Something to hang your hat on

It was 1909, when a man never left the house without his hat, and one local entrepreneur found a way to turn the ubiquitous hat rack into an advertising medium.

"The contrivance has the appearance of an ordinary hat and coat rack," wrote the Mail Tribune on Nov. 15, 1909, "but with the difference that when the garment is hung on the hook, a bell is rung and an advertising card appears above."

The inventor, Medford resident Blaine Klum, received letters of patent that year, the paper reported.

He was to leave San Francisco in a few days to "confer with manufacturers and agents for the proper placing of the apparatus."

Whether people enjoyed hearing a bell ring every time they put up their hat, the paper didn't say.


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