Education on Wheels


by Cora Frances Stoddard
Executive Secretary of the Scientific Temperance Federation, Boston

The following account of a temperance educational campaign published in the Scientific Temperance Journal in 1914 is a part of a chapter of a forthcoming book in preparation on educational methods of temperance work. The suggestion is so timely for the summer season that it is published in advance in this form for immediate use. For the wagon may be substituted the automobile or, better, the small motor truck. This exhibit plan is serviceable also in small towns. It can be shifted from one part of a town to another. The long summer days and especially the evenings with their opportunity for after-supper work afford a splendid opportunity for the display of material, for additional talks, and for the personal conversation which is one of the most valuable features of exhibit work because it brings out objections, erroneous ideas, etc., that can be met on the spot. You can reach by this method thousands of people whom you cannot reach in any other way. But it must be teaching, not preaching. Not oratory, but the quiet, simple teaching of the facts in their relations to everyday life is the effective method of this plan of work to capture public intelligence.

These exhibits should be widely used in the summer and fall to bring to the people everywhere the facts about alcohol, the truth about beer and wine, and so to widen and confirm that intelligent conviction upon which the success of Prohibition will depend.

Education on Wheels

by F. K. Brown
Southwick, Mass

Our Project

Education of those whom neither literature, meetings nor any of the usual forms of activity could successfully reach. Personal canvass for "No-License" votes with soli-something besides a handshake and moral suasion to offer. Something, especially, to make people "see" temperance issues in new and dramatic light. Especially a temperance campaign in which the churches could cordially federate-an item before impossible, under local conditions. A temperance and no-license campaign in which the campaigners could have a good time, for themselves.

Our Outfit

A light express wagon. Twenty Scientific Temperance and home-made posters: Talking machine. Italian, Swedish, Polish and English talking machine records. Various dramatic representations of scientific temperance facts in the form of entertaining models, etc., a good supply of scientific temperance and no-license literature and buttons for children.

The Demonstration

It was mud time and farmers were found who were not only unwilling to leave their homes for meetings, but even reluctant to come to the front of their houses. Men were busy with their early spring work in the fields and orchards. Some had left orders not to be bothered by the temperance "thing."

We drove into fields, stopped in the middle of roads, backed into farm yards, up to back doors, sick-room windows-anywhere, where folks tried to dodge us.

The whole outfit and method was so "different" that prejudices had little chance when we got started. First would come a talking machine "concert" which wheedled women and children out. Then one of us would stand up in the seat behind the "portfolio" of posters (a wooden rack fastened to the seat and facing the rear of the wagon). We had the posters arranged in cumulative, educational order, from the effects of slight doses of alcohol upon finger tips, through to its effects upon the race and society. The guinea pig poster, of course, made a big hit. This arrangement of the posters took very little room, and gave us a splendid chance to talk facts. The arrangement was somewhat like this-two posters on exhibit at one time-and the talking machine playing an obligato between the gaps, where the audience "had" to have its interest manufactured.

The man on the ground who ran the machine, then demonstrated the objects which were nailed in the wagon, in cumulative order-let the people handle the bottles, etc. told funny stories, gossiped and "buttoned the children," passed out the literature, canvassed the men for their votes and announced the "Alco Rally" to be held in the Town Hall the following Sunday. The time of a demonstration was hardly more than fifteen minutes. (NOTE-We stiffened the posters by putting them on cardboard-this allowed them to be handled in a wind.)


The idea came to us too late for more than four days of trial before election. But we were more than delighted by the responses we received. The people seemed to welcome the educational feature especially. Men who came to jeer remained to cheer. (Excuse the rhyme.) We backed up to a blacksmith's doorway, expecting to be chased off, only to gather a crowd of fifteen men who gave us a quiet, appreciative ear. A train crew left work and stayed through.

In one yard, an Italian's most unlikely situation for temperance demonstration it seemed to me, for the man had, that morning, driven down to the village with a cartload of empty beer kegs-through the diplomacy of our Italian music (patriotic army songs) the women folks came out, called the children, got curious about what we had covered up under the mud robe, asked what "Dem tings" were, pointing to the charts, and actually "made us" go through the demonstration. They called the "boss" from his work, a man of great influence among the Italians, and he came for a demonstration, and, in turn, demonstrated for us to his, hired man, who could not "spik da Inglesia," and then almost toppled us over by saying, and having his word sworn to by his women, that he always voted "no" and would this year. The Italian women and the "boss" liked especially our Marksmanship poster, and he laughed it into the "hired" man, who, it seems, could appreciate it, for he had just lost the championship of his regiment in Italy by having himself soaked in beer during the contest.

We entertained, educated and agitated, and all with very little oratory. In fact, oratory, with this outfit, is reduced to a subordinate position; a new situation in temperance campaigning, since the voice is usually overdone. What fun the Baptist minister and I had in it, too! We were invited out to dinner, romped with the children, did some pastoral work in out of the way communities, broke up the monotony of existence for lonesome folks. (In one place three women stayed by the exhibit over an hour, in a raw wind, just to hear the talking machine.)


It takes temperance everywhere! We actually reached folks. I would like to see a half dozen such outfits let loose in a city campaign, backing up to curbstones, parks, factory gates-anywhere where people are. A campaign on wheels, like this, can go anywhere to dig out and demonstrate to an audience. Eighteen demonstrations a day-about seven hours' work-in eighteen strategic places in a city-at fifty or sixty an audience-one thousand a day. It actually is the easiest publicity work I have ever done, and fun besides. The Scientific Temperance Journal, May, 1914.

Home-Made Models You Can Use

The cooperation of young people handy with tools can sometimes be obtained in making these or other models.

If the models are to be subjected to long use they should be reasonably stable. Light weight wood or one of the various board substitutes is better than cardboard. All parts of models should be securely fastened to their foundation board.

If lettering is done on the board use enamel paint throughout, as this can be wiped off, cleaned, and even varnished to restore it when rubbed or soiled by dust, and dust is not retained by a smooth as by a rough surface. Insist on having lettering clearly done, no slant letters, as these are not so easily or quickly read as those of the Gothic type.

Where grass and walks are to be represented, green and brown paint can be used for the foundation properly marked off. This is a more durable form of representation than any closer material imitation of grass and gravel that the writer has yet found for models that are subjected to constant use.

I. To Show That Commonly Drunk Quantities of Beer, Wine, and Spirits contain equal Amounts of Alcohol.. Materials. 1 pint bottle for beer. 1 half-pint bottle for wine. one ounce bottle for whisky, 1 half-ounce bottle for alcohol. Fill with the proper amounts of water appropriately colored to represent the different drinks. Tea and coffee at various strengths are useful for this. The amounts of liquids to be used are: 1 pint for beer; 5.2 ounces for wine; 1 ounce for whisky; one-half ounce for alcohol. Label each bottle to represent its contents.

Legend. This may be painted on the foundation or on a vertical placard-

You get the same amount of Alcohol whether you drink-
One Pint of Beer (2 3/4 per cent alcohol by weight); or
One-third pint of Wine (10 per cent alcohol); or
One ounce, of Whisky (50 per cent alcohol).
They each contain about one-half an ounce of Alcohol.

II. To Show the Excessive Mortality of Beer Drinkers. The Facts. Statistics gathered from data on 2,000,000 policy holders in 43 American life insurance companies. Policy holders using when insured 2 glasses of beer or 1 glass of whisky a day had a death-rate 18 per cent higher then the average death-rate of all insured men. Those using more than these amounts of beer or whisky had a deathrate 86 per cent higher than the average. (NOTE: This is not a comparison of drinkers with abstainers, but with the average death-rate of all insured men.) Materials. Make a little graveyard. Paint-green for grass, brown for paths. (1) In one group place 25 small board headstones painted white. (2) In the second group place 30 headstones. Arrange so that the larger number will be evident. (3) In a third group place 46 headstones. Legends. Put a placard over or among stones of each group.

(1). "The average death-rate of all insured men."(2) "Death-rate 18 per cent more than the average rate. Men who when insured drank daily 2 glasses of beer or 1 glass of whisky."(3) "Death-rate 86 per cent more than the average rate. Men who when insured drank daily more than 2 glasses of beer or 1 glass of whisky."

III. To Show the Effect on Child Vigor of Alcohol Used by Parents. Material. A doll dressed as a child, placed in a doll's bed, or as a baby in the arms of another doll dressed as mother. Quite small dolls will answer.


"Drinking Parents Had Over 6 times as many sickly Children as abstaining Parents (Laitinen). More Children Die in Drinkers' Families."

IV. To Illustrate the Handicap of Drink opt Business Success. Material. A small building to represent a factory. Trace a path or walk to the door. Label it "Promotion." Fasten a bottle labeled "Liquor" directly across the path. Place a doll dressed in working clothes at the entrance of the path.

Legend-"Drinkers are not promoted in over 80 great steel plants and in many other kinds of business."

V. To Illustrate Drink's Effect in Weakening Body Defenses Against Disease Germs. (Based on a suggestion of Mr. Brown.) Materials. Make a small fort, garrisoned by soldiers. Pasteboard or tin soldiers can usually be found in the 5 and 10 cent store, or, lacking these, magazine pictures of soldiers can be pasted on stiff cardboard and cut out. Mount on wheels a bottle. Point it toward the fort as assaulting gun. Put other soldiers behind the gun.

Legends-(1) Label the fort and its soldiers, "White blood cells, like soldiers, guard the body against disease germs."(2) Label the bottle, "Liquor" or merely "Beer."(3) Label the soldiers behind the gun, "Typhoid germs," "Tu- tuberculosis germs..... Diphtheria germs." Attach a placard, "The ,Alcohol in Liquor [or "Beer" if you label the bottle 'Beer"] Weakens the Body's Defenses against Disease Germs." VI. To Illustrate the Advantages of Prohibition in Increasing Home-Building and Tax Receipts. Materials. (1) A simple little house. Sometimes they can be found in the 5 and 10 cent store. Mount on a board with lawn painted green, walks brown, etc. (2) Small cylinders of wood to represent a pile of beer barrels, or, make a picture of such a pile.

Legends-(1) For the house: "JOHN living under Prohibition found it easy to save a dollar a week for a building fund. At the end of twenty-five years he owned a little home, and was a tax-payer."(2) For the beer barrels: "HENRY, living in a wet state, found it easy to spend a dollar a week for beer. At the end Of 25 years all he had to show for it was this pile of beer barrels-and he didn't own those."

The Models will be portable and conveniently handled if carried set up in boxes from which they can be quickly removed. They might even be mounted in the boxes, the bottom being painted for the foundation. The front of the box could be hinged, fastened at the side by hook and staple, and let down flat for better display of the model. In some cases this front portion could be lettered on the inside and would display a "legend" when let down.

The models are used, of course, merely as talking points around which the facts about alcohol and Prohibition can be presented.

The Stereopticon

If you have a stereopticon, a screen can be arranged on the windshield of the automobile, or can be hung on a building, and slides shown in the evening. For a list of up todate slides address The Scientific Temperance Federation, Boston, Mass.


The following selection of posters is not arbitrary but affords a good variety of illustration and talking points on the relation of alcohol to Child Welfare, Business, Health, Public Welfare and Prohibition: Posters (American Issue Publishing Company, Westerville, Ohio), Series E. Nos. 1, 2, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 26, 29, 30, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 46, 51, 53, 54, 56. Series A, Nos. 5 and 7. Price for 20 posters, $3.00.


Published by the American Issue Publishing Company in Westerville, Ohio

Westerville History MuseumWesterville History Museum

As the site of the Anti-Saloon League’s former headquarters, the Westerville History Museum works to preserve the history of the temperance movement, the passage of the 18th Amendment, and the Prohibition era.
As the site of the Anti-Saloon League’s former headquarters, the Westerville History Museum works to preserve the history of the temperance movement, the passage of the 18th Amendment, and the Prohibition era.

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