On page 65 I learned that Standard Oil of New Jersey (later to become Exxon) contracted with Geisel for seventeen years to draw cartoon panels for their Flit advertising campaign.
Flit was an insecticide invented by chemist Dr. Franklin C. Nelson, and dispensed in manual spray pumps. Anyone who lived on or visited Ocracoke in the 1930s through the 1950s will remember these Flit bug-spray guns. They were used regularly on the island for killing flies and mosquitoes. Every household, it seemed, had a Flit spray-gun handy to combat the bugs.
|Photo Courtesy of Bullenwächter|
Geisel's cartoons, and the tag line "Quick, Henry, the Flit," rocketed the product to immediate success. Although the original formula was mineral-oil based, by the 1940s and 1950s the insecticide contained DDT. Eventually, of course, the harmful effects of DDT were recognized, and the product was discontinued.
I can still remember my grandmama spraying the Flit gun in the house. I thought maybe cousin Blanche still had an old spray gun in her outbuilding, but, alas, even Blanche discarded hers. There is probably not one left on the island, and that's probably a good thing.
Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.