Exactly 100 years ago today, Thomas Edison ran an ad in the New York Tribune offering last minute Christmas gift ideas. Coincidentally, all of Edison’s ideas were powered by the electric current, which was supplied exclusively by the New York Edison Company.
And if you can find something electrical and expensive to purchase for a loved one, it will be a source of satisfaction to Thomas Edison all the year!
Let’s examine a few practical gift ideas first. You can’t go wrong with the Electric Milk Warner, nor the Electric Washer. Now who enjoys getting up in the middle of the night, and bringing in kindling from the woodshed to heat milk for a very bald infant?
And you know that hauling in water to wash your family’s laundry can be a real drag.
And in this poor woman’s case, all these household chores must be accomplished while wearing a Marie Antoinette wig. Seriously, what is that about? People in 1912 didn’t dress like that. Do you think all the young hipsters of the day saw this ad and had a good laugh about how unhip Edison was?
Well, Edison was not trying to be Tommy Hilfiger. He was an inventor; a ruthless, unrelenting, self-promoting inventor. And he was the last guy who would tell you that life is all work and no play (especially if there was a chance it would prevent you from buying one of his products). Edison believed you should be out; out on the town, having a good time.
The Electric Runabout is some kind of early convertible that looks fun but impractical for someone with Marie’s elaborate hairstyle, or for a guy who wears an enormous plume in his hat.
I’ll admit, the Electric Brougham is kind of fascinating. There’s no horse. There’s no engine. What propels it forward? Maybe it’s controlled by the driver’s 3-cornered revolutionary hat.
Finally, Thomas Edison suggested a couple of gifts that look pretty neat. For instance, provided I used it more wisely than Marie, I would like to have an Electric Hair Curler.
I’m genuinely interested in this Electric Boudoir Lamp. For reals.
Interested? Of course you are.
Given the popularity of these items, it’s a good idea to call ahead to reserve your Electric Brougham.
Is your phone missing the Worth button? Back in the day, there used to be words in phone numbers. You were supposed to align the first two letters of the word to the letters next to each number on the phone. So if you want to call Worth 3000, dial 96-3000. Did you just get an immediate urge to figure out your old-fashioned phone number? I’m going to use Pringles in front of my number.
And in Edison’s honor, let’s plug these Christmas lights into the current, and get ready for a very electrical Christmas!