There have been some pretty unique pieces of advertising memorabilia distributed in York County, Pennsylvania over the years. Some of the most interesting examples would be from funeral homes, and included dustpans and even ice cream scoops. Last night I found another interesting item that I had to add to my collection: a vintage flyswatter complete with an extendable handle.
A flyswatter to market a business?
Now I’ve seen items like this before but the cost of those would have been detrimental to my streamlined budget. Basically, I’m a cheapskate when it comes to “junk shopping” and prefer to leave with an armload of inexpensive items than one costly item. Isn’t being a cheapskate a key part of being a “true” York Countian?
What I thought was really cool about this flyswatter was the fact that it features an extendable handle. You can go from 24 1/2 inches to 38 1/2 inches of fly-swatting power in seconds, great for those hard-to-reach flies. You won’t get a high-tech feature like that from today’s cheap plastic swatters.
It’s pretty interesting to see how the actual “swatter” was crafted. It is made of heavy wire mesh, similar to what you would find in a screen window or door. A thin strip of material is sewn to the edges of the screen, and finally two of the corners are folded over and stapled to the wooden handle.
The business that used this marketing campaign was Philip O. Bowman – Insurance, which was found at 121 Baltimore Street in Hanover. I love the phone numbers of yesteryear, including the one for the business which was 7-5227.
It’s not clear when Philip started his insurance business, but I’d estimate this item was from the 1950s, give or take a decade or so. I’ve been told his son “Nordy” also worked at the business over the years. I’m hoping to speak with him and learn more about his father and the business. When I do I’ll certainly write a follow-up story.
In the meantime, if you have information to share about this story, or any other topic related to York County history, please let me know.
- You can see what types of items I collect for my research by taking at look at the York County Memorabilia page.