It’s not often that I wear a dress while I’m cooking. Nor an apron. (Actually, if I think about it, I’m rarely grinning while I’m cooking, either.)
Not the case, apparently, for the woman depicted in this vintage advertisement.
McClary’s Manufacturing was a London, Ontario-based leader in the production of stoves, coal furnaces, and kitchenware. It was founded in 1847 and merged with four other companies to become General Steel Wares in 1927.
A sign very similar in design to this one had been painted on the exterior of this building in Cambridge, Ontario sometime in the mid-20th century. (I’m unsure if – and for how long – goods were still produced under the McClary name after the merger).
The paint had nearly peeled away, lost to time, when the local Business Improvement Association headed a project to restore the sign in 2012, in an effort to add interest to the downtown core.
And interesting it is. When I look at it, I’m reminded both of how much has changed (the rapid advance of technology and how it impacts our everyday lives; the shift and evolution of gender roles), and of how little has changed (the people in ads are always suspiciously happy to be using the product in question).
I realize that there are people who genuinely look and feel happy when they’re using a stove. I’m just not one of them.