At the 140 (twitter) conference in New York last week, I had the pleasure of meeting the man behind fellow Mad Men tweeter Frank Adman with whom I shared not only twittertinis but memories of once essential tools of the trade. Where have all the Acu-arcs, xactos and stat cams gone? To the Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies, of course!
I started out as a junior art director but switched to writer partly due to lack of math skills. You had to be a numbers person to be an art director in the old days. Standard issue to ADs was this proportional wheel, which I never was able to figure out how to work. Most had the name of the owner markered in HUGE pt type on the back.
Rubber Cement Pickup
Used for removing "goobers" left after rubber cementing a layout onto foamcore.
Polaroid SLR 680 Camera
Used to be, ad agencies did their own casting in conference rooms. Models were constantly parading through the hallways or freshening up at the ladies room mirror, where a girl could feel like a separate species. Casting directors had multiple 680s to grab headshots. I've long been in awe of one of the first casting people I worked with, an assistant named Avy Kaufman, who parlayed a knack for choosing shills for household cleaners into a brilliant career casting for Woody Allen and others.
No self-respecting art director was without a blue-anodized xacto knife, a swivel knife for cutting rubylith (see next item) and the super professional "burnisher" for rubbing down lettraset type. Letraset! Anyone remember?
Light-safe red film used by graphic designers for masking areas, used in various printing techniques. Some ADs sported a 7X magnifying eyepiece while cutting it or the other popular masker, yellow amberlith.
Many more blasts from the past on view at the always-open Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies. Unfortunately, no Lucigraph. Though Frank Adman claims to be harboring one in his attic.