|Armour Star pinback button necklace by Twitch and Whiskers|
|Man, that's confusing!|
|Franks 'n' Pins|
I am researching the origin of sayings that appeared on Armour Star pinback buttons promoting Armour Star Franks in the 1960's.
Specifically, I am trying to determine the meaning of sayings on two of those buttons.
One reads: "Man that's Bath" with Bath appearing on a silhouette of a bathtub.
The other reads: "That's blow torch" and includes a picture of a blow torch.
Any idea as to what these slogans mean or where I might find out?
Thanks so much!
|Super Sleuth Susan - left|
|Chicago History Museum|
I found a 1955 display ad for Armour's 'Breezy Buttons', as they were known, in the Chicago Tribune's historical database.
The pins in general appear to be depictions of various idiomatic or slang phrases ("Cruisin' for a bruisin'") as well as some nonsense phrases meant to evoke the beatnik culture of the era ("You're dimph").
An article in the Aug. 1955 issue of Armour magazine describes the campaign as such:
Each "breezy button" is imprinted with a current teen-age expression and a cartoon to illustrate it [. . .] Examples of the breezy expressions on the buttons range from the flippant "Don't get tough, Powder Puff," to the more subtle "You're a Cube," meaning someone who is not "hep" to a greater degree than a "square." Several of the expressions in the Armour Frank series, such as "Flame out," and "Make like the wind," are descendents of the aging "Take a powder," whose brusque ancestor, "Scram," goes back to the nostalgic "23 Skidoo" of the gay 20's.
Unfortunately, there is no mention in the article of either "That's Blow Torch" or "Man, That's Bath" or what they could mean. Further resources from around that time don't give any indication that either phrase was ever widely-used slang. The book 'Dig those crazy words: An illustrated dictionary of beatnik words and phrases' doesn't contain any listing for "bath" or "blow torch".
In the 1960 'Dictionary of American Slang', compiled by Harold Wentworth and Stuart Berg Flexner, a "bath-tub" is defined as a motorcycle side-car or very large car, while a "blow torch" was air force slang for a jet fighter plane. Neither of these definitions appear to be related to the pin's use of slang.
More likely the phrases originated in the brain of someone at Armour or else were so obscure as to have not really survived in any written form apart from the pins.
I am attaching the display ad from the Tribune, as well as the Armour Magazine article to this email for your reference.
|Armour and Company 1910|
|Armour Baseball Coins|
While all this was going on, my friend Kim C. of Lucky Bird Studio saw the pictures of the pinback buttons Facebook and commissioned me to create a "That's So Bath" necklace for her friend Kim G. of Stella Marie Soap Company. After a few emails back and forth, together we designed a piece with a vintage red plastic game piece, rhinestones, and cherry red beads (to match the Stella Marie logo). I was thrilled that one of the mystery pins found a perfect home!
|Man, That's Bath - a perfect necklace for a soapy gal|
Like the Armour Breezy Buttons? You can find a necklaces made from them in the "pinback button and buckle" section of my Etsy shop.
My 2013 show schedule is starting to shape up. Here is the schedule so far.
*RESCHEDULED* - Friday, February 15th - 5:00 - 9:00 pm - CT ArtList Pop-Up Exhibition - I'm excited to announce that my husband and I will be doing a show together for the first time! The opening will feature 14 local Connecticut artists, Thom's band Burnkit2600, and jewelry from Twitch and Whiskers. We hope to see you there!
Saturday, June 15th - 10:00 - 4:00 pm - Arts Fest Beverly