Terry’s Take: More on the Great Heat Wave of 1936

Posted on: 11:07 pm, July 16, 2013, by

Terry Swails Weather Blog

As I alluded to in my blog last week, the ’36 heat wave (Just breaking at this time 77 years ago) produced 11 consecutive days of highs above 100 and an all-time record 111.3 on the 14th. I dug up some old clippings from the Davenport Democrat that I thought you might find interesting. The headlines speak to the magnitude and severity of the event. The adds speak more of the era and how products were portrayed and marketed.

HEADLINES TAKEN FROM THE DAVENPORT DEMOCRAT JULY 1936

HEADLINES TAKEN FROM THE DAVENPORT DEMOCRAT JULY 1936

Look at the add for Lifebouy soap….absolutely classic. It starts out with screaming headlines “HEATWAVE ON THE WAY!, Democrat readers warned to protect themselves. The weatherman says were in for it, plenty of hot heat! and a stretch of it”.
Then the best paragraph. “Don’t let if find you unprepared! Don’t let the heat wave reduce you to an irritable sweltering pulp”. Then this, YOU CAN BE CLEAN, COOL, AND REFRESHED…FREE OF THE FEAR OF “BO” BODY ODOR. IF YOU FOLLOW THIS RULE! You can read the rest about toilet soap, BO, and glandular deposits on the posted graphic. Can you imagine an ad like that today. That is priceless memorabilia.

ADD FOR LIFEBOUY SOAP OUT OF THE DAVENPORT DEMOCRAT

ADD FOR LIFEBOUY SOAP OUT OF THE DAVENPORT DEMOCRAT

Note too, the add for an air conditioner. AC was in its infancy and few had it. The primary reason was the cost. A window unit went for nearly $300 bucks. Today (77 years later), you can get a cheap unit for $199. Back in ’36 the “Depression” was in full swing and $300 was a fortune. (My dad got fruit for Christmas!) AC was a luxury people just couldn’t afford (about  $5000 in today’s money) so they slept outside or with whirling fans. How times have changed!
When you don’t know the beauty of AC and the difference it makes, you have to be tough. Our relatives before us were just that, tough hard working people. Today we would cry like babies without AC, electricity, TV, and our electronic gadgets. Personally, I would have an awful time without my weather charts but I’m sure I would have a greater appreciation of a cool summer breeze.

KELVINATOR AIR CONDITIONER, A FORTUNE AT $292 IN 1936.

KELVINATOR AIR CONDITIONER, A FORTUNE AT $292 IN 1936.

Here’s to those who paved the way!