A Peek Inside The MZTV Museum of Television & Archive

It’s great having a new and modern Television but there is just something special and beautiful about TV’s of the past (Don’t you agree?) So you can imagine my excitement when I was recently able to pay a private visit to Toronto’s MZTV Museum of Television & Archive thanks to Zoomer Radio. It was an incredible visit with so much history under one roof that I need to go back to make sure I did not miss anything.

Museum of Television Toronto

For today’s blog post I am going to give you a peek, just a peek into what the museum has to offer because if possible I want you to go and see it sometime yourself (so why ruin all the surprises in this post).

Museum Of Television Toronto Ontario Canada

Mission Statement:

The MZTV Museum and Archive seeks to protect, preserve and promote the Receiving Instruments of Television History. Whereas other North American Museums of Broadcasting feature Programs, ours is unique in its focus on the History of the Technology, as well as on the Sets Themselves.

Together with related original papers, discs, books, magazines, toys and other ephemera the collection offers some 10,000 objects to scholars and students as well as the general public.

The Museum’s mandate is to exhibit the world’s most comprehensive collection of North American Television Receivers for the formative fifty-year period from the 1920s to the 1970s. The MZTV Museum also aims to tell the story of the medium and to contribute to the understanding of the impact of television on the people who watch it

Museum Of Television Toronto Ontario Canada

Lets begin with the Pioneers of Television section. This was a great high level overview of all the important people who made Televisions possible. I enjoyed this intro because it really set a nice tone for the rest of the museum tour.

Don’t like reading? No worries the museum also has a wonderful FREE app you can download with audio of the content, extra images and videos to give a little more to what is featured in front of you. The app was a great addition to my tour.

The pioneers of Television vintage inn blog museum of television

Now before reading ahead, who of my readers knows what role ‘Felix the Cat’ played in the beginning of Television? If you know the answer, pat yourself on the back and then continue reading below.

Felix the Cat the original Museum of Television

The Answer: Pictured above is the original papier-mache figurine of Felix purchased at F.A.O. Shwartz in NYC. This figurine of Felix would become Televisions first star when RCA would first transmit his image from the Empire State Building in 1928 and then again in 1939 for the first commercial television broadcast. This was a lead up to the formal unveiling of Televisions at New York World’s Fair.

Once you leave Felix on his turntable, the museum has you move to various sections that explain how Televisions were formed, how they worked, what they looked like in different era’s plus various other tidbits. Here are some images of those displays.

Museum of Television 1930s tv

1930’s-1940’s Televisions (just a sample of what they have).

Museum of Television image 4

Museum of Television 1930s 1940s tv

1950’s-1960’s. LOVE these TV’s. They are just so cool!

Museum of Television 1950s

It’s all about the details.

Museum of Television 1950s 1960s TV

Sample from the the space age TV’s.

Space Age vintage televison at Musuem of Television

There were so many stunning Television’s but I think the one that stood out the most for me was this 1950’s West Germany, Komet. You would need nothing else in your room but this work of art (also housing a turntable).

vintage televison at Museum of Television

Beyond showing the timeline of Television sets, the museum also plays hosts to 3 special sets.

Up first this lucite beauty from RCA shown at the 1939 World’s Fair in NYC (The ONLY one in the world).

Vintage Television Lucite world fair television

The 1939 World’s Fair was the first time many people had their first look at television and the centerpiece was the Phantom TRK-12 shown above, whose cabinet was made of transparent Lucite. Having the transparent casing convinced skeptics that TV really worked and wasn’t all smoke-and-mirrors. The TRK-12 had the CRT facing straight up, and the screen was watched by looking into a mirror (Source).

1939 RCA Transparent TRK-12 Television at the World's Fair

The next special TV is Elvis Presley’s early 1970’s set that was situated on the counter in his kitchen (which was very uncommon at that time).

Elvis Presley 1970s Television

It was a tiny TV as you can see below.

Elvis Presley kitchen 1970s

First Elvis, now a 1957 Magnavox Television from Marilyn Monroe (seen to the left in the tableau below).

marilyn monroe 1950s television

The last part of my visit had a stop at the archives portion of the museum and it was jam-packed with advertising, books, photos and so much more. It was very cool to see (I adore anything archive related) and a great resource for anyone in the field or in need of historic information.

Museum of Television Toronto Archives 1

Museum of Television Toronto Archives 1

And that was my wonderful visit. Thank you to the fantastic staff for answering my questions and allowing me into the archives portion of the museum. I enjoyed myself immensely and I look forward to my next visit.

NOW it’s your turn! If you live in Toronto or are visiting Toronto soon (or someday), then make sure you make time to stop by the Museum you won’t regret it!

  • Location: 64 Jefferson Ave, Toronto, Ontario Canada
  • MZTV is open Tuesday-Friday: 2pm-5pm
    Saturday-Monday: Closed
  • Pricing:
    • Adults $10
    • Seniors and Students $5
    • Groups 10+ $5/person
    • CARP Members FREE
    • Children 12 and under FREE

Question Time: What style of vintage Television do you like? Share in the comments below.


Vintage Photo Tuesday: WW2 Canadian Women on the Home Front (Part 2)

Saturday is Remembrance Day, so this week I would like to dedicate ‘Vintage Photo Tuesday‘ to the Canadian Women on the WW2 Home Front. This post is also part of a previous one I did last year, that you can view HERE.

Out of a Canadian wartime population of more than 11 million, 261,000 women worked in Canadian war industries, 400,000 in the civilian workforce, 760,000 on farms and countless others in the home and in the volunteer sector.

Women’s enthusiasm for helping out on the home front was anticipated by Alice Sorby of Winnipeg who recalled in 1940, “In September 1939 when the thunder of war first crashed about our ears, the immediate reaction was an almost hysterical desire to do something….” (Source).

Here are those brave women in action….

Female loggers (‘lumberjills’) in the Queen Charlotte Islands, BC. April 1943

Female loggers (‘lumberjills') in the Queen Charlotte Islands, BC. April 1943
Source: Library and Archives Canada PA-116147

Actress Mary Pickford posing with a group of employees during her visit to the General Engineering Company (Canada) munitions factory, June 5, 1943.

Actress Mary Pickford posing with a group of employees during her visit to the General Engineering Company (Canada) munitions factory, June 5, 1943.
Source: Archives of Canada

Young woman working in the cabin of bomber being manufactured at the Fairchild plant in Montreal on May 19, 1941.

Source: CBC.ca

Off to work in Edmonton 1943.

Canadian Women arrive for work in Edmonton 1943 vintage photo
Source: Legion Magazine

A welder works on a Bren gun at John Inglis Company Ltd., 1942.

A welder works on a Bren gun at John Inglis Company Ltd 1942 vintage photo
Source: Legion Magazine

Women volunteers from Canadian Red Cross assemble packages for prisoners of war in 1942.

1940s Canadian Women helping on the homefront vintage photo
Source: Wikipedia

Starting in 1942, Vancouver’s Burrard Drydock hired more than 1,000 women. Here we see the union’s shop stewards eating in the shipyard canteen, ca. 1942 (Source).

Canadian Women working in a shipyard 1940s vintage photo
Source: Open Text BC

Workers producing primers.

1940s canadian women on the homefront producing primers in a factory vintage image
Source: War Museum

Start your Victory Garden today!

Victory Garden 1940s Canada Ad Vintage
Source: Gulf of Georgia Cannery

1942, knitters working on the BC Telephone Co. War Effort Programme in Victoria. It was a group of ladies coming together to sit, talk, and knit scarves and socks for the men fighting overseas (Source).

1940s Gulf of Georgia Cannery Knit In Vintage Image of women on the homefront
Source: Gulf of Georgia Cannery
1940s Canadian Fraser Valley Propaganda Poster for Homefront vintage ad
Source: Mothers of the Home Front

While looking for photos to share, I came across a fantastic 10 min Canadian Documentary entitled ‘The Home Front‘ by Stanley Hawes (seen below).

This short documentary is part of the Canada Carries On series of morale-boosting wartime propaganda films. In Home Front, the various WWII-era social contributions of women are highlighted. From medicine to industrial labour to hospitality, education and domesticity, the service these women provided to their country is lauded. (Video Link)

Friends…If you are interested to read other posts I have created around the Canadian WW2 Home Front, the links are below.


The Vintage Side of Zoomer Radio + Boo Bash 2017

I’m a big fan of vintage music, especially music from the 1920’s-1960s. Swing, Blues, Jazz, Rock n Roll and I have quite a big collection of music in my possession (well I think it’s big). However even though I have all this music at my finger tips, sometimes I want to change-up and have someone else supply the soundtrack from my day and this is where radio stations will give me the fix I’m looking for.

Insert ZOOMER RADIO in Toronto. It’s a station that plays timeless classics (music from the 1920’s and up, in various styles) and also has several vintage radio programs that are right up my alley and I know my readers as well.

So I’m excited to announce that I will be working with them on a more frequent basis to bring awesome vintage content (20’s-60’s) for my readers and for their listeners as well. Stay Tuned (hehehe Radio Pun)!

zoomer radio logo

Now what exactly does Zoomer have that the Vintage Inn readers might like? Well that is easy. Lots of great vintage programs! Check out my suggestions below and then mark you calendars to listen to them live or online (for anyone outside of Toronto).

Toronto's Zoomer Radio Vintage shows

Big Band Sunday Night with George Jonescu (Sundays 7-11pm) –Vintage Inn Fav!

For the Blues Music Fans-Midnight Blue with Ziggy (Monday-Thursday 12am-1am): Songs from the 1930s and 40s that were never played on radio, and more recent songs teetering ‘on the edge’.

Robbie Remembers 60s, 70s & 80’s (Monday-Friday 6pm-10pm): In Toronto, Robbie Lane and The Disciples were one of the city’s top bands, and now, decades later, Robbie Lane continues the rock’n’roll tradition – he plays the clubs on weekends, and hosts two hours of great oldies you just won’t hear anywhere else – ‘The Sixties at Six’, remembering the British Invasion, surfing, folk-rock and Motown, and then ‘The Seventies at Seven’ with the great singer-songwriters like James Taylor, Carole King, and the pop stars like ABBA, Three Dog Night, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac. Robbie Lane will also be talking about the top Eighties hits at Eight.

Saturday Night Bandstand (Saturday’s 7pm-1am): Neil Hedley helps you dust off your dancing shoes with everything from rock and roll to disco, including your requests!

Theatre of the Mind (Monday-Friday 10pm-11pm): Frank Proctor selects, and then describes some of the greatest shows from the golden age of radio — the 1930s and 1940s — like The Shadow and Fibber McGee & Molly. A half-hour of drama, mystery or suspense is followed by a half-hour of comedy — Vintage Inn Fav!

Vintage Favourites (Every Sunday 2-4pm): Gene Stevens hosts this weekly adventure into truly vintage music –from 1950s and 60s… and way back to the 20s, 30s, and 40s as well. Vintage Favourites is AM740’s weekly adventure into the music of the past … radio veteran, music historian and story-teller, Gene Stevens puts the spotlight on a new theme. –Vintage Inn Fav!

The British Invasion (Saturdays 6-7pm): The British Invasion will proudly feature the terrific acts that came out of England with Cliff Richard in the late 50s, through the glory days of Merseybeat and Beatlemania, with countless groups and singers from The Pacemakers, Animals, Searchers and Herman’s Hermits, to the Stones, Kinks, Small Faces, DC5, and Moody Blues – and of course, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Donovan, Pet Clark, Manfred Mann, Peter & Gordon..and so many others.

Consignment Heroes (Sundays 1pm-2pm): Consignment Heroes is hosted by Paul Kenny, his son Bogart Kenny and Zoomer’s Ben Mercer. Listen and call in for advice on: appraisals, collections, how to store stuff, dispose of or sell stuff in the best way.

Happy Listening Friends!

P.S. Scroll down to see the Halloween party we attended at the station.

Vintage Radio, child listening to it

Beyond their radio programs they also host events, like their most recent ‘Live To Air Boo Bash featuring the Dreamboats‘ that myself and a few friends attended. The night was so much fun! We danced to awesome 50’s music from The Dreamboats (go and see them if they are in a town near you), ate yummy foods and met so many wonderful employees and listeners of the radio station. I enjoyed every minute. There was even a costume contest for $250 and my friend Jacquie the creator of the Toronto Vintage Society was a finalist. In the end the most beautiful woman who was in her 80’s won the grand prize and it was well deserved (seen below).

Zoomer Radio Boo Bash Costume Contest
Source: Zoomer

Below are some of the photos I took and then please visit the link HERE to check out Zoomer’s images.

And the prize for most non creative costume goes to….ME! I went as my “own character” from GREASE called “leggs”. I just ran out of time to bring something new to the table this year.

The Vintage Inn Blog Grease Costume Halloween 2017

Yours Truly & Toronto Vintage Society’s, Jacquie (finalist in the best costume contest).

The Vintage Inn Blog & Toronto Vintage Society Halloween 2017

My awesome friends.

Zoomer Radio Boo Bash 2017

The Dreamboats in action!

The Dreamboats 1950s 1960s Band

Photo with the band and friends in between their sets.

The Dreamboats at Zoomer Radio Boo Bash 2017

And that is a wrap. I’m hope you enjoyed learning all about this awesome radio station and when you get a chance, check out some of their vintage programs I mentioned above.

Question Time: Do you have any vintage radio stations you like to listen to? If so share in the comments below.



Vintage Photo Tuesday-The Halloween Edition Part 2

Happy Halloween Everyone! Vintage Photo Tuesday this week is in the spirit of all things Halloween.

1950s Photo of a boy carving a pumpkin vintage
Source: Etsy

What happens when 2 clowns come to a Halloween Party? They clown around!

1955 vintage halloween photo of 2 little girls dressed as clowns

The littlest Boxer.

1950s little boy as a boxer halloween costume vintage photo

Taking a break from all the party fun-1955.

1955 vintage photo of 3 girls in halloween costumes

Children at a Halloween party at Highlands Community Hall in 1948 (Edmonton, Canada).

1940s Kids Halloween Party vintage image edmonton Canada

Bobbing for apples is a must at a Halloween Party. -1949-

1949 Halloween Party bobbing for apples vintage photo
Source: City of Edmonton

Snap Apple-an apple is suspended from a string and the players try to take a bite.

Vintage image of children playing snap apple 1940s

Rum and Coke! Such creative costumes. -1954-

1954 vintage halloween costume photo 2 adults dressed as pop bottles

Continuing with alcohol as a costume. It’s an Molson Export (A Canadian Beer)! Inuvik, 28 October 1961. Audrey Wark (school teacher) at Halloween party in the single staff quarters.

1961 vintage halloween photo molson export costume

Inuvik, 28 October 1961. Lorna and Lee Post (Northern Affairs Administrator) at a Halloween party in the single staff quarters.

1961 vintage halloween photo of country and western costume

1930’s Royalty.

Source: Florida Views

1935 Trick or Treating.

1935 kids trick or treating vintage photo

Side Fact: Halloween in Canada-Largely considered a holiday for children, Scottish and Irish immigrants brought Halloween to Canada in the 1800s. As a non-religious, non-ethnic, and non-political holiday Halloween quickly became popular (Source).

Have a wonderful Halloween Friends!

Before you go make sure you check out PART 1 of this series for more Halloween Vintage Photos.


1928-Canada’s First Female Olympic Medalists

October is Women’s History Month and the Toronto Archives has been posting on and off some wonderful photos of Canadian Women who achieved great things in life. One of the recent photos was the one below. It’s from 1928 and features 7 women from the Canadian Olympic team heading off to forge their place in sports history.

1928 Canadian women heading to Summer Olympics Vintage Photo
Source: Toronto Archives

So who exactly were these women and did they achieve their Olympic dreams? Lets find out in today’s blog post….

The 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam was a milestone for women in Canada as this would be the first time they would be allowed to participate at these games and in Track and Field (Note: In 1924 the Winter Olympics did have 15-year-old Canadian, Cecil Smith but that was all that was sent). Canada would end up sending 6 women for track and field and 1 more who was sponsored privately and was a swimmer (Source).

1928 summer olympics poster
Source: Wikipedia

Who are the women that participated?

Myrtle Cook, Jean Thompson, Ethel Smith, Ethel Catherwood, Fannie Rosenfeld, Florence Bell and Dorothy Prior.

The track and field team were nicknamed the “Matchless Six” and Canadians had high hopes for these ladies of speed and strength (even though there were many that felt that women participating in the Olympics was controversial).

Canada's women's team at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
Check out the stylish 1920’s flapper inspired Uniforms. Don’t the ladies look so good? Source: Huffington Post

How did they do?

That year Canada sent 69 Athletes to the games and took home 4 Gold’s, 4 Silver’s and 7 Bronze and ranked 10th in the world. Where did our women place?

Fannie “Bobbie” Rosenfeld – Was considered the best all around athlete on the team, competing in both track and field. She did not disappoint and went on to win the gold medal for the 400 meter relay, a silver for the 100 meter (in a photo finish), and a fifth place in the 800 meter. Rosenfeld scored more points for her country than any other athlete at the Games, male or female (source).

Fanny “Bobbie” Rosenfeld vintage image
Source: Women of Valor

The 800 Meter Race Controversy – The most controversial race for women at this time. Why? Two full laps around the track, at full speed was considered too stressful for the delicate female body.

Rosenfeld was never supposed to be in this race, as 17-year-old Jean Thompson was set to run it and considered a medal contestant. Jean had hurt herself in training before the games and now found herself extremely nervous before the big race, so Bobbie was asked to race with her to encourage and support her teammate. This turned out to be a good idea because Jean did in fact falter (due to being hit by another runner) and Rosenfeld would then run from the back of the pack to beside Jean and let her finish ahead in fourth place while she took fifth.Their team manager Gibb called it “one of the finest exhibitions of sportsmanship ever witnessed on any track”.

At the finish line, 5 of the women that ran the race collapsed at the end due to “giving it all they had”.

1928 800 metre summer olympics womens race
The Start of the Race. Source: Go Feet

The media felt differently about this race though and would end up going on the attack saying things like, “it was hysterical” and “the competitors were floundering all over the place” (from an Australian publication called the Bulletin). The London Times called it a “warning for women’s athletics in general” and Harper’s Magazine deemed the competitors “wretched women (Source).”

1928 summer olympics 800 metres controversary article
Source: Sport in American History

Sadly the press was looking for failure even when failure was not there.

I am very proud of Bobbie & Jean personally!


Myrtle Cook – #675 below. In this photo 15-year-old Myrtle is show winning the preliminary heat in the women’s 100m race against Norma Wilson of New Zealand and Bets ter Horst of Netherlands on July 30, 1928 (Source).

Myrtle’s Olympic journey was not an easy one at first, as she ended up being disqualified from the 100m finals for 2 false starts. She would bounce back by running the last leg of the 4 x 100-metre relay securing a first place finish for the Canadian relay team made up of Cook, Jane Bell, Ethel Smith, and Bobbie Rosenfeld.

1928 Summer Olympics women's running
Source: Wikipedia


Ethel_Catherwood_1928 Canada summer olympics
Source: Wikipedia

Ethel Catherwood (above) – Nicknamed “Saskatoon Lily”, Ethel’s sport in 1928 was High Jump and she had a Gold Medal victory by jumping 1.59 metres defeating dutchwoman Lien Gisolf.

Ethel Catherwood

This win was the first ever gold medal awarded to a female high jumper and she holds the title as the only Canadian female athlete to have won an individual gold medal in an Olympic track and field event.


Ethel Smith (Below) –  Ethel would go on to win the Bronze in the 100 meter with Bobbie as well as Gold in the 4 x 100 m rely.

Ethel Smith 1928 Summer Olympics Canada
Source: Wikipedia


Jane Bell – Helped bring home the Gold in the 4 x 100 m relay at the young age of 18.

Jane Bell 1928 Summer Olympics
Source: Canadian Sports History


Dorothy Prior the swimmer on the team and competed in the women’s 200 metre breaststroke (at the age of 16). She would come in fourth place. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any other photos, beyond the one at the very beginning of Dorothy.


More Milestones: Did you know that their wins equaled 25% of Canada’s medal haul and they were the only country to win more than one gold across the five track and field events in Amsterdam? That is an incredible! (source)

1928 womens olympic team the matchless 6 vintage image
Source: Canadian Sports History

What happened when they got home?

“The Matchless Six” returned to ticker-tape parades in Toronto and Montreal. The press estimated that 200 000 people jammed Toronto’s Union Station and adjacent Front Street and another 100 000 lined the parade route (Source).

BUT the “Controversy” of sending women to the Summer Olympics (especially after the 800 meter race), was not forgotten and the IAAF voted to keep women athletics, but in a much limited form: They removed the long jump, shot put, 200 metres and 800 metres from the realm of women’s competition.

It would be 32 years before women would be permitted to run the 800-metre race at the Olympics again (Source).

1960s olympics 800 metre womens race
1960’s Women’s 800 metre race


Friends that is the story of Canada’s first female Olympians, I hope you enjoyed learning all about these amazing women and their journey to making history and the struggles that they had to endure and overcome. I know I sure did!




Vintage Photo Tuesday: 1940’s Street Style

Many of the online searches that find their way to my blog is for “1930’s-1950’s Fashion ideas”. So I thought for this week’s Vintage Photo Tuesday, I would find some well dressed “regular folks” images from the 1940’s and share them with all of you. Then future VPT’s will focus on the other timelines.

Let’s check out the 40’s Street Style!

1940s couple vintage photo
Source: Etsy
1940s happy couple vintage image
Source: Etsy

Peacock brooches are always a good choice to brighten up a standard black jacket.

1940's african american woman in coat vintage image
Source: Etsy

I’m having serious hair envy with this young lady and that is why she is in this collection.

1940s young woman on the street vintage image
Source: Etsy

I admire a man who can wear swim trunks with seashells and seahorses on them and look good while doing it. These are pretty awesome and totally deserve to be on this list.

1940s man in a swimsuit vintage image
Source: Etsy

Fantastic hat for the win!

1940s vintage photo of woman in hat with feathers
Source: Etsy
Vintage Photo of Two Friends at Cannon Beach, Oregon, 1940's
Source: Etsy
1940s woman at a fountain, vintage image
Source: Etsy

The man in this image may have a hurt hand but I can’t stop looking at the cool “woods style” that these 3 finely dressed folks have.

1940s photo of 2 women and man vintage image
Source: Etsy

1940’s winter style.

1940s young women in warm coats vintage photo
Source: Etsy

Thelma Porter, Miss Subways New York City, 1948. Thelma was the first woman to integrate a beauty contest in America and became the first African American Miss Subways in April, 1948.

1948 miss subway vintage image
Source: Pinterest
1940s image of a woman in a black jumper
Source: Etsy

A handsome sailor with his beautiful mother.

1940s image of sailor with his mother vintage
Source: Etsy

Another outstanding hat partnered with a well dressed man at the world famous Leon & Eddie’s in NYC.

1940s vintage photo of a couple in a restaurant
Source: Etsy


We now have come to the end of this weeks post, but due to the fact that I found so many images for this weeks post, I will most likely do a part 2 in the future (exciting!).

Question Time: What photo was your favorite look from above? Share in the comments below.



Happy Canadian Thanksgiving and a Big Thank You

Star Weekly 1940s Vintage Cover

This coming weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and families everywhere will be coming together to celebrate family, friends and togetherness. As I have posted before this is one of my favorite holidays and I’m looking forward to all the pumpkin pie and turkey that I can devour in one sitting and the sleep that will come shortly after. Oh and of course spending time with my amazing family (did you really think I would forget them??).

1940s Thanksgiving

So from my family to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my Canadian readers! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend.

happy thanksgiving

Lastly before we close this post I also want to say THANK YOU to ALL my readers for being such incredibly wonderful fans of my blog. I would not be here if it was not for all of you and I’m very grateful for your loyalty to this little hobby of mine. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Vintage Thank You Card
Source Pinterest


P.S. For some fun Thanksgiving Photo check out my blog post ‘Vintage Photo Tuesday-Thanksgiving‘.

The Kitschest of Them All-Swizzle Sticks

The Kitschest of Them All The Swizzle Sticks Vintage Inn Blog Post

I am making a deceleration..I have a Swizzle Sticks addiction (vintage in particular). I just love all the creative things that have been done on such a small piece of real estate. They are colourful, they are fun, they are artistic and they are so darn collectible! I want them all and I’m on a mission to do just that.

Swizzle sticks and stir sticks vintage inn blog
Just SOME of my collection

For today’s post I’m not going to go on about how I’m going to achieve total Swizzle Stick domination but instead we are going to check out their history (my coles notes version) and also view some examples of these lovely works of art.

Let’s begin!

The early days of the Swizzle Stick

According to my research, it looks like the Swizzle Stick made its appearance around the 1600’s in the West Indies. It’s purpose was to help enhance a Barbados-based cocktail “The Swizzle” that contained rum, sugar and ice.

Frederick Albion Ober’s 1920’s book ‘A Guide to the West Indies, Bermuda and Panama’ gives one of the first recorded insights into the origins of the stick itself (Source):

“The stem of a native plant with radiating twigs, or roots, which, being deprived of its outer bark, is revolved rapidly between the palms of the hands,” writes Ober, “and, through the combined action of the motion and a peculiar saponaceous quality of the cambium layer of the twigs, produces a delicious froth.”

Often the pronged branches of the allspice bush or aromatic quararibea turbinate (seen below) were used, which eventually earned the plant its nickname: the Swizzlestick Tree.

Quararibea turbinate swizzlestick tree branch

If you look at the my “collection” photo at the top of this post, you will see that one of the swizzle sticks looks like the quararibea turbinate branch. When I first received the stick as a gift I thought the prongs were for helping it stand up (silly Liz haha). Now I know that is not the true reason.

But where does the name “Swizzle” come from?

Tales of the Cocktail stated in a 2016 post that the word swizzle, according to the 1891 “Century Dictionary: An Encylopedic Lexicon of the English Language,” comes from a combination of the words swill and guzzle.

But they also stated that drink that was mentioned above called the “Swizzle” was named this because of the whisk-like motion of making it – “Swizzling”.

So it seems that the name of the stick truly reflects the original drinks origin as opposed the 1891 dictionary description. Do you agree?

Here comes the 1920’s!

The Swizzle sticks have found a new purpose in this decade beyond swizzling drinks, they are now being used by Queen Victoria and refined ladies to stir bubbles OUT of their Champagne. Why? Well ladies of Society don’t want any unwanted “gas like emissions” do they?

1950’s Champagne Swizzle Stick (1920’s looked similar)

Sterling Silver Champagne Swizzle Stick 1950s
Source: Bexfield Antiques

NOT the proper way to drink your Champagne.

1920s drinking champagne image

Marketing comes into play

When a great idea is found and seems to be rising in popularity, you can ALWAYS be sure that Marketing is not that far behind to capitalize on its success and this is exactly what happened after prohibition was over.

Meet Inventor Jay Sindler, who needed a way to remove the olive from his martini without using his fingers. So he sketched out an idea of a barbed wooden spear featuring a small paddle at the other end, which could be imprinted with the establishment’s name or logo (Source). A problem was solved and bars who needed to advertise after Prohibition was over had a new marketing tool.

vintage stir swizzle sticks
Source: Pinterest

1950’s & 1960’s

For the next few decades these cocktail stirrers are now common sight with the 50’s and 60’s being the top of its game and of course the kitsch factor is kicked up to 10.

vintage pink elephant cocktail stirrers
Source: Pinterest
whistle cocktail swizzle sticks vintage
Source: Pinterest
Vintage Cocktail Stirrers: Desert Cactus
Source: Pinterest
1950s Pin-Up Cocktail Sticks
Source: theinvisibleagent
vintage 60's tiki swizzle sticks
Source: Pinterest
1950s TWA Airlines Cocktail Swizzle Sticks
Source: Etsy

The End of an Era

The 70’s though saw the downfall of the Swizzle sticks as wine took over as the cheap drink of choice and from that decade on, our favorite little drink decoration is left behind in the dust.

1970's wine advertisement

Today, Swizzle Sticks are still not back in popularity ($16 craft cocktails don’t see a need for a kitschy plastic stick in their glasses) but you can still see them in Tiki Bars that have risen in popularity over the last couple of years. AND for those who are serious collectors, there is an International Association of Swizzle Stick Collectors for you to join (now that is cool!).

Tiki Swizzle Sticks
Source: Punch

That ends our little Swizzle Stick road trip for today so I hope you had as much fun as I did learning all about these cool pieces of cocktail history.

Question Time! Do you own a collection of Swizzle Sticks? And if you could create your OWN Swizzle Stick what would it look like? Please share in the comments below.


P.S. Make sure at your next Cocktail Party you add these to the bar!


How to Host a 1950’s Cocktail/Lounge Party

One of my most popular posts on my blog is entitled, “Mini Guide To Holding the Ultimate 1950’s Party“. The guide discusses themes, invites, food, music and clothing to ensure that you have the best party around (and you will!).

One of the themes suggested in the post is a 50’s Lounge/Cocktail Party but I really did not get into to much detail, so for today’s post I’m going to dig deep with ideas and images on how you can bring this theme to life.

Let the Party Planning Begin!

A cocktail party At The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, March 13, 1961
Source: Wikipedia


No email for this party, go really retro and send your invites via the post office. The mini guide post has ideas on where/ how to get your invites created, so stop in there after your done here.

1944 Vintage Postoffice image washington
Source: Vintage Everyday

Example of an invite that can be personalized and on sale on Etsy.

retro cocktail invite
Source: Etsy


I think that music is the most important part of any theme party. It truly makes or breaks it. So if you can only do a couple of things to make this theme come to life, music should be number one on your list. But what kind of music should you play? Well simple….Lounge Music.

Lounge Music-is a type of easy listening music popular in the 1950s and 1960s. It may be meant to evoke in the listeners the feeling of being in a place, usually with a tranquil theme, such as a jungle, an island paradise or outer space (source). There is also the ‘Swinging music of the 30’s & 40’s’ with an emphasis on the vocalist that is considered part of this genre of music. The Rat Pack, Louis Prima, Bobby Darin, Wayne Newton are just examples of the artists that can be on constant rotation on your record player (or Cd).

OH and don’t forget the Brazilian music style of the Bossa Nova which was popularized in the 1950’s & 60’s as well.

Here are some YouTube mixes to get you started.

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Appetizers for a cocktail party are easy breezy but you want them to be in the 50’s style so make sure you check out my post “Party Foods of the 1950’s” for ideas and inspiration.

let serve cocktails cook book 50s 60s cover image
Source: Atticpaper

The Drinks:

1959 Illustrated Liquor Ad, Playboy, Barcardi Puerto Rican Rum, Southern Playboys & The Bacardi Party
Published in Playboy magazine, June 1959 – Vol. 6 No. 6 Source: Flickr

Drink Ideas (many more on the internet. Use the Search Term: 1950’s Cocktail Recipes):

1950s cocktail drinks image

  • Manhattan
  • Gin & Tonic
  • Champagne
  • Gin Fizz
  • Whisky Sour
  • Tom Collins
  • White & Black Russian
  • Bloody Mary
  • Punch
50's punch drink ideas
Source: Chronically Vintage

Lastly, make sure you bar is stacked with items like swizzle sticks, garnishes and if possible vintage glassware like lowball and coupe glasses. Here some great examples of glassware you can pickup at any vintage store that tends to stock 50’s & 60’s items.

1950s lowball vintage glasses
Source: Etsy
1950's champagne coupe glasses
Source: Etsy
mid century swizzle sticks
Source: Etsy

1950s cocktail drink image


First up, your living room is the perfect place for the party. Set up a make shift cocktail bar area, turn the lights down low (or just decrease the lights) and you are on your way to setting the mode. Do you have a record player or know someone who does? Add it to the room and if it works and you have the records, play your lounge music from there.

Remember that vintage glassware I mentioned above? Make sure they are on display or if you have enough, have your guests actually use them.

The Dress Code:

Really encourage guests to dress-up, because if everyone does then you have already boosted your “decor” by 10 fold. 1950’s party/nice dresses, suits for men, vintage apron for the hostess. Cocktail parties were fancy dress-up affairs so showing up in jeans is not going to work.

Three elegant young ladies enjoy the nibbles on offer at a cocktail party, circa 1955. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Source: Getty Images

About the below photo: Red (right) was the bell captain at the Sands Hotel and Casino back in the 1950’s and 60’s. This was taken at his Christmas Party around 1958. See how the 2 men are dressed in nice suits. Perfect Cocktail Party attire.

1958 Cocktail Party 2 men vintage image

This apron as of (Sept 18th, 2017) is currently being sold on Etsy. It features a bunch of 1950’s Cocktail recipes!

1950s vintage apron cocktail drinks
Source: Etsy

And there is your 1950’s Cocktail/Lounge Party theme. Your guests will have a blast, you will enjoy being able to have time to actually chat with them and the clean up is pretty simple. Just remember to ensure that your guests don’t drink and drive at the end of the night (this is not the REAL 1950’s anymore).

1950s cocktail party kodachrome slide vintage photo
Source: Etsy


Have fun friends and you can always drop me a line if you need any help with this theme.


Vintage Photo Tuesday-Back To School

Here in Canada the kids have been back in school for a full week now and everyone’s routines are set, so I figured it’s a perfect time to share my Vintage Photo Tuesday“- Back to School Post.

Off we go!

1950s two children running with lunchboxes
(Photo by Lambert/Getty Images)

1930’s-Leather straps to hold one’s books work well for these 2 boys on their way to class.

Two small boys, carrying a satchels, walks to school circa 1930's.
(Photo by FPG/Getty Images)

Back to School with coolest 1950’s kids around.

1950s back to school photo of two children vintage
Source: Etsy
Vintage Photo, Black & White Photo, Clean Cut School Children, Back to School 1950s
Source: Etsy

Teeny tiny lunch boxes, for teeny tiny kids.

1950s vintage photo of kids going to school with lunchboxes
Source: Etsy

Homecoming parade-1940’s High School Majorette.

Vintage 1940's Cute High School Majorette Ready For Parade
Source: Etsy

One of the fun things about going back to school is meeting up with old friends again and hanging out between classes. Howard University-1946.

howard university students 1940s vintage photo

Back to school, means back to classes like in this 1935 cooking class photo (I would totally be the girl with the lack of excitement on her face).

Cooking Class, 1935. Vintage Photo
Source: Etsy

Return to class is not just for the students but also the teachers. “Regretfully, Edna P. “Teach”.

1930s Vintage Photograph- English Teacher at Desk
Source: Etsy

Say Cheese it’s Photo Time! 1940s High School Photos.

1940s High School Year Book Vintage Photo Collection
Source: Etsy

1946 Howard University students-Take note, this is how you dress for school or even going to the grocery store.

1946 Howard University students
Source: Flavorwire

Freshman class, 1944 at the School of Nursing-North Carolina Baptist Hospital.

Freshman Class, North Carolina Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, 1944
Source: Flickr

Daydreaming during class, Florida, March 1947.

A girl daydreaming during class, Florida, March 1947.
Source: Pinterest. Photo by Allan Grant
circa 1955: A little girl and boy carrying a lunch pails and notebooks stand near a school zone traffic sign.
(Photo by Lambert/Getty Images)

And there you have this week’s Vintage Photo Tuesday. I hope you enjoyed spending a few moments going Back to School with me.

Question Time: Do you have fond memories of heading back to class or not so great memories (share in the comments below)? I personally loved the first day back at school, it was everything after I was not fond of. Ha Ha!