Artifacts from 1962, Still on Sale Today
Of course, there are many products that didn't make it all the way from 1962 to today. You can read about many of them at ROADTRIP-'62 ™ 's "You Can't Buy That Anymore" page. But acutally, quite a lot of products you're familiar with today were around in 1962. Favorite candies such as Baby Ruth, Milky Way, M&Ms, and even oddities like Wax Lips were sold. M&Ms were only sold with a simple "m" on them back then. Today, you can make any event special with personalized MY M&M’S® Candies. Besides candies, many other foods, such as Cheerios, Spam, Green Giant vegetables, and Campbell's soups were on the store shelves.
However, our cars have changed significantly since then. The Chevy Impala we're cruising in was discontinued and then brought back by GM sometime between 1962 and today, and it's a much smaller car today. The Volkswagen was already being imported to the US, but not too many of the other foreign names we're familiar with, such as the Lexus, Mazda and Honda. Some brands have disappeared, including recently the Pontiac and Oldsmobile. As the ad above shows, Fords were popular in 1962. And though the Studebaker company is long gone, their Avanti car is a special case that keeps coming back (see below).
Home electronics really didn't exist back then. Oh sure, you could buy a television or radio, but no cell phones, iPods, DVD players, home computers or anything digital. Remote controls were rare and most televisions sold were still black-and-white, which is why it was not important to print this ad in color or even show the screen!
Of course, you could buy comics! I mentioned the TV show 'Sea Hunt' and here's the final issue of the comic, published in April, 1962 by Dell. Dell licensed many popular TV shows and movies. Most of the covers were stills from the shows, like this one of Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson. Typical stories included Mike battling other divers and sharks under water, and searching for treasure and historical artifacts. His adventures took him to many locales such as the coast of Mexico and even diving in the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon!
Swans Down Cake Flour was first introduced in 1894 and advertises itself as "America's Favorite Cake flour." Back in 1962, it was a product of General Foods, along with such other brands as Kool-Aid, Jello, and Log Cabin Syrup. They expanded the line to include many different flavors of cake mixes, and these were the only mixes I remember my mother using. Her favorite flavors to bake were plain yellow cakes and, of course, chocolate cakes. In 1985 Reily Foods Company of New Orleans, Louisana purchased the brand from General Foods and still makes the flour today, though not the ready-to-bake mixes. Swans Down is also milled in Canada by Dover Industries, Limited.
Black & Decker hand tools are still around. The company was founded was founded in 1910 in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2010, Black & Decker merged with Stanley Works, another old line tool company, to form Stanley Black & Decker. This ad touts their drills and sanders, and that's the type of tools they were best known for for many years. I've always had one of their drills, sanders, and saws on my tool bench. But today the brand name appears on far more. You can buy Black & Decker garden tools, appliances, lighting, and even toys so the kids can work just like mom and dad!
Yes, you could buy Dunkin' Donuts in 1962! The donut chain was founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts. Mr. Rosenberg brought in a partner, his brother-in-law Harry Winouker, but they broke off their partnership in 1956. Each man kept a chain of coffee and donut shops, with William retaining the Dunkin’ Donuts name and Harry founding Mister Donut. In 1990, British food conglomerate Allied-Lyons plc purchased both restaurant chains, reuniting them under the Dunkin’ brand. Because Dunkin’ Donuts started in Massachusetts, we’ll see lots of them on our US-6 roadtrip, just as we would have in 1962. There’s one right in Sandwich on Route 6A, though I couldn’t find how long it’s been here.
A product first introduced in 1962 and still retaining a cult following today is the Studebaker Avanti. This was the last new car design by Studebaker, as the company was nearing the end of its life. Studebaker’s new president, Sherwood Egbert, made the original design sketches while on a flight west out of Chicago in late 1961. When he returned to company headquarters, he called together Raymond Loewy's design team and they completed the design in a 40-day crash program! Studebaker was able to get into production quickly because they used the existing Studebaker Lark Daytona chassis. A fiberglass body was mounted on it, along with a modified 289 Hawk engine, also an existing design. The car also included several special features such as front disc-brakes: the first American production model to offer them. The name, meaning "forward" in Italian, evoked a foreign sports car.
The new Avanti was first unveiled to the public at the New York auto show on April 26, 1962. To hype the new car, one was presented as part of the prize package for the 1962 Indianapolis 500. Winner Rodger Ward became the first private owner of an Avanti. Also, race driver Andy Granatelli broke speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats with an Avanti in late 1962, traveling faster than anyone had before in a stock American car. Despite the buzz created, Studebaker’s financial problems continued and they closed their South Bend plant in December of 1963. After closing, The Studebaker Corporation donated its collection of 37 vehicles and company archives to the City of South Bend. The collection was housed at a number of South Bend locations thereafter and now resides at the Studebaker Museum there.
The car refused to die though! South Bend Studebaker Dealers Nate Altman & Leo Newman purchased the rights, tooling, parts, and several buildings from the company. In 1965, they began producing Avanits again, continuing production until 1982, when Arnold Altman sold the Avanti rights to another party. Various entrepreneurs have revived it several times over the years at factories in Ohio and Georgia, though there were several years when no Avantis were produced. Finally, it was last made in 2007 in Cancun, Mexico. They produced just 150 a year, in a nearly hand-made fashion. The New York Times reports in 2012 that the car’s trademark and design patents are up for sale...you may soon be able to buy an Avanti again. Today, there is a collector’s club, The Avanti Owners Association International, committed to preserving the history of the Avanti and to research and study of the car and the companies that have produced it over the years.
And, if you like old and unusual cars, check out more on our 5 Obscure Cars of 1962 page!
Life Savers candies were invented in 1912 and celebrated their 50th anniversary in our year. They originally came only in peppermint, but over 40 flavors have been tried to date. The long-time favorite Butter Rum flavor was introduced in 1938. In 1934 the popular five-flavor roll was created. This is what I remember best as a kid in 1962, and as advertisements of the time proclaimed, a roll was "Still only 5 cents". The five flavors included were pineapple, lime, orange, cherry, and lemon. This combination lasted until 2003, but today the lime and lemon flavors have been replaced by raspberry and watermelon. The original line-up is still available in Canada. And don’t forget to check out How Sweet It Was - all about candy in 1962! Your favorites are sure to be mentioned.
Find out about more vintage products that you could buy in 1962 and are still for sale. Just click the links below to go to other pages of Roadtrip-‘62 ™ .
- General Motors cars – Buick and Chevrolet
- Cracker Jack popcorn snack
- Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal
- Ale-8-One soda
- Pal's Restaurants
- Moon Pie snacks
- Dr. Enuf soda
- Fifth Third Bank
- Waffle House restaurants
- Stuckey’s Candies
- Maxwell House coffee
- Burger King restaurants
- Budweiser Beer
- Ocean Spray cranberries
- Polar Beverages soda
- Tastee Freez restaurants
- Wooly Willy toy
- Holgate toys
- Eureka Springs bottled water
- Channellock tools
- Stouffer’s frozen foods
- Beeman, Adams, Black Jack, Clove, and Chiclets gums
- Cotton Club sodas
- Duck Tape brand tapes
- Ballreich's Potato Chips
- Heinz ketchup
- Frank’s and Snow Floss sauerkraut
- Fuller Brushes
- Spangler Candies: Dum-Dums and Saf-T-Pops suckers
- Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows
- Sinclair gasoline
- Filbert's Root Beer
- Dairy Queen
All photos by the author and Copyright © 2014 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.
All other content Copyright © 2014 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.