Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Hoge Brush Company Files, Vol. 6

Click to enlarge

[Note: For background on the "Hoge Brush Company Files" series, click here; to see all the entries in the series so far, click here.]

Our previous look at the files from the Hoge Brush Company featured a truly outstanding example of letterhead design. Our latest example — a 1953 letter from Superior Painter Tools, Inc., of Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, concerning a product called the Roll-O-Brush — is at the other end of the spectrum.

There's a long, unfortunate tradition of pin-up posters, many of them by the illustrator Art Frahm, showing women inadvertently "losing" their underwear or otherwise exposing their lingerie while walking the dog, bowling, waiting at a bus stop, changing a flat tire, riding an elevator, putting coins in a parking meter, or ringing the dinner bell, among many other activities. But those depictions never showed the model's exposed derriere like the Superior Painter Tools letterhead does. Superior's model also appears to be a girl, not an adult woman, which makes the whole thing even creepier. Why would a company choose to present itself in this way?

If you can look past the letterhead design, I quite like the references to "jobbing," which was once (and maybe still is..?) a slang term for wholesaling. In this parlance, a "jobber" is "jobbing" a product line by selling it to retail operations. Does anyone know if this term is still in use?

Superior Painter Tools does not appear to be in business these days. I did find a reference to one of their products, however, in the March 1954 issue of Popular Mechanics (click to enlarge):

As you can see, the product in question is a paint brush with a clip-on roller. This may be the Roll-O-Brush referred to in Superior's 1953 letter to Hoge Brush! Hmmm, did Hoge end up jobbing it?

(My continued thanks to Joanna and David Zwiep for sharing the Hoge Brush Company letters with me.)


  1. Predates the Coppertone Girl by about 6 years, from what I found online, so that was not the inspiration. At least we're seeing her "bloomers" vs. her actually missing her underwear, but it's a bit creepy, yeah.

    I wonder about the note on the bottom, presumably written before filing the letter, "Cat only." Presumably it means they sent their catalog to the painting company. A rejection of the jobbing offer? "Here's our catalog, forget anything else, you with your creepy letterhead."

  2. Yeah, not the exposed derriere, but exposed bloomers like Chip said. But still, that is definitely a little girl. Weird.
    Only time I hear the word "job" is more in manufacturing. When you need a piece made for production, you "job" it out to a manufacturer that specializes in that if you don't have the desire or resources to make the part yourself. I did wholesale sales for a few years 10 years back and never heard the term "job" used in this sense.

  3. Many libraries still refer to the book wholesalers as "jobbers".

  4. Yep. Jobber is an expression that's still in use. I work in the wholesale biz and it's a word I see from time to time.