Home Entertainment These Odd Vintage Products Totally Wouldn’t Fly Today

These Odd Vintage Products Totally Wouldn’t Fly Today

Monica February 6, 2024

The 1950s was a different time and really a different world. Back then, many products and ads were marketed that would seem wildly inappropriate and just wrong today. We wouldn’t say everyone was more naive back then, but there was certainly less research when it came to things like medicine and cigarettes.

We can’t blame them in retrospect for using things that are incredibly dangerous nowadays but we can only laugh at the fact that they once existed. Check out some truly strange vintage products and ads that just wouldn’t fly today here.

rare historical photos

Doctor’s Smoke

Nowadays, you’ll never hear the words “doctor’s smoke” together in a sentence. Everyone knows how bad cigarettes are for you and doctors are the ones who know the detrimental outcomes of smoking cigarettes. This is an ad for Camel cigarettes, and according to them, they surveyed more than 113,000 doctors who chose Camel as their preferred cigarette of choice. As they claim, your “T-Zone” will tell you if Camel cigarettes are right for you (Rare Historical Photos).


Move Your Cube With Cube Lube

We’re not sure if this entire ad is a euphemism or if it’s actually for a Rubix Cube, but either way, it’s not something that anyone would be buying today. You can use this with all types of toys and puzzles that have moving parts, not just your Rubix Cube. Either way, the users of Reddit found it hilarious and reminisced that “WD-40 was my first cube lube,” though that probably wasn’t as effective as Cube Lube (via Reddit).


No Flies On Me

There’s a reason many household items are discontinued today and it’s because of their toxic ingredients. This product in particular is advertising DDT, an incredibly toxic product. According to the CDC, “Following exposure to high doses, human symptoms can include vomiting, tremors or shakiness, and seizures. Laboratory animal studies show DDT exposure can affect the liver and reproduction. DDT is a possible human carcinogen according to U.S. and International authorities.” Instead, this ad showcases a baby who is happily saying it uses DDT on its walls, doorways, floors, and every possible spot in the house (via Pinterest).


Cultural Appropriation From Pepsi

Nothing screams cultural appropriation more than this Pepsi-Cola ad from 1962. This woman, who’s holding a Pepsi-Cola sign across her body, is wearing a Native American headdress. While the ad itself isn’t inappropriate, the headdress would create a lot of controversy today (via Pinterest).


The Pilot’s Secret

Let’s just hope pilots didn’t take Amphetamines to stay awake back in the 1950s. Surprisingly, this ad was allowed to suggest something so horrible and illegal, considering how dangerous it is. Perhaps it was a parody, since it says “Watch out Canadians, here comes the USAF!” But you never know who took it too seriously (via Pinterest).


Candy Cigarettes

Could you imagine walking into a grocery store and seeing a pack of Candy Cigarettes for sale, with the saying, “Just like dad!” Not only would they be ripped from the shelves, but there would probably be a lawsuit. If you look closely, you’ll also see “Surgeon generals agree, candy cigarettes are tastier and healthier than real cigarettes.” We feel sorry for anyone who thought real cigarettes were healthier than these candy ones. Either way, this is one way to trick a kid into thinking cigarettes are good for you (via Medium).


Cook and Wash on Your Refrigerator!

This ad from 1952 is a fire waiting to happen. They did exist, and the users of Reddit remember that the fridge never truly kept anything cold. Reddit users also explained how they worked. They said, “It’s just gas burners and a little sink on top of a mini fridge. The gas burners aren’t a problem. Adding a stove on top that gets used a few hours a day (probably minutes) isn’t a big deal. The real problem is that cheap mini fridges almost always suck. They’re made by putting the cooling coil directly inside the unit instead of having a fan pushing air over the coil into the main space.” Most likely, they didn’t work at all (via Reddit).


Wonder Sauna Hot Pants

If this ad made you laugh out loud, you’re not alone. These people look like they’re wearing balloon pants and are ready to jump into the pool and float. It’s the most ’70s product to ever hit the market. People nowadays wouldn’t be caught wearing these, unless it was for a costume party. They were invented to help you lose a few extra pounds, and according to MeTV, “You inflated the rubber shorts and wore them around the house for a while. You could theoretically leave the house, but we don’t think many people did. Because of the heat, your body would sweat more than usual, causing you to lose a few extra ounces of water weight.” Luckily, they’re not around anymore (via MeTV).

Pharmacy Techs

Tired? Drink Coca-Cola

Back then, naps weren’t a thing. Nor was drinking water. If you are tired, you should grab a Coca-Cola instead. This ad claims it relieves exhaustion. That’s probably thanks to its high sugar and caffeine content, which is enough to keep you awake for hours past your bedtime (via Pharmacy Techs).


Cocaine Tooth Drops

It’s hard to imagine a time when cocaine was casually used for tooth drops. This ad claims it was an instantaneous cure, and only priced at 15 cents. There’s no way they would casually advertise cocaine toothdrops nowadays, considering how illegal and dangerous it is. This probably explains why a lot of people were missing teeth back then since the drops did nothing more than soothe the pain instead of fixing the underlying issue (via Reddit).

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Solar Bath Apparatus

Back in the day, there was a time when sticking your entire head into a metal box (supposedly) cured head diseases. In reality, it looks like torture. According to the ad, “the main purpose is to cure sicknesses of the head,” using ultraviolet rays. It’s left unknown what illnesses of the head needed such intense curing as this one (via Vintage).


Cigarette Case Hat

This is an ad for a hat that’s designed to hold your case of cigarettes around your head, so you never have to carry them around in your purse. Simply reach up, grab a cigarette, and start smoking! What’s a better way to save time than grabbing a cigarette from the top of your head? Nothing! (via Gigazine).

Rare Historical Photos

Light Up A Marlboro, Mom

Back then, it was normal for babies to suggest their mothers grab a cigarette and smoke before scolding them. There are too many things wrong with this product to count. This is a true ad from the 1950s, and they strategically used a baby to market cigarettes to women, in the hopes it would seem more appealing coming from a baby (via Snopes).

Pharmacy Techs

Steady Nerves

If you take Nervine, nothing bothers you anymore. We’re not sure what’s really in this previously legal substance, but it doesn’t sound healthy. The ad claims that when you’re “restless, sleepless, and nervous,” use Nervine to calm yourself down. It sounds more like an illegal drug that knocks you out than something considered healthy (via Pharmacy Techs).


This 1950s Sears Advertisement

If Sears posted an ad like this today, it wouldn’t do very well. The advertisement reads, “A Gun for the Whole Family.” They wanted to make it a Christmas to remember. According to Snopes, “the only published version we’ve been able to uncover came from a 1966 issue of Boys’ Life magazine, the monthly publication for members of the Boy Scouts of America.” People would seriously lose their minds if they saw an ad with a family, kids and all, holding guns and smiling at one another. There are so many aspects wrong with this photo, that if it were posted today, it would spark a lot of debate (via Snopes).

Old Advertising

Multiple Electric Scalp Massager

This ad looks like it was pulled from a sci-fi movie. Not only does it look terrifying but it also looks incredibly unsafe. Apparently, “four-hundred and eighty artificial fingers give the scalp a gentle and beneficial massage.” According to the ad, it removes dandruff and loose hair and stimulates the circulation of blood. Let’s just say that’s not something most people would put on their heads anytime soon (via Old Advertising).

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Horse Exercise at Home

Back in the 1890s, you could bring a horse simulation right into your home. That way, you can get all your horse riding done without having to leave the comfort of your living room. We’re not sure who needed to ride a horse that badly, but back then, it was a thing. At the very least, it’s similar to an exercise bike, though you definitely wouldn’t see this anywhere on the market today (via Reddit).

rare historical photos

You Didn’t Burn the Beer

Somehow, this misogynistic ad was allowed back then. This ad implies that the woman, who cooked dinner for her man, burned dinner. But at the very least, she didn’t burn the beer, considering how impossible it is to burn a bottle of beer. The bigger question is, why are the beers sitting on a plate? (via Reddit).

Pharmacy Techs

Chloroform Cough Syrup

Somehow, this ad for cough syrup was allowed around the world. Cough syrup is fine, but it’s the ingredients in this one in particular that make it horrible, and that’s Chloroform. We’re not sure who took chloroform for coughs, sore throats, bronchitis, and diseases of the lungs, but it was a thing back then. That’s something better left in the past (via Pharmacy Techs).


Vibra Finger Gum Massager

Back in the 1950s, you could stimulate your gum tissue with a ‘Vibra-Finger Gum Massager’. This increased stimulation and circulation. Dentists back then recommended a daily gum massage. Maybe this was instead of flossing and using mouthwash. The creepiest part was that the vibrator was an actual finger (via Vintage).


Macho – It’s B-a-a-a-d

This powerful scent for men is so strong that it’s good. It looks like a weapon you’d use in a fight. What’s wrong about this ad is that it seems to promote masculinity in a toxic and unhealthy way. You wouldn’t necessarily see an ad like this today even though similar colognes do exist (via Click Americana).

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Fly Pistol

Sure, toy guns exist, but what about pistols that kill flies? It seems a bit cruel, especially considering its shooting insecticide, which is not only toxic but if accidentally ingested can be harmful and deadly. Back then, people were running around with toy pistols full of insecticide. It almost seems comical (via Gigazine).

rare historical photos

Babies Drinking Soda

We all know soda is bad for kids, so we limit their access to it. It’s full of sugar that’s not good for growing brains and bodies, which is why this ad from the 1950s is so baffling. It shows a young baby chugging a glass bottle of 7-Up, claiming they have the “youngest customers in the business.” There’s no way you would ever see an 11-month-old drinking this soda. And apparently, the ad claims it’s not their youngest customer (via Pinterest).

Pharmacy Techs

Tonic For Motherhood

The joys of motherhood mean using tonic both on herself and her baby. It soothes her nerves and her baby’s nerves so both of them can have a peaceful, relaxed sleep. Back then, somehow feeding your young baby tonic was appropriate and even recommended. That’s not something you would see a mother doing nowadays (via Pharmacy Techs)

Stone Creek Boutique

Hangover Heaven

Here’s another ad that’s likely had you keeled over laughing or running in the opposite direction. For some reason, those in the 1940s thought they discovered a hangover cure. Max Factor originally designed this face back in 1947, used by actresses to cool their faces in the hot studio lights. Then, it was used as a hangover cure instead. All you do is fill packets of water put them in the freezer and wait for them to turn into ice (via Stone Creek Boutique).


Inhale To Your Heart’s Content

We all know how horrendous cigarettes are for your heart health, so this vintage ad is ironic. It claims that the cigarettes have a “mild, flavorful smoke that enters your mouth pleasantly cool and filtered.” Somehow, they also provide an extra margin of protection which is a lie (via Pinterest)

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Sun Bath Helmet

To prevent sunburn, all you have to do is grab your sun bath helmet and improve your feminine beauty. This glass shield protects your face from the sun’s rays, allowing the wearer to retain their white skin. You wouldn’t find this today, since sunscreen has replaced large bathing helmets and is much more practical (via Bored Panda).

Pharmacy Techs

Injectable Poppy Juice

This is another ad you wouldn’t find anywhere today. Injectable poppy juice, or opium, is certainly something that doesn’t exist, much like the cocaine tooth drops. According to the ad, “Try Pantopon in place of morphine for dependable, optimum relief of pain.” There’s no viable way these products would make it onto the shelves of our department stores or be for sale (via Pharmacy Techs).


Bradley Group Showers

It’s not hard to miss the massive euphemism in this ad, but that’s beside the point. You wouldn’t necessarily have ads showcasing a bunch of people showering together nowadays, or ads showcasing group showers. But the funniest part of the ad is that “The ad says they also have private dressing rooms, but like… why, at this point?” After having everyone shower together, why would they need to suddenly get dressed together in private? (via Reddit).

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Sanitized Tapeworms

This ad claims it can get rid of your fat, the thing that’s ruining your life, with sanitized tapeworms. They’re jar-packed, easy to swallow, and get rid of the need for diets, baths, and exercise, which are all the things you need for longevity. Not only that, but tapeworms are incredibly harmful to your health (via Reddit).


What She Really Wants This Christmas

Apparently, this is what people’s mothers really wanted for Christmas back in these days – a Colt gun. This would never fly nowadays, since it seems to hint at aggression more than Christmas cheer, family, and spirit. There’s even a small tag on the gun with a heart (via Pinterest).

rare historical photos

Working Wife

Another ad showcasing the inequality of men and women back then states that “the harder a wife works, the cuter she looks.” She claims she always gets her vitamins, which is why she’s such a hard worker. There are probably better ways to advertise vitamins (via Etsy).


Hacienda Billboard

Not only would a product like this deter anyone from buying it, but it’s a bit terrifying. What could they possibly be hinting at? According to Pinterest, “Following a fairly predictable public outcry and drubbing in the press, Hacienda Mexican Restaurants is ending a two-week-old billboard campaign in Indiana that featured a red cocktail and the headline ‘We’re Like a Cult With Better Kool-Aid.'” These ads didn’t last long (via Pinterest).


The Best Things In Life Come In Cellophane

There are so many things wrong with this ad, but the main thing has to be this small baby is wrapped in a cellophane bag. We understand a stork is holding it, which symbolizes a newborn, but it’s trapping the baby in a bag. There are other things they could have used to say “the best things in life come in cellophane.” What about cake? That’s a pretty great thing in life, they could have used that instead (via Pinterest).


Smirnoff Makes Women Burn Bras

According to this ad, Smirnoff vodka was so strong back then, that it made women come up with crazy ideas to burn their bras. When you learn to handle Smirnoff, apparently anything is possible. This ad is inappropriate because it’s enticing people to carry out some bad ideas. You’re better off skipping the Smirnoff and not burning your bra. There is an explanation, though, and according to Reddit, “Bra burning was a women’s liberation movement action during the early 70s. Some women in the movement would burn their bras to let the world know they refused to wear a restricting garment and wanted the world to accept the female body as Mother Nature designed it. Perhaps the ad agency men thought women getting drunk would lead to more supple young breasts swinging wildly in the wind.” Either way, it’s not an appropriate ad (via Reddit).