D. Dudley Bloom


D. Dudley Bloom

D. Dudley Bloom is an American businessman who made notable contributions to the consumer products industry as an inventor, advertising copywriter, and marketing executive during the 1950s and early 1960s, including proposing and designing the first conventional travel luggage built on wheels and designing and marketing the first "magic milk bottle" for dolls.

Contents

Early years

Bloom was raised in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, second child and only son of Harry and Cecile Gaffin Bloom, where he was known for putting on magic shows in his family's backyard. His father was co-owner and sales manager of the Bloom Brothers Department Stores in Chambersburg and Waynesboro, Pennsylvania,[1] and his mother, raised in Manhattan, had worked as a bookkeeper for Macy's Department Stores before her marriage.[2] Bloom graduated from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and during World War II served in the United States Navy. After the war, he attended Dickinson School of Law (now a division of Pennsylvania State University), also in Carlisle.[3][4]

Toys for future earners

After clerking for a small Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, law firm, Bloom moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he became assistant buyer of men's clothing at Lit Brothers' Department Store.[5] While working at Lit's, he met his future wife, Nancy Blum, and the couple married in June, 1953.[6][7][8]

Bloom then joined the New York office of A. J. Wood, Inc., market research counselors. Training in mass marketing research at Wood's prepared Bloom in the spring of 1954 to become director of product research and promotion at the American Metals Specialties Corporation (AMSCO), a then-struggling toy manufacturer located in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.[9]

At AMSCO, Bloom expanded the company's line of reality-based toys that eschewed traditional themes of cowboys and soldiers and encouraged children to imitate constructive adult roles.[10] "If we teach our children war and crime," he was quoted in 1959, "we haven't much of a future to look forward to."[11] He taught the industry that children become consumers long before they earn money. "Tie-ins" between AMSCO toys and the consumer products of the major manufacturers[12] enabled children to play cook with brand-named products from General Foods, Procter and Gamble, and Kellogg's; to feed dolls with a "magic milk bottle" whose Pet Milk disappeared as "Dolly" drank it; and to care for dolls with real Johnson and Johnson's baby shampoo and powder. Children played doctor with toy stethoscopes, playwright and stage director with magnetic puppet theaters, and astronaut with rockets.[13][14] Soon, consumer product manufacturers were initiating reality-based campaigns of their own, such as General Foods for its AMSCO-made Maxwell House Coffee Time Set, blurring the merchandising line between vastly different industries.[15]

Bloom packaged virtually everything in see-through acetate rather than the cardboard paper to which the industry had been accustomed.[16]

Luggage too far ahead of its time

In between stints at AMSCO (1954–57 and 1959–62), Bloom was director of product development at Atlantic Luggage Company in Trenton, New Jersey, where he created the "sea horse" logo that the company uses today. In 1958, he proposed that Atlantic put luggage on wheels and built a "mock-up" of a suitcase attached to a platform that had casters and a handle. The company's chairman dismissed the idea as impractical. (Although at Christmas, 1949, Bloomingdale's had sold a novelty device that attached to existing luggage so that it could be wheeled,[17] and camp trunks had been manufactured on wheels since at least the 1880s,[18] no one had ever put ordinary luggage on wheels. The concept was finally taken up and patented by U. S. Luggage Corporation in 1972, fourteen years later.[19] Bloom, of course, was not credited for the idea and soon left Atlantic. By the 1980s, virtually all luggage had wheels.[20])

Later career

Bloom retired from consumer marketing in 1962 and spent the rest of his business career as a commercial and residential real estate broker.[21][22][23][24]

Notes

  1. ^ Chambersburg Public Opinion, January 13, 1969, p. 3.
  2. ^ Chambersburg Public Opinion, September 24, 1973, p. 14.
  3. ^ Chambersburg Public Opinion, October 9, 1944.
  4. ^ The Harrisburg Patriot, August 1, 1953
  5. ^ Philadelphia Daily News Record, January, 1953.
  6. ^ Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, May 2, 1953.
  7. ^ Philadelphia Inquirer, July 5, 1953.
  8. ^ Harrisburg (PA) Patriot, August 1, 1953.
  9. ^ EJots, April, 1954.
  10. ^ Doylestown Daily Intelligencer, December 20, 1958, p. 1.
  11. ^ "New Toys Are Just Plain Fun," Newsday, March 11, 1959, p. 41.
  12. ^ Playthings, May 1961, p. 82.
  13. ^ Newsday.
  14. ^ Juvenile Marketing, September 1960, p. 51.
  15. ^ Playthings.
  16. ^ Juvenile Marketing.
  17. ^ New York Times, December 8, 1949, p. 47.
  18. ^ Interview with D. Dudley Bloom, 2009.
  19. ^ Telephone conversation with Bernard Sadow, retired president and chairman of U. S. Luggage, 2006.
  20. ^ Sadow, 2006.
  21. ^ Duck Key Beachcomber, August–September 1965, p. 2.
  22. ^ Palm Beach Gazette, February 1966, p14.
  23. ^ Main Line Times, Ardmore, Pennsylvania, around 1968.
  24. ^ Palm Beach Gazette, February 1966, p. 14.

External links

  • American Plastic Toys, [1]
  • Atlantic Luggage Company, [2]
  • Bloom Brothers Department Stores, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, 1897–1944
  • DDB Worldwide, [3]
  • Gulshan, Helenka. Vintage Luggage: A History. Philip Wilson, 2003.
  • History of American Toys, [4]
  • Jaffe, Deborah. The History of Toys. The History Press, 2006.
  • Playthings, toy industry trade journal, [5]
  • The Toy Industry Association (TIA), [6]
  • The Toy Directory, [7]
  • Walsh, Tim. Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them. Andrews McMeel, 2005.
  • World War II Fighting Ships, US Navy, USS Mizpah, [8]
  • World War II Fighting Ships, US Navy, USS Liberty, [9]

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