Saturday, May 03, 2014

The scandalous nature of John C. Flatt's fans

As you might expect, I was scandalized to discover last week that PACDs (Personal Air Conditioning Devices) bearing images of scantily clad young women were in use on the Chariton square during 1925, but then I remembered that this was the "anything goes" decade. So perhaps it's not that surprising.

The device, commonly known as a fan, is displayed with other advertising ephemera in the commons room at the museum, and came out of the case to have its photograph taken as we integrate images of artifacts into the digital cataloging system.

The fan was in use at Flatt's Ice Cream Parlor, and we can date it with some accuracy because the printed location on the back of the fan, "North Side Square," has been altered with pen and ink to read, "East Side Square."

At the time the fan was printed, John C. Flatt was operating his candy kitchen and ice cream parlor in half of the Blake Building, which currently houses Ben Franklin --- on the north side of the square.

During 1925, he purchased the old Palmer Building (the oldest on the square) just north of the alley on the east side and commissioned a new facade and extensive renovations, then moved in. Rather than order new fans, the Flatts just changed location with the stroke of a pen.

When the Flatts moved into an upstairs apartment and opened the front doors onto North Grand Street during August of 1925, candy cases and a soda fountain were located in the front of the building, the ice cream parlor was located in the center and the candy kitchen brought up the rear. The ice cream-making operation was housed in the newly renovated basement. During November of 1926, a 20- by 36-foot addition was made to the rear of the building.

I've written about John C. Flatt and his ice cream business before, so if interested you can follow this link. John was only 57 when he died on June 1, 1936, 11 years after moving to his new location. He'd had a hard life --- and remained optimistic throughout it. 

If you'd like to take a closer look at the fan, right-click on either image and open the link in a new window.

The location of Flatt's candy shop and ice cream parlor, vacant since South Central Mutual Insurance moved to new quarters.

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