Construction Pro Tips editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback.