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More news from 1924

September 18, 2009
By Howard Riley,

but not from the National Geographic Magazine, as was last week's column, but from the New York Evening Post and the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle of May and October, 1924.

How did I ever come by these old newspapers, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. My friend Billy Donaldson was tearing apart a room he is remodeling at his mother's home and there were all these newspapers in the wall used as insulation 85 years ago.

The surprise for Billy was that the first newspaper he pulled out of the wall had a headline on the sports page dated May 19, 1924 which read "American Rugby Team Wins Final Match from France."

Article Photos

The Giant dirigible being swung into her hangar at Lakehurst and it doesn’t look like its going to fit.
(Illustration from the New York Evening Post)

Billy is one of the stars of the Saranac Lake Mountaineers Rugby Club and one tough hombre, but you could have knocked him over with a feather when he saw that headline.

Here are a couple of excerpts from that story:

(AP) "The American Olympic football team today won its match from France by a score of 17 to 3."

Sub-heads: "Bedlam in the Stands When Crowd Boos Victors" and "Abuse Visitors When French Star Hurt." And another paragraph: "A fist fight broke out in the stands and degenerated into a battle royal in which gold headed canes were freely used. The Americans were outnumbered, and furthermore, they carried no canes with which to retaliate."


The Flight of the Zeppelin

The headline in the New York Evening Post of Wednesday, October, 1924: "ZR-3 Lands Safely in Lakehurst after 5000 Mile Record Flight; City Cheers Silver Vision in Sky". Excerpts from the various stories:

"The ZR-3, all the reparations the United States won in the great war under the Versailles Treaty, arrived today in America. Operating according to plan, Dr. Hugo Eckener brought the giant Zeppelin across the Atlantic in just 79 hours and 44 minutes after flying 5006 miles from Friedrichshafen, Germany to Lakehurst, New Jersey."

Other headlines read: "Giant Dirigible Cuts Capers Above Manhattan for 40 Minutes as Waterfront Goes Wild as She Drops Down to 600 Feet in Swings Around The Bay."

"The airship cut capers over the city, seeming almost to graze the Woolworth Building, while the waterfront roared its welcome, sending thousands of jets of steam into the air from the stacks of the harbor craft.

"Into an Indian summer sunrise the Zeppelin cut her way through the smoke and fog of the lower bay, glided down toward St. George out of the blue haze that spread away to Fire Island and Sandy Hook, and disappeared toward her New Jersey air station."

President Coolidge sent a telegram of greeting to the commander of the airship shortly after it landed in New Jersey, calling the flight "an epochal achievement."

I could not find the overall size of the airship but one story said the "cabin" held 30 passengers and 30 crew members and it could carry 44 tons of cargo in the hold at 80 miles an hour. It was used until 1931 when it was decommissioned.

The most talked about dirigible (Zeppelin is the name of the inventor of an airship, Graf Ferdinand von Zeppelin) was the Hindenburg, which exploded as it was landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, May 6, 1937, killing 35 passengers and crew and one person on the ground. Filled with hydrogen, it ignited, and the cause was never determined. Recently, however, NASA researchers believe it was the result of a highly inflammable new aluminum-lacquer finish on the envelope.


Easier than the gym but you still sweat

Sometimes the ads in these old publications are more amusing than the news stories. Read this ad, directed at women, which was probably invented by the adman for the roll-on deodorant "Ban."

"Reductions of 3 to 6 inches in two months are possible. After a scientific study of many methods it has been proved that a rapid, safe and effective way to reduce superfluous flesh is by inducing perspiration.

"The Miracle Reducer, due to its construction and the material used, causes a gentle pressure on the underlying tissues and by excluding all the air from parts covered, induces perspiration, without any discomfort to the wearer. Made with pure Para rubber that with proper care will last a long time. Hip Reducers $10, Bust Reducers $5. (If that rubber sticks to your body it may last even longer than you want.)


Cost of courting out of control

The headline reads: "Wooing Cost Too High, Pastor Says." A piece of the story reads:

"It is practically impossible for a young man to take a girl out in the evening, where he has to buy two movie tickets, an ice cream soda and the customary box of candy and pay street car or taxi, as the case may be, and get out of it for less than $2 or $3, Dr. Beaten said.

"This has gone to an extreme," he added. "It is not simply the impoverishment of the young man's pocketbook, but it has a tendency to defeat the very purpose of courtship."



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