An Electric Alphabet

On my poster stamps page I show a set of 26 alphabet stamps
issued by New York Edison to promote the use of electricity(!) in 1913.
Below is their text. It's not high art, to be sure, but it's fun.
Which one do you think is the silliest? I vote for U.

For images of the stamps CLICK HERE.

You will note that D, F, and X have two versions.
The first is the actual one, the second (italicized),
was written by a friend of mine, to fill in the gaps
before I owned copies of those to get the real text.


A represents the shining arc
All children love its light.
Because it keeps off bogey-men
Who lurk around at night.

B stands for Bottle baby, notice how
He'll gaily laugh and crow
Electric heaters warm the food
That makes him quickly grow.

C takes us to the Chafing dish
Electric power brings
The heat to it for making fudge
And other tempting things.

D represents the Dentist man
Now painlessly he fills
All aching teeth by working with
Motor driven drills.

D stands for Darned cold
That's what you're going to be
Because we've been fleeced and
Abandoned by good old P G & E.

E is for Elevator cars
That smoothly gain the tower
Of tallest buildings by the aid
Of great electric power.

F is for Fan, electric fan,
It is the only thing
That makes the heated summer days
As cool as early spring.

F stands for Futile
Which is what your hopes are now
Since Enron and Pacific Gas
Cashed out the California cow.

G is for Grandpa who can see
To read quite well at night,
The reason is, he sits beneath
A shining Tungsten light.

H stands for Heat, electric kind
Within the range that makes
The oven hot for bread and pies
Or dandy sample cakes.

I represents electric Irons
That everybody knows
Are now the cool, clean, modern way
Of pressing all our clothes.

J is for Joy that always comes
To people every day
Who quickly cook their daily food
The new electric way.

K is for Kitchen, neat and clean,
And wired in latest style,
Electric power helps the cook,
And this explains her smile.

L represents the twisting Lights
That flash in changing lines
And make the letters and the words
Of advertising signs.

M is for heavy Motor truck
That works the whole year through
And does not scare at girls and boys
As horses often do.

N surely stands for Nickelo,
Where every changing scene
Is flashed by bright electric light
Upon the darkened screen.

O stands for Organ that the man
Now plays with greatest zest
Because a motor does the work
And gives his feet a rest.

P is for Porch that after dark
Is made as bright as day
By clusters of electric lights
That drive the gloom away.

Q is for Queen, and as you see
Beside her sits the king,
They both enjoy the cooling breeze
Electric fans can bring.

R is for nimble Runabouts
That keep so neat and clean
Without the trouble, noise or dirt
That follow gasoline.

S is for Switch, but not the kind
That makes bad children cry;
It's fun to turn this one and see
The darkest shadows fly.

T is for Toaster, just see how
The man is smiling down
Upon the pile of breakfast toast
It makes so crisp and brown.

U stands for Urchin watching this
Electric freezer spin
He knows what good stuff it contains
And that's what makes him grin.

V is for Vacuum cleaner that
Will keep the whole house bright,
Because it swiftly sweeps the dirt
And dust up out of sight.

W stands for Wash machine
Run by swift motor power,
The wash day that was once so hard
Is now a pleasant hour.

X represents the Xmas tree
now lighted by a wire,
So that old Santa's whiskers can't
Get singed by flames of fire.

X stands for that old standby, X-ray
The cure so many will need
Who've been affected by side effects
Of the energy companies' greed.

Y is for Youthful appetite
With which all people eat
The tasteful food prepared upon
Electric cookers neat.

Z stands for Zero, when Jack Frost
Rules everything until
Electric radiators come
And drive away his chill.


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All Letter images Copyright © 1997, 2000, SF chapter of AIGA
All text Copyright © 2000, William M. Senkus

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Revised -- 08/17/2009