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The Suburbanite
  • The Monday After: Lac-Mar magic

  • “The label says Lac-Mar will not explode,” said Louis Marino of Perry Township, who was holding a bottle of the automobile polish that he bought at a garage sale. “I thought it was pretty funny they would put that on it.”

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  • “The label says Lac-Mar will not explode,” said Louis Marino of Perry Township, who was holding a bottle of the automobile polish that he bought at a garage sale. “I thought it was pretty funny they would put that on it.”
    Apparently, there must have been a problem with exploding polishes early in the 20th century.
    Lac-Mar “Lasting Luster” polish was manufactured by Luster Polish Co. of 620 Walnut Ave. SE in Canton, according to its label.
    “It took the bottle to an antiques appraiser,” said Marino, “and the guy who was doing the appraising said he thought the bottle was made somewhere between 1890 and 1910 because it doesn’t have a screw cap.”
    LOOKING FOR LOCATION
    An advertisement in the “Polish, Auto” section of the 1920 Chilton Automobile Directory locates Lac-Mar Co. at 1228 Tuscarawas St. E. So does an advertisement for “Lac-Mar Lasting Luster Polish in the 1918 edition of “Motor World Wholesale, Volume 54.”
    The Canton City Directory for those years lists the company at the Tuscarawas Street E address at that time, but not in the decades previous and following the 1920s, when the building appears to have become simply a residence for various individuals.
    No listing of Lac-Mar at 620 Walnut Ave. SE could be found in the directory — neither for the period that the antiques appraiser suggested the bottle could have been made, nor immediately prior to and after the company did business at the Tuscarawas Street E location.
    PRAISING THE PRODUCT
    The Motor World advertisement, placed by “The Lac-Mar Company, Canton, Ohio,” was glowing in describing the product.
    “It is chemically pure and can not injure the finish of a car,” the ad said. “Lac-Mar will not catch dust. It has been given a thorough test and is highly endorsed by the trade.
    “Dealers and jobbers, reliable articles build your business. Lac-Mar is a business builder.”
    The bottle’s label itself is sort of insistent in it’s advertising.
    “For Automobiles,” the label says. “Use good Oil for the Engine and LAC-MAR for the Body.”
    OTHER USES
    Additional information on the label says the contents of the 12-ounce bottle is “A Food for Wood” which had many other uses.
    “A scientific preparation of Pure Cedar Oil and other important ingredients, free from grease and grit; for reviving the finish on new and old Furniture, Automobiles, Victrolas, Hardwood Floors and all other varnished, painted, stained and lacquered surfaces.”
    The label made additional promises.
    “Cleans and lengthens the life of Linoleum and Leather,” the label claimed. “Cleans and polishes Brassware, Enamelware, Tile Grate Fronts.
    A homeowner could also “renew your dust and polish mops with Lac-Mar,” the label said
    Page 2 of 2 - PROCESS OUTLINED
    The Luster Polish Co. offered on its bottles some directions for how its product should be used. Placing drops of Lac-Mar on cheesecloth was recommended for polishing furniture. Pouring Lac-Mar into warm water and applying it with a mop was the proper technique for cleaning linoleum.
    “Spray the floor lightly with LAC-MAR before sweeping,” the label suggests, for controlling dust. “It leaves a very pleasant odor.”
    Marino hasn’t smelled the stuff, so he can’t verify that claim. He hasn’t opened the bottle. He said he has no plans to use it.
    He was amused, however, by the last claim the bottle made, assuring those who purchased it that it was good “for killing roaches.”
    “Spray thoroughly around sinks, cupboards, etc.,” the label on the back of the bottle directs. “It kills roaches and prevents other from coming.”
    Yet on the front label of Lac-Mar assures users that the polish “will not injure the most tender hands” and that “any child can safely apply it.”
    “It’ll kill roaches,” Marino smiled, “but it won’t kill kids.”
    The label suggested that Lac-Mar might make its user’s life better.
    “Add a touch of brightness to your home by using Lac-Mar.”
    Plus, of course, it won’t blow up.
    Reach Gary at 330-580-8303 or gary.brown@cantonrep.com.
    On Twitter: @gbrownREP