Times change, and they change quickly.  And with them conventions are lost, attitudes shift and things that once were deemed safe no longer are.  Thanks for joining us today as we continue our running photoblog series “The Antiques Toad Show” based on a series of photographs we were lucky enough to take on a day we were given after-hours access to the Metchosin Pioneer Museum, on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

My knowledge of agricultural practices, chemicals and history in general is pretty limited.  But even with that being said sometimes you encounter something that literally jumps out at you as “out of the ordinary” or “hard to comprehend”.  This post today highlights such a thing.

Agricultural Chemical Spreader - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Agricultural Chemical Spreader - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

In case you are rubbing your eyes in wonder and amazement right now, let me come right through the front door and say “yep, that says PCB Spreader”!  At first, I was rather astonished.  A quick peek on the ol’ internet revealed a ton of articles that pertain to what I thought this was…  only adding further mystery to the whole thing.

According to Wikipedia, PCB’s are a rather nasty chemical compound.  From what I know of them, they were mostly used in refrigerants and assorted applications.  They were banned in the 70′s from use…  and for mighty good reason.  Birth defects, illnesses, you name it, PCB’s were eventually found responsible and in turn were banned.

Now, as I said, I am far from an expert on this stuff.  Perhaps this particular acronym stands for something entirely else like “Puppies, Cats and Bunnies”.  Personally, I am skeptical.  I can only find reference to polychlorinated biphenyls, which is definitely the less-than-friendly substance I originally thought of.

Before my Dad passed away, I found myself repeatedly at family functions that were uncomfortable to say the least.  Today I wish I had one of these items…  had I shown up to Christmas dinner with this in tow, I might have been excused a bit earlier.

Agricultural Chemical Spreader - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Agricultural Chemical Spreader - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

And here we have another one!  I am not sure what this item was used for, what chemicals it turned into an aerosol to spread around one’s yard.  But once again, my “Spidey-Sense” is going off on me here, and I suspect the worst.

I honestly am utterly fascinated by these sorts of things.  What once was considered normal today is considered poisonous.  I guess just like a bad relationship, time reveals the true nature of someone or something.

Can you think of anything that once was rather normal, but today would be considered deadly or dangerous?  Please feel free to leave us any comments you might have, we really do love to hear from all our visitors.



  1. Another great post toad. I’m fascinated by the PCB on the spreader and having grown up on farms have racked my brain but still can’t think what it is unless it’s the brand of the manufacturer or maybe the model of spreader.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I really hope you’re right there, Chris, the alternative is rather hard to digest!! :D Thanks so much for your kind visit, and for taking the time to leave us your thoughts, my friend! Much appreciated.

  2. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    I am old enough to remember the PCB ban Toad but didn’t know anything about the spreader. Sounds quite ominous given the ban. Very nice images showing the age via the details and textures.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much, Len, your support and friendship means the world to us here! It’s a strange world we live in, and the more time I spend exploring it, the more I love it!

  3. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    What an interesting and thought provoking post!! Really interesting tidbits here. Lets see… Asbestos?? :)

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Asbestos!!! Of course, there’s a GREAT example! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit, Adam, and for your great comments!

  4. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Times do change for sure. People used to dump used oil and gasoline into the ground, too (and some still do I’m sure). These are definitely relics in today’s age! Well done Toads!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so very, very much Jim, we really appreciate your visit and most wonderful comments here today!

  5. avatar A.Barlow says:

    lmao, dude… Antiques Toad Show? lmao. That’s awesome.

    Love the shots. Really love the old stuff.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      :) Thanks Aaron! We’ve really been enjoying sharing this series with everyone here, and we certainly do appreciate your visit and comments today! Thanks a ton, my fine friend!!

  6. avatar Fred Norris says:

    Great job with this blog Toad!I can remember as a young lad me mum bouncing me on her knee with a smoke in her hand,back then doctors recommended smoking,if you can believe that mate.How times have changed ,so the PCB does not surprise me.Thanks for sharing.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Oh wow, Fred, there’s a really great example of what we’re talking about here! Now that you mention it, I was talking to someone just the other day who was telling me their Mom’s doctor told her to go right ahead and smoke during her pregnancy; he even alluded to the fact it might be good for her and the baby! Times have changed, that’s for sure!! Thank you so much for taking the time to pop by and leave us your comments here, we really appreciate it!

  7. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Toad this post has brought me back. I used to spend my summers in Israel when I was young visiting my grandparents. They used to have on of those sprayers filled with bug repellant or whatever it was. And before we went to bed my grandmother used to spray the whole house to keep the mosquitos at bay…and oh yes we were all in the house as she was spraying…lol. And I live to tell the tale. I do so enjoy your posts and images. Have a great weekend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Gosh, thanks so very much, Edith, your friendship and support here is just incredible!! What a story!! This is exactly the sort of thing we’re talking about here, isn’t that crazy, eh? We really appreciate your kind visit today, my dear friend!

  8. “Can you think of anything that once was rather normal, but today would be considered deadly or dangerous?”

    Well the first thing that comes to mind is…….EVERYTHING! What really made me laugh though was remembering riding in the back window dash of my dad’s 66 Ford Galaxy 500. Probably not acceptable by today’s standards!!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Mike, child protective services would definitely have something to say about that today! Wanna hear something funny? As most folks know, I am a huge hot rod guy here on the west coast. I run around most days in our bright red Corvette roadster. :) One of my very favorite cars I ever owned was a beautiful 2 door 1966 Ford Galaxy. She had a big block 390 in her that was done up real nice, and she was painted such a dark blue at night she looked black. LOVED that car, Mike! Every time I see a ’66 now, I pine for mine!! :) Thanks so very much for taking the time to pop by, my friend, we really do appreciate it!

  9. avatar Rob says:

    A PCD spreader?! Interesting the historic things we learn through photoblogging. The second item may be a Channel #5 Atomizer…maybe not.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      HA! GREAT comments, Rob, thank you so kindly for taking the time to visit and for leaving these with us!

  10. Thought provoking to say the least, Toad. My father used to have a hand sprayer very much like your second image although it was all metal, including the reservior. He used it to spray his tomato plants and other things he was growing in the greenhouse to get rid of aphids and other creepy crawlies.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks for your visit and wonderful comments, Mark, we really do appreciate that! I think most of us have recollections somewhat of seeing one of those at one point in our lives or another. I am sure that a lot of the chemicals they used to sell to put into it would probably be under the list of banned items today. I find it interesting beyond words how much life can change, and sometimes in a relatively short period of time. Thank you kind sir, your ongoing support and friendship means an awful lot to us!

  11. avatar Mark Pashia says:

    Yeah, I remember the second item as a generic sprayer that could have held many different chemicals. I remember them in the house for flies and mosquitoes (probably held DDT) and also in the garden as others mentioned for miscellaneous bugs.

    In 1952 my mother was carrying me and was underweight and not gaining enough, so our old country doctor told my dad to “keep a six pack of beer in the fridge for Mom!” Mom was only 19 and could not buy it for herself. And later as I was growing all of my memories of Old Doc Klucker had him smoking a Lucky Strike non-filter as he checked us out. It usually hung in the corner of his mouth as he use the stethoscope on us. That was into the early sixties!!!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Unreal!!! What great stories you’ve shared here with us, we really appreciate your visit and kind comments! Thanks so very much Mark!

  12. avatar Kevin says:

    I am an antique dealer, and while researching my newly acquired PCB spreader, I happened upon your website. The company name on the spreader in your photograph is United States Borax & Chemical Corporation, which was founded in the late 1800s. The company went by the name of Pacific Coast Borax (PCB) from about 1890 up until the early 1950s, when it merged with another company, and the name was changed to United States Borax & Chemical Corporation. The PCB on the spreader stands for Pacific Coast Borax, as it was made by the PCB division of the company. Thanks for sharing your photos!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Wow, what awesome comments! We really appreciate you taking the time to visit us, and for leaving these great details here that everyone will enjoy! It really adds so much depth to the post here having this information to go along with it! Best of luck with your endeavors, and we hope to have a chance to see you again here!

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