Monday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1959. This ad was made for the Rheingold Brewery, which was founded by the Liebmann family in 1883 in New York, New York. At its peak, it sold 35% of all the beer in New York state. In 1963, the family sold the brewery and in was shut down in 1976. In 1940, Philip Liebmann, great-grandson of the founder, Samuel Liebmann, started the “Miss Rheingold” pageant as the centerpiece of its marketing campaign. Beer drinkers voted each year on the young lady who would be featured as Miss Rheingold in advertisements. In the 1940s and 1950s in New York, “the selection of Miss Rheingold was as highly anticipated as the race for the White House.” The winning model was then featured in at least twelve monthly advertisements for the brewery, beginning in 1940 and ending in 1965. Beginning in 1941, the selection of next year’s Miss Rheingold was instituted and became wildly popular in the New York Area. Robbin Bain was Miss Rheingold for 1959. She was born in August of 1938, in Flushing, New York, and grew up in Bronxville. Before being elected, she was a successful model, appearing on the covers of national magazines and on television. She was also commercial artist, portrait painter and aspiring actress, performing in summer stock She appears to have been married three times, first to Arno Schefler in 1962, then to Alexander Gaudier, and finally to Edward V. Mele, whom she remained married to until his death in 2003. He started a manufacturing company that became the largest maker of jewel boxes in the world. As far as I can tell, she’s still alive and living in North Palm Beach, Florida. She also did some TV, appearing on To Tell the Truth and the Today Show. In this ad, from March, Miss Rheingold 1959, Robbin Bain, is at the Coleytown Engine Co. of Bridgeport, Connecticut, standing in front of the then-103-year old “Seamstress,” a hand-drawn, fire-fighting steam engine. It appears to be the guest of honor at a big party as people stand around drinking Rheingold beer.
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