A faded toothpaste ad reappears on 43rd Street

Ever heard of Sozodont Toothpaste? Me neither, but in 1859, it was invented by a New Jersey druggist and manufactured by a firm on Washington Street called Hall & Ruckell.


And at some point in the early 1900s, this colorful Sozodont advertisement went up on the side of a stately building on 43rd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, across from Grand Central Terminal.

Toothpastedvanderbiltave2Hidden behind another building for decades, the remarkably well preserved three-story ad finally saw the light of day again thanks to that building’s recent demolition.

Sozodont fell out of favor in the early 20th century; apparently its high alcohol content destroyed enamel and turned teeth yellow.

The ad will probably go into hiding again soon, but what a relic of the early 20th century city!

[Thanks to Rick F. for alerting ENY to this beauty.]

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8 Responses to “A faded toothpaste ad reappears on 43rd Street”

  1. wack60585 Says:

    Reblogged this on wack60585.

  2. raybarnhart1968 Says:

    So the demolished building, is that where the new One Vanderbilt will be? Thanks for posting this. Bittersweet.

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I think so–that sounds about right. One Vanderbilt will cover up this beautiful artifact!

  4. Brian Van Says:

    Actually the whole block is coming down, so bye-bye ad

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Well that’s a shame. These kinds of building ads were a kind of street art in their day.

  6. NY Bob Says:

    Would be great to see some of these works or art restored to their original beauty. I wonder if there is any kind of effort underway to do this?

  7. Alex Says:

    Unfortunately that building on the corner with the ad is also coming down. The stores that occupied the building closed up several months ago, including the Modells store on the corner of 42nd.

    Here’s an article on the planned project.


  8. stefanie Says:

    I just took some photos of the mural this morning and then googled it and found your post. So sad to see the mural, and the buildings disappear. They were quite lovely, i thought. All on that block are coming down as we speak, to make way for high-rise corporate headquarters for TD Bank.

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