Friday, May 18, 2012

You want me to do what?

Back in the early 1900s, venerable Savage Arms produced a small-frame semi-automatic pistol chambered in .32. The marketing angle was an appeal to women in need of protection but afraid of firearms.

Most of the ads for this gun were either hyperbolic or chauvinist -- and usually both -- but this one takes the prize for lousy advice.

Here's a taste of the copy:
Shoot the First Shots Out of the Window!

That is the very best thing to do when you find a burglar in the house, says Wm. P. Sheridan, famous detective, in the
Woman's World Magazine. Arouse the whole neighborhood with shots! These first two or three shots will cause neighbors to jump to the 'phone and call the police.

Save the rest of your shots in case the burglar attacks you.
Yes, you read that right -- exactly 100 years ago, encouraging an inexperienced shooter facing an intruder to fire a few rounds out the window was considered a good idea. I know we're talking about deadly force and home defense here, but honestly, I can't help laughing.

Notice that the ad included an offer of even more such wisdom. By mail, for six cents, a reader could get a copy of The Tenderfoot's Turn (written, incidentally, by one Bat Masterson). Can you imagine?