Ad inserts from 1917 – part 1

One thing I noticed when I was looking through the 1917 Toronto city directory was that the same ads kept appearing over and over again at the top of pages.

First, there was E. Pullan, who offered to buy your waste paper:


E. Pullan also offered to sell you sterilized polishing rags and cheese cloth:


Mr. Pullan did not provide an address in his ads, but he appears on page 1339 of the city directory. His given name turns out to be Elias, and his firm was at two locations: 16 to 22 Maud Street and 490 Adelaide West. (His residence, 80 D’Arcy Street, is now gone – there is a school there now.) The directory also informs us that two of his relatives lived in his home: Emanuel Pullan, a bookkeeper, and Miss Bessie Pullan, his secretary. A third, Harry Pullan, was the firm’s manager.

A Google search for “E. Pullan” yielded several links in the Ontario Jewish Archives, including some interesting photos:

The page mentions that Mr. Pullan was born in 1860, came to Canada in 1885, started his firm in 1890, and went on to become influential in Toronto’s Jewish community. The other Pullans mentioned in the 1917 city directory were three of his 10 children.

So a random ad in a city directory turns out to provide a snapshot of a long life seemingly well lived. I’ll write up the other ads in another post – I’ll be curious to see if anything as interesting turns up about them.


About davetill

I'm a writer and occasional web designer. I live in Toronto.
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