Sunday Ads: Antiseptic Refrigeration? A National Craze

Written by on August 7, 2016 in Sunday Ads - No comments
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In 1916, there is a good chance you didn't have electricity, let alone refrigerators! The first electric home refrigerator was still more than 10 years away. (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

In 1916, there was a good chance you didn’t have electricity, let alone refrigerators! The first electric home refrigerator was still more than 10 years away. (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

Business:  National Furniture Company

Date of Ad: August 6, 1916

Location:  335-343 West Washington Street, downtown Indianapolis

West Washington Baist 1941

Showing “National Furniture Company,”335-343 West Washington,  Baist map, 1941 courtesy IUPUI Digital Archives

Years of Operation: 1899- 1958

Notable: The dog days of summer has everyone looking for a way to cool down! One hundred years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to keep the butter from melting and the milk from spoiling. The technology of the day consisted of the icebox: wooden cabinets featuring a zinc lining where food could be stored with a large block of ice. Ice was delivered by “icemen,” who would haul chunks harvested from the arctic regions and kept in large warehouses known as icehouses. Mechanical refrigeration made its way into the home in the late 1920’s, though, iceboxes remained not uncommon into the 1950’s.

Additionally: The National Furniture Company was a downtown fixture for over five decades. Started by the Kahn brothers, Edward, Harry and Nathan, they took over the existing Parker Stand store in 1899. By 1941 the store had remodeled and expanded to encompass three floors. According to city directories, the business ceased existence between 1957 and 1958. In 1960 the Imperial House Motel took over the site, catering to the Indiana State offices across the street. That venture lasted until 1985, when the lot was cleared to accommodate parking for the Indiana Convention Center. In 2001, the new Indianapolis Marriott Downtown opened on the site and was the city’s largest hotel until the J.W. Marriott opened two blocks away.

This 1940 advert teases the planned remodel of the National Furniture Company (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

This 1940 advert teases the planned remodel of the National Furniture Company (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

Momentos from the Imperial House Motel which stood on the upper 300 block of West Washington Street in the 1960's and 1970's. (Courtesy eBay)

Mementos from the Imperial House Motel, which stood on the 300 block of West Washington Street in the 1960’s and 1970’s. (Courtesy eBay)

A small lodging operation called The Capitol Hotel once occupied the space adjacent to and above The National Furniture Company. Today one of our largest hotels occupies the former site.

A small lodging operation called The Capitol Hotel once occupied the space adjacent to and above The National Furniture Company. Today one of our largest hotels occupies the former site.

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About the Author

An avid runner who enjoys daily jaunts throughout Indy's historic neighborhoods, Jeff deeply appreciates the detail and workmanship of old architecture. So much so, that he lives downtown in a restored historic building. He also works downtown as a manager of a not-for-profit that promotes globalization throughout Central Indiana. In a past life, Jeff worked in the hospitality industry and may one day pen a book about the ridiculous things people do while staying in hotels. Stay tuned.

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