Wanted: Old False Teeth, and other oddities in the newspaper archives

Everyday items from Dayton’s past seem peculiar today


Highlights

Plenty of items from the Dayton Daily News a century ago seem odd today.

Do you have any false teeth lying around?

If you lived in Dayton in 1916, you could find a buyer for them.

PHOTOS: Peculiar newspaper items

I often come across items in early editions of Dayton’s newspapers that remind me of how times have changed. Quirky news items and peculiar advertisements gave newspapers a different flavor compared to today’s periodicals.

An individual at 36 E. First St. in Dayton placed an ad for used choppers under the headline “WANTED TO BUY.” The going price for a full set of used false teeth was $1.10.

PREVIOUS HISTORY EXTRA FEATURES:

John Glenn: How an American hero made an impact on Dayton

Honoring a Dayton hero: Edwin Moses comes home again

Church affirmation of rich Greek history

The collector of old dental work was also interested in bridgework and “broken plates in proportion,” according to the ad. “Bring or mail at once,” it read.

In 1920, Stearns Electric Rat and Roach Paste claimed to be the only thing that could prevent the spread of disease caused by vermin and insects.

“RATS MUST BE KILLED,” read the type above a drawing of an infectious rat. The electric paste was also good for the extermination of mice, cockroaches, ants and waterbugs, “the greatest known destroyers of food supplies and property.”

The deadly product was described as creating “a desire in these pests to run from the building for water and fresh air, dying outside in a few moments.”

» NEWS IN YOUR INBOX: Sign up for our email newsletters on the topics you love

The headline, “THE GRIM REAPER IN MIAMI VALLEY” introduced readers to the obituaries in a 1916 edition of the Dayton Daily News. The bleak and somewhat unnerving wording stands out in contrast to today’s “In Memoriam” pages of the newspaper.

And while we’re on the subject of death, a short news story in an early local edition detailed the resurrection of an Urbana man.

Napoleon Powers headed to Alaska in 1894 to seek his fortune, but his relatives believed he had died when they learned a steamer called the “Islander” had sunk.

His family mourned his death for years, but his wife never gave up hope and wrote to the governor of Alaska for help.

» EXCLUSIVE CONTENT: Download our apps to get the news you want, how you want it

Powers, who had become “very wealthy” while in Alaska, saw his wife’s plea published in a local newspaper and “wrote that he would soon return home.”

Today, we don’t worry about having enough coal to keep us warm through the winter, but in 1918 the Peoples Fuel Co. made sure the Dayton community knew it should plan ahead for an ample supply.

“LAY IN YOUR COAL NOW!” barked an early advertisement, which noted a labor shortage could prohibit a warm winter.

“Coke, in chestnut and egg sizes,” was available for furnaces, stoves and grates. Residents could do “their own hauling” or the company could conveniently “dump into your wagon.”

When is the last time you came across a lost carrier pigeon?

In 1933 “an exhausted carrier pigeon” was found by Ray Paul outside of his home at 307 Grafton Ave.

The newspaper brief detailed the band found on his right leg had the number 2554. An inscription on the left leg read, “Columbus, O., H-44.”

And sometimes on especially slow news days, ink and newsprint were spent on the purely whimsical.

A description of “an eccentric individual” losing his hat in a “stirring breeze” and then taking “French leave… through the mud and dirt” on Third Street was deemed worthy of mention.

ABOUT THIS FEATURE

HISTORY EXTRA is a weekly pictorial history feature showcasing the Miami Valley’s rich heritage. If you have a unique set of historic photos found in your parents’ or grandparents’ attic that depicts the past in the Miami Valley, contact Lisa Powell at 937-225-2229 or at Lisa.Powell@coxinc.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Deputies respond to shooting in Harrison Twp. 
Deputies respond to shooting in Harrison Twp. 

Montgomery County deputies are investigating a reported shooting that occurred late Tuesday night. The incident occurred in the 4300 block of Fair Oaks Road around 11:55 p.m. Additional details are expected to be released this morning. We will update this story as it develops. 
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Warming trend, dry weather through the week
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Warming trend, dry weather through the week

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—Another cool start to the day is expected with lots of sunshine, according to Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell. Temperatures will rebound back above normal with highs reaching up to near 70 degrees by late afternoon. Quiet and dry weather will stick around the rest of the week as a slow warming trend...
Tax refund mystery solved

A couple contacted the Ombudsman office because they were missing a municipal income tax refund. The couple had already called the municipality, and learned the check had been issued several weeks earlier, but that it was mailed to the wrong address. Staff at the municipality outlined a complicated process for issuing a replacement check, so the couple...
While others have fallen, nursery still blooming after 85 years
While others have fallen, nursery still blooming after 85 years

AUBURN, Calif. — No glitzy neon signage. No giant billboards. In fact, if you motor too quickly along Nevada Street in Auburn, you might just miss Eisley Nursery. The business has been firmly entrenched since Herbert Hoover was president. Today, nearly a dozen members of the Eisley family, spanning three generations, work at the site. While other...
Private Japanese garden is ‘piece of art and piece of history’
Private Japanese garden is ‘piece of art and piece of history’

BELLEVUE, Wash. — The koi pond is clouded with algae. Invasive cattails obscure the arching bridge between garden and lake. But a noted Seattle-area landscape architect sees in the neglected, private garden on Bellevue’s Phantom Lake a legacy of the culture and history of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest, including their internment...
More Stories