Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Do You Remember the Fuller Brush Man?

Door to Door salesmen were very common in Birmingham, Alabama, when I was a little girl, and there were a few that my mother bought from regularly. She would always look forward to seeing the Fuller Brush Man, and I remember that she bought vanilla from the Watkins man. There was a local man, with a converted school bus, who came down our street quite frequently, with all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

I don't remember the Avon Lady ever stopping by, but the dry cleaners made a regular stop at our house for pickup and delivery. I also remember that my grandmother, who lived in Chicago, would call the grocery store, and a young boy would climb the stairs to her apartment and deliver her groceries right into her kitchen.

Why even the doctor made housecalls when I was sick!

And of course, my favorite, the young boy on the bicycle ... not just any bicycle, but one outfitted with a small freezer box behind the seat ... jingling his merry tune ... selling ICE CREAM!

Times have changed, and with our fast paced lives, many of these conveniences can be had only by paying extra for them.

And what about today's Door to Door salesperson?

Why it's the mail carrier or UPS driver, bringing your Internet purchase straight to your door!

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22 comments:

Jill said...

I remember them and I remember when we used to get milk delivered to the door step. I also remember trying to sell Girl Scout cookies and no body wanted any. Guess that's why I didn't go into sales!

Dirty Butter said...

How could I have possibly forgotten the old glass milk bottles, with the cardboard insert lids, set out in the wire basket on the porch!! Thanks for reminding me, Jill!

I never was a Girl Scout, but I remember trying to sell SEEDS, of all things, for a school project. We sure had a big flower garden that year hehe.

Lisa said...

I don't remember the Fuller brush man but I do remember Stanley products (and I'm not talking hardware). They were cleaning products for the home (kind of like Amway is today). I remember when the Avon lady used to come door to door. My mom used to sell Avon and Tupperware at one time.

Dirty Butter said...

I don't remember Stanley going door to door, Lisa, but I do remember going to Stanley home parties, much like the Tupperware ones. In fact, I still have a few of the dust mops and toilet brushes I bought from them years ago!

Maybe that was the problem with some of these companies ... the products were so well made that they couldn't get enough repeat business LOL!

gcruse said...

As of the late 1990s, Fuller Brush was owned by CPAC, a photofinishing supply company in St Louis. It seems like an odd marriage, but there you go.

Dirty Butter said...

Talk about the odd couple, that's a strange pairing for sure, gcruse. Your comment prompted me to search for the history of the Fuller Brush Co.

The stories of so many companies started during the 1900 to 1920 era are so fascinating.

Marie said...

We had a Watkins man in our town as recently as ten years ago. It is because of his products in my MIL's house that I became a Watkins rep myself.

Dirty Butter said...

Hmmmm I'm not the cook in the family (it skipped a generation), so I didn't realize Watkins was still available, Monika. Is it still door to door?

WendyWings said...

We never did have Fuller Brush men here in NZ.
Just surfed here through blogclicker today so thought I would say hello!

Dirty Butter said...

Thanks for stopping by, Miss Wings. What sorts of door to door sales people would have been knocking on your door in New Zealand 50+ years ago, I wonder.

dawn said...

My daughters grandmother used to sell Fuller Brush and Avon. I can remember helping her get the orders ready for dropping off.

Dirty Butter said...

I remember having one particular Fuller Brush hair brush that was just wonderful. I seem to remember the wooden handle was marked that it was made of boar's bristles! Do you suppose I imagined that, or would that have been possible?

Thanks, Dawn, for stopping by and sharing your Fuller Brush and Avon memories.

Bar Bar A said...

I just found you while "surfing". Yes I remember the Fuller Brush Man and the "Barbara Ann Bakery" truck that delivered fresh bread. I remember the guy that walked down the street with a pony and you could pay to have your photo taken on it. You just don't see things like that anymore!

Nice blog you have :)

Dirty Butter said...

I don't remember there being anyone who delivered fresh bread when I was little. I do, however, have a vivid memory of riding a pony down our street. I always figured I dreamed that, but maybe not!

Thanks for stopping by, Layla!

cube said...

Yes, I remember the Fuller Brush man, best hair brushes ever. Also remember the milk man, and the Charles Chips man. Thanks for reminding me.

Dirty Butter said...

You're right, cube, I never realized, until I started this blog, how much fun it would be remembering everyday, mundane happenings from my youth and enjoying hearing what everyone has to share about their childhood memories.

Marie said...

Yes, the boar bristle brush is still available, too, I think. My husband has one.

As for Watkins, you own your own business and can work it as you like. Some still do go door to door. However most of us share catalogs, do small fairs and shows, or use the internet.

Dirty Butter said...

Thanks for the reply, Monika. So I didn't imagine the boar bristles hair brush after all. Now to see if I can find one like the one I remember.

Don said...

Yep, remember the Fuller Brush man, and am a Watkins man myself. Watkins is still there, but with the way the environment is now, we don't, for the most part, go door to door anymore. Our sales are through catalog sharing, on line advertising and such. You can make some pretty good money at it, but like any business, you need to work it as a business.

I miss those days of people feeling safe enough they could go door to door...

Ah, the nostalgia of this post DB, thanks!

DB, if you are interested in a Watkins catalog, I can send you one. :) (or go to http://www.watkinsonline.com/dbell)

Don
http://exposeyourblog.com

Dirty Butter said...

I thought you'd enjoy that post, Dan. I hope you read all the comments, too!

Bess said...

You didn't mention the Jewel Tea Company with their brown truck! One could win cream colored dishes with a brown and orange decoration for purchasing their products. Back when most packaging was plain, they came out with beautiful pictures of fruit on their gelatin boxes, and outsold everyone else whereever they went. For Fuller Brush, we now sell by phone and by internet, see http://sneakykitchen.com/fullerbrush/index.htm

Dirty Butter said...

Thanks for adding your memory, Bess. I don't remember the Jewel Tea Company trucks, dishes, or their packaging.

Your site looks interesting. I'm going to enjoy looking through it.