A glance in the rearview mirror: May 1921—Prisoner plates. Lightning strikes. A non-squirting grapefruit.

by Mary Jo David

The following excerpts are from May 1921 editions of the Stockbridge Brief-Sun newspaper. In general, these news excerpts are reproduced in the original, without edits or corrections.


  • Manufacture Auto License Plates (May 5): At the Jackson State Prison, automobile license plates are now being manufactured by the thousands in a new plant recently installed, and in addition, new work is being planned for the immense presses purchased for the plate making. Four machines are required for the operation of the license plate department at the prison…After coming from the last press, the plates are given an anti-rust bath and afterwards dipped in the background color and carried by endless chain conveyor to a huge oven where they are baked in a temperature of 235 degrees for two hours and forty minutes.
  • License to Fish (May 5): The angelers [sic] license law, sponsored by the different sportsmen’s organizations throughout the state, has been passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Groesbeck. The law will become effective July 1…The license fee will be $1.00 and may be obtained from any county clerk, village or township clerk, or any game warden…Any person violating any of the provisions of this act, shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $10 or 10 days in the county jail.
  • (May 5): and Mrs. William Lister, Ypsilanti, have discovered that they can produce music on their phonograph with thorns from the ordinary thorn tree in place of the manufactured phonograph needles. They have been using the thorns for over a month and say that their records produce softer and sweeter tones than the steel needles.
  • Sure Cure for Diphtheria (May 19): Free and unlimited distribution of antitoxin, the certain cure for diphtheria when administered within 21 hours after onset of sickness, will start Jan. 1, 1922. The Michigan Department of Health in the meantime is planning a state-wide educational campaign to reduce the incidence of the disease which caused more than 800 deaths last year.



A Dangerous Period Through Which Every Woman Must Pass

Practical Suggestions Given by the Women Whose Letters Follow

…Mrs. Mary Lister of Adrian, Mich., adds her testimony to the value of Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable compound to carry women safely through the Change of Life. She says, “It is with pleasure that I write to you thanking you for what your wonderful medicine has done for me. I was passing through the Change of Life and had a displacement and weakness so that I could not stand on my feet and other annoying symptoms. A friend told me about Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound and the first bottle helped me, so I got more. It cured me and I am now doing my housework.”…


  • (May 19): Only four young people will graduate from the Stockbridge High School this year: Agnes Gibney, Donald Paul, Mildred Henderson, and Orrene Kutt. The commencement exercises will be held Thursday evening, June 9th.
  • (May 26): Carl and Emma Tisch of Dewey District, Waterloo, are the only pupils who have been neither absent nor tardy during the year.


  • Closing Notice (May 12): The Physicians of Stockbridge have made the following arrangements for the summer. Dr. Brown and Dr. Rowe will close their offices every Wednesday afternoon and Dr. Brogan and Dr. Stitt every Thursday afternoon and evening from date until September 1st.
  • (May 12): During one of the recent storms, William Feldpaush lost two cows by lightning
  • (May 12): A speed cop dropped in town one day last week and made one or two drivers sit up and take notice….(May 19): It makes a person riding in a Ford feel foolish to be traveling through the country with an eye over his shoulder for the speed-cop, the Tin Lizzie doing its best, and then have one of those “big boys” drive by as though you were standing still.


  • (May 12): Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. there will be a marker set for Ephrim Wheaton, a Civil War Vetren [sic], at the North Stockbridge Cemetery to which the public is invited.
  • (May 12): Several among Darts Corners are having the mumps. Garold Kinch has them here at Millville.


  • (May 12): The contest between the Plainfield and Unadilla Sunday Schools are bringing out quite a number of attendants. 91 reported at Plainfield last Sunday, and the same number at Unadilla Mother’s Day.


(May 5, 1921): The “squirtless” grapefruit may appear soon on the breakfast table. The new product, designed to spare the eye from a citrus shower, is known as the tangelo. It is a hybrid, the offspring of the tangerine and the grapefruit, but is more tender than either parent. “There is little or no tendency for the juice of the tangelo to squirt when the spoon is inserted,” the government agricultural bulletin said.

Hike to National Capital (May 26, 1921): “Join the army and walk around the world!” Do you remember that slogan? Doughboys whose weary feet ate up the kilometers on the other side and the miles on this side so paraphrased the advertising of the recruiting service during the war. But walking won the war. “Let’s keep it up,” urges W.F. Kurtz, Kansas national executive committeeman of the American Legion. “Let’s walk to Washington and tell them what the Legion wants for its disabled and for its whole membership.” According to Mr. Kurtz’ plan, delegates from each state department of the Legion would hike overland…to meet on the White House steps on the same day. However, he would permit representatives from the other side of the Rockies to ride the cushions across to this side. Legion posts along the way would feed and shelter the hikers.

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