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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  July, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that the man known for making Lawrence of Arabia famous once made a celebrated stop through Fayette County?

Lowell Thomas, whom the Uniontown Daily News Standard called an “internationally famous explorer, writer, lecturer and radio news commentator,” paid a warmly-received visit to Fayette County in February of 1934.

He was met at the White Swan Hotel in Uniontown by 50 Boy Scouts who’d lined the hotel lobby to greet him – at 6:30 in the morning.

He would later sign autographs and share breakfast with a group of local dignitaries before taking off on the real purpose for his visit – an inspection of the “modern” coal mines in the area.

He had managed to surprise people while he was in Uniontown. He said he’d never been to Uniontown, but that he’d once met a “big fellow, nearly 300 pounder, a machine-gun talker, and a hotel proprietor” from Uniontown.

Thomas didn’t remember the fellow’s name, but five people in the throng did. “George Titlow” they apparently said in unison.

Thomas immediately responded, “That’s the name, and whatta man.”

Thomas had spent a number of weeks with T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) in 1918. He filmed him in action, and he subsequently released a film that he narrated that was widely distributed.

However, he later gained even more fame as the host of the first ever television news broadcast in 1930. Ten years later, he would become the host of the first regularly scheduled television news broadcast.

He also had a long and distinguished career in radio, and he would narrate 20th Century Fox newsreels until 1952.

Did you know that our great-grandparents, or even great-great-grandparents enjoyed some of the very same products we still buy today?

Vaseline, for instance, was first patented in 1872. It is, as you probably know, a brand name for the substance known as petroleum jelly.

I found the first local reference of its use in an 1888 edition of the Connellsville Daily Courier.

“A light application of Vaseline or any good cold cream to the face before going out on summer excursions, rides or walks is an excellent preventive of the ill effects of hot sun and wind,” said a health related article on August 24th of that year.

Back then, as today, there were obvious concerns about premature aging. That article recommended that people rubbed their faces with Vaseline every night because, “it retards the coming of wrinkles.”

In 1905, you could buy a Gillette Razor (a twelve blade razor) according to a Joseph Horne Co. ad in the Connellsville Courier, send in your 12 dulled blades, and the company would send you six news ones for free.

There was also the rather sensational claim that since it was a “safety razor,” it would be “impossible to cut yourself in any manner, shape or form” with it.

Nearly a hundred years ago, at Auslander’s Broadway grocery store in Uniontown, you could find many items that are still quite familiar to us today.

In February of 1914, Campbell’s Soups were nine cents a can; Karo Syrup was three cans for a quarter; Heinz sweet pickles cost a quarter for four dozen; and you could get six cans of Carnation Milk for a quarter.

Later that year Auslander’s sold three packages of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes for a mere 25 cents.

Did you know that by 1899 Bayer Aspirin was being marketed around the world?

The widely used analgesic could be found with its familiar Bayer logo as early as the 1920’s.

An ad in the July 8th edition of the Uniontown Morning Herald said you could get a “Handy tin box of 12 tablets” for only pennies.

That must have been a good bargain for a pill that could relieve “Headache, Toothache, Earache, Neuralgia, Rheumatism, Colds and Pain.”

Of course, later it was discovered that aspirin can be used for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

Coca Cola was first introduced in 1886. By late December of 1920 it had become so popular in Fayette County, that, according to the front page of the Morning Herald, a 13 year-old tried to hold up a confectionary story on Fayette Street for a bottle of it.

“Give me a Coca Cola, and make it quick,” he ordered the clerk while brandishing a .22 caliber revolver. He was later caught and released on “parole.”

Did you know that it was Theodore Roosevelt who first used the phrase “Good to the last drop” when referring to Maxwell House coffee?

The makers of the coffee first started using that slogan in 1917.

It must have worked. By the early 1920’s, organizations staged events in Fayette County – and serving Maxwell House coffee was considered a very positive development.

The Society Editor for the Morning Herald wrote, on December 15th, 1922, that a large set of Christmas themed events were held at Asbury M.E. Church in Uniontown.

“The menu was quite up to the standard of past years which means it could not be better. Maxwell House coffee was furnished and prepared by a representative of the company”

Did you know that while Pennsylvania was considered a “free state” before and during the Civil War, some people still owned slaves in Fayette County?

I’ll explain that further next week.