Maxwell House Coffee Commercial From The 1950’s

Do you remember this commercial? I remember the perking melody more than anything.

Would you say it is an effective commercial? (I think it is, or it would have been in its time.)

A few things struck me:

First, of course, was that they used a peculator. I have had coffee made in a peculator and it usually tasted burnt. But that’s probably because I went backwards from a drip coffee maker. If all you ever knew was perculator coffee, I suppose drip coffee would taste weak.

Second … there was an expectation that the coffee would be fine consumed black. My parents drank coffee for as long as I can remember and it was never black. I drink black coffee now but not when I first started, somewhere in my 20s. Coffee shops seem to go out of their way to offer sweet and creamy and flavored coffees. What I’m wondering is … was black coffee a thing in the 1950s? Was it more or less popular than today? Is it class-related? Culture-related? Or maybe Maxwell House just presented their coffee black with the suggestion that it’s so good you don’t have to add anything to it.

Third … look at how small that can is! That wouldn’t last a week. Maybe.

If you drink coffee, is it black?

6 thoughts on “Maxwell House Coffee Commercial From The 1950’s

  1. shaun

    I do drink a fair amount of coffee (first cup caff/the rest decaff). Always black!

    My father takes it with a small bit of cream. My mother uses fake creamer/fake sweetener.


  2. Marj

    I remember the melody as well, the commercial not so much. And don’t ever recall seeing a coffee can that small! It was always a “pound” of coffee, but who knows. At any rate, I started out drinking black coffee, did so for decades, but now soften it a bit with a little 2% milk. Would prefer a little light cream, but go with the 2%.


    1. Bix Post author

      Someone commented that things, especially food things, were smaller decades ago. Plates were smaller, food that was put on plates was smaller, cups were smaller. I guess it follows that food containers would be smaller too.


  3. David D

    I like older commercials like this. It is clear that many people did not know how to make coffee with pre-ground coffee beans when the commercial was made, because they are showing you the steps needed to make the coffee. This was much more common years ago when new products arrived. Today, we more often advertise for the emotional connection to a brand and not as much about how to use a product.

    I drink black coffee, except if it is not very good. Then, I mask it with some type of milk product and/or sugar. When I first started drinking coffee, I always mixed it with milk and sugar.

    My parents still add sugar substitutes to their coffee and different types of creamers. I can’t convince them of how bad it is for them.


    1. Bix Post author

      You’re right about this commercial being a how-to. I hadn’t noticed that. In fact, my parents drank instant coffee. They went right from that to a drip maker. A peculator would have taken some getting used to, for them.



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