And everything to do with marketing. I’ve rounded up a few old ads for bathroom scales, and they are doozies.
From the late 19th century and into the Depression era, scale manufacturers successfully parlayed their machinery into a smaller moneymaker for humans: a novelty item where people could pay a penny to find out their weight at department stores, on street corners, in movie theaters. What could be more fun?!?
By the post-war years in the late 1940s, scale technology got smaller, household incomes got higher, and ad men got to work convincing people to weigh themselves daily or else you would get fat fat fat.
Here are the results of a little non-scientific survey of old Life magazines:
p.s. By 1955, I couldn’t find any more ads that spell out why you must get a scale and weigh yourself daily. I guess by then you just knew: dieting is your job. Well done, ad men.
p.p.s. In 1959, Dr. Albert Stunkard first described the behaviors that would later become known as binge eating disorder. Coincidence?
all ads from Life magazine via Google Books
main image via