Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


YA GOTTA schlep the stock, move the merchandise, fill the till. And what better celebrity endorsement than the world’s most famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Over the years, Holmes has hyped action toys, aircraft identification, beds, beer, cigarettes, clothing, corn flakes, electric utilities, furniture polish, games, hotels, income tax, jugs, matryoshka dolls, mugs, pubs, sparkling water, pipes, pipe tobacco, roof repair and weekend adventures, to name a few. Were cocaine legal, shopkeepers might promote “Sherlock’s Snow.”

Here are several examples, some from Pictorial History of Sherlock Holmes by Michael Pointer, others from my Sherlockiana.


Aero Modeller magazine cover, May 1941. This and other images from The Pictorial History of Sherlock Holmes.

What better way to stress the importance of correct aircraft identification during the height of the Nazi attacks on Britain.


“The right book will always keep you company.” Image from Ads of the World.

At first glance this ad for Steimatzky Bookstores may seem something of a stretch. However, it offers a clear message for Steimatzky (originally solely an Israeli chain, now also in New York and Los Angeles). Other bedmates in the ad series include Don Quixote with his sidekick Sancho Panza, Josef Stalin, Pippi Longstockings, Gandalf and a Buddhist monk, each with appropriate reading matter.


Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes.

Kellogg raises a tantalizing question: In the Mystery of the Vanishing Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, is it possible that Holmes himself is the culprit?


Not actually Holmes, of course. However, Basil Rathbone was one of his theatrical portrayers. The iconic magnifying glass helps with the association, as does the movie plug.

Both Holmes and Watson enjoyed tobacco, though pipes and cigars were more their thing than cigarettes. On the other hand, kids don’t collect pipe or cigar cards, do they?


Cigarette cards were (and are) collectibles, especially when they picture favorite personages.

Electric utilities would seem an odd pitch for the world’s most famous consulting detective. However, both the County Council of Sydney, Australia, in 1942 and the British Electricity Council in 1972 had Holmes pitching the benefits of efficiency and conservation.


Holmes did a lot of pitches in Australia; these, in the Sydney Morning Herald. Images from Derham Groves.

Returning home to England, Holmes tutored Watson on the benefits of metal-sheathed heating elements.


Image from the British Electricity Council, 1972.

Darlene A. Cypser is a Sherlockian of note, having published several “trifling monographs” as well as The Consulting Detective Trilogy Part I: University. She is also an Attorney at Law with special expertise in tax preparation.


Our Sleuth’s influence extends into tax preparation. Image from The Consulting Detective.

SimanaitisSays has documented Holmes and his associates in several items, including “Matryoshka.” My set of five nested dolls consists of, in decreasing size, Holmes, Watson, Inspector Lestrade, Holmes’ portly brother Mycroft and, last, the Baskerville Hound.


The Holmes matryoshka dolls.

I also have several Toby jugs of our favorite consulting detective, though I’ve used them only for storing other small objects of Sherlockiana. It makes completely good sense for Holmes to pitch imbibing, what with a pub in London named in his honor.


Holmes masquerades as a Toby jug. The Sherlock Holmes Pub is at 10 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2.

The Sherlock Holmes Pub has an upstairs room on exhibit that’s a faithful reproduction of 221B Baker Street.

Last, Sherlockians around the world offer live-action mysteries, some involving an evening, others more elaborate in their setting.


Back in 1999 on a press trip in northern Germany, I stayed at the Park Hotel Bremen. The hotel was hosting a Tödlicher Termin (deadly schedule) of activities over the weekend of October 29 – 31. “Der Kommissar sind Sie!” (You are the Commissioner!) “Erlben Sie einen Krimi live!,” it promised: “Experience a live crime!”

Well, perhaps not as live as Sherlock Holmes, but a jolly good weekend, you can be sure. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2015

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