Search Results for: Collectors-Weekly

State of the #Longreads, 2014

Lately there has been some angst about the state of longform journalism on the Internet. So I thought I’d share some quick data on what we’ve seen within the Longreads community: Read more…

Why Did 'Girl Toys' All Become Pink?

Pink is a funny thing. In the early days of the 20th century, pink was not necessarily a girl color. I’ve even heard that pink was considered a popular color for boys because it was a lighter version of red, which has always been seen as powerful and masculine. But as the 20th century went by, pink became a much more popular color for girls. I’ve heard they’ve done scientific studies that show that women and girls and even female babies are more attracted to redder colors than boys, but I take all of that with a grain of salt. I think girls’ attraction to pink is societal for the most part.

Do you know that when Barbie came out in the 1950s, her original look didn’t have a smidgen of pink in it? I don’t think Barbie started using pink as her primary color until the ’70s. Barbie was supposed to be a high-fashion doll, so her first outfit was black and white, not pink. But Barbie really is to blame for all the pink: Mattel actually has a copyrighted color now called Barbie Pink. They own rights to that pink, and you can’t use that exact formula on anything that isn’t Barbie.

Today, pink is a very young color. In other words, younger girls tend to like pink much more than older girls. Older girls are a little more sophisticated. By the time they’re 8 or 9 years old, they’re more conscious of the fashions they’re wearing and the media trends they see, which isn’t all pink. So younger girls tend to like pink and the older girls tend to like other colors. You don’t see the Monster High girls wearing pink. That’s not their schtick. They’re wearing colors that are more edgy and modern.

Veteran toy designer Stefanie Eskander, in Collectors Weekly, on the gender divide in the toy business, and why it still exists. Read more from Collectors Weekly in the Longreads Archive.

Why Soda First Became Popular: It Wasn't Just the Cocaine

“Recipes I’ve seen suggest it was about 0.01 grams of cocaine used in fountain sodas. That’s about a tenth of a line of coke,” he says. “It’s hard to be sure, but I don’t think it would’ve given people a massive high. It would definitely be enough to have some kind of effect, probably stronger than coffee.” While the dosages were small, they were certainly habit-forming, and soda fountains stood to profit from such consistent customers.

Soon “it became obvious to the medical profession that there weren’t any health benefits to carbonated water on its own, so people started selling it as a treat,” says Funderburg. “It’s hard to put our heads around how much of a treat cold fizzy water was back then. People didn’t have mechanical refrigeration, so to have a cold drink was a big deal.”

-Hunter Oatman-Stanford, in Collectors Weekly, with a brief history of soda consumption in America. Read more from Collectors Weekly.

The Year That Cars Took the Roads Away from Pedestrians

In a new essay for Collectors Weekly, Hunter Oatman-Stanford and Peter Norton, author of Fighting Traffic, examine the history of the automobile in America, and how our perception of city streets changed:

In 1924, recognizing the crisis on America’s streets, President Herbert Hoover launched the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety. Any organizations interested or invested in transportation planning were invited to discuss street safety and help establish standardized traffic regulations that could be implemented across the country. Since the conference’s biggest players all represented the auto industry, the group’s recommendations prioritized private motor vehicles over all other transit modes.

Norton suggests that the most important outcome of this meeting was a model municipal traffic ordinance, which was released in 1927 and provided a framework for cities writing their own street regulations. This model ordinance was the first to officially deprive pedestrians access to public streets. “Pedestrians could cross at crosswalks. They could also cross when traffic permitted, or in other words, when there was no traffic,” explains Norton. “But other than that, the streets were now for cars. That model was presented to the cities of America by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which gave it the stamp of official government recommendation, and it was very successful and widely adopted.” By the 1930s, this legislation represented the new rule of the road, making it more difficult to take legal recourse against drivers.

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Longreads Archive: Collectors Weekly

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