Pam’s Pictorama: An unexpected bonus of the unpacking earlier today, this card fell out of something and was rediscovered. I remember buying it, but absolutely no idea what it fell out of and why it had been put there. Written in a kid’s hand on the back is Otto Lannaff or maybe Lamnaff? And he outlined the cat’s head which can be seen through the card.
The story of Arctic Baking Powder, if there is one, seems largely lost in the mists of time. While I thought I was onto something when I found information about a man named William Ziegler, who made his fortune in baking powder and then funded an Arctic expedition, he did not in turn name his company Arctic. I was able to piece together the fact that Arctic Baking Powder had a number of entertaining cat cards and this was one in a series. (I also found an advertising card done for them that was earlier than these and it was a snore.) Below is another I found online that was sold on eBay previously which I find equally notable and charming.
The policeman cat, showing this nicely dressed rat clad in a short jacket and politely holding his hat an Arctic Baking Powder sign is very jolly indeed and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What is he telling the rat? “This is good stuff Mr. Rat!” Meanwhile, police kitty is so much more serious than my ribald fellow – mine dancing and winking, a naughty fellow. I like his fang-y grin, cane in hand. Very natty outfit with bow tie and that fat striped tail. It is very hard to see, but in the upper left corner of my card it reads, I had a darling racket last night. I can’t say I know for sure what it means, but clearly – oolala Mr. Cat! Must be a kissing cousin to the kind of racket you are asked by your neighbors to stop making late at night. These could be the same artist, but I am on the fence about that.
So, baking powder. I, for one, used to confuse it with baking soda all the time and had to puzzle through which to buy to keep the cat’s litter box or refrigerator from smelling. There’s something old fashioned seeming about baking powder – although I would imagine it is used in baking as much now as ever. (I was once very fond of baking powder biscuits – a bit heavier than regular ones, but yummy and quick to make.) Baking soda comes in a box and, probably for the reason of some potential chemical interaction, baking powder comes in tin cans. (To digress a moment – I loved when bandaids came in tin boxes. I saved one before they all disappeared – sensed that they were on their way out although they lasted a long time. Always kept spare money in them. Why is there so little tin now?) So, bottom line, I don’t know what this hotsy-totsy kitty was doing with baking powder, but I want some. He must have sold a whole lot of baking powder in his day.