I thought it might be fun to share some of the past technologies and images that inspired or were described in my soon-to-be-published novel. My Soul To Keep is the story of a young woman who escapes her sheltered life and discovers personal, social, and political wrongs that must be righted. It takes place in the United States but in an alternate history. I had fun combing historical vehicles, communications, manufactured goods, and fashion. I had fun finding things rarely seen today. This is a small sample from My Soul to Keep.
Autogiro (or Autogyro)
Photo by Agustin Ruzafa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Hudson Motor Car Company, founded in 1909, became the eleventh-largest American car company. The Hudson’s peak was in 1929. Unfortunately, the Hudson could not recover from the Great Depression. Learn More.
Photo by duggar11 (Duncan, OK Car Show, 1951 Hudson Hornet) [CC BY 2.0(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Burma Shave Signs
Burma Shave was an American brand of shaving cream first introduced in 1925. The Burma-Shave sign series first appeared on U.S. Highway 65 near Lakeville, Minnesota, in 1926. It remained a major advertising component along highways in the continental U.S. until 1963. Learn More.
Photo courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Public Phone Booths
According to Time the first “telephone cabinet” was patented in 1883. The place of installation is unknown but thought to have been in high-dollar hotels.
Photo by DanTD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Mimeograph was a low-cost duplicator. You typed or used a specialized stencil to write information on the stencil paper. The typewriter keys removed a portion of the paper, making that section of the paper permeable. Paper was fed between the roller and an impression drum to force ink through the stencil. The ink had a distinct odor and often stained your hands. We called the paper copies “Dittos.” Learn More.
Photo by Kotivalo (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Elvis Presley, Gospel Singer
Elvis received his first guitar, a gift from his mother, on his eleventh birthday. Gospel music was an important early musical influence. He won three Grammys for his Gospel albums and was posthumously inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Learn More.
Dotted Swiss Party Dress
Dotted Swiss is a sheer cotton fabric embellished with small dots. It’s often used in baby clothes, wedding dresses (currently), and curtains. My character’s dress is similar to the vintage dress pictured here, though with a more modest neckline.
Photo courtesy of kimvintage on Etsy.
The pillbox hat, invented in the 1930s, is a small woman’s hat with a flat crown, straight sides, and no brim. Pillboxes were made out of animal furs, wool, and organdy among many other fabrics. According to Wikipedia, its precursor was military headgear and is named after small cylindrical or hexagonal boxes that pills were sold in. Learn More.