Tag Archives: Advertising

Car Advertisements From 1903

How Cars Were Advertised in 1903

While researching last week’s story about the 1904 record 6 1/2 hour automobile drive from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, there were numerous advertisements that caught my eye in Motor World Magazine.

America’s passion for cars dates back over 120 years. How they were advertised in 1903 is fascinating to see.

What manufacturers choose to highlight in their offerings are sometimes very practical features, other ads feature the bizarre.

You will recognize only a few brands that survived the auto industry’s infant years. Most of these automobile names were eliminated from the market so quickly that many people living at the turn-of-the-century would not have known them.

Take a close look at this Northern Mfg. Co. car. There is no steering wheel. The car was steered by a tiller.

And you thought electric cars were new? Many companies had electric cars back in 1903 including Studebaker. The company touts that “no expert chauffeur is needed,” and is, “a successful hill climber” with its “perfect spring suspension” and “reliable brake control.”

Studebaker started as a wagonmaker in the 19th century and produced its last automobile in 1966.

Haynes – Apperson had a 12 horsepower Phaeton that apparently won some car races. Would that influence a potential buyer?

Packard produced this car marketed for “Physicians and Others.” With room for five people, this Packard would set you back $2,500. To give you some perspective $2,500 was about half the price of a new, modest three bedroom home. The Packard Motor Car Co. produced its last automobile in 1962.

The Autocar is a “Harmonious Whole.” Autocar is still in business and is run by the GVW Group LLC.

Conrad Motor Carriage Co. had a car for every price range, from $750 – $1,250. The $1,250 model got you three speeds sliding gear transmission with 12 horsepower.

I love the name of this car – The Chainless Cudell. One of the few cars advertised that had a roof! Continue reading

In 1904 The Drive Time From Los Angeles to Santa Barbara Was 6½ Hours

6 ½ Hours From L.A. to Santa Barbara (And That’s With No Traffic!)

What has four cylinders, 24 horsepower, weighs 2300 pounds and gets you from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara in just under 6 ½ hours?

A 1904 Peerless automobile. Future millionaire Norman W. Church took out this ad for Peerless in the Sunday, June 5, 1904 Los Angeles Times.

For a trip that today can take three hours with moderate traffic, 6 ½ hours in 1904 is a miracle. The “roads” in 1904 were in a primitive state to say the least. Rural roads were frequently  dirt paths filled with rocks and sand. Many times you’d have to drive through a field to get from place to place. Paved roads in California were a rarity, usually found in cities.

The interesting thing about the ad is that the Peerless will make the trip “without a single mechanical adjustment.”  That indeed was a rarity as automobiles were constantly being tinkered with. You had to be your own mechanic or bring one with you, as breakdowns were frequent.

You may be wondering if the Los Angeles to Santa Barbara trip took six and a half hours, how quickly in the early 1900s could you  drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco? Continue reading

What An Instant Messaging System Looked Like In 1984

This 1984 Advertisement For An Instant Messaging System Will Amaze You (Or Maybe It Won’t)

If you were born after 1986 you have always had the internet and email at your disposal since childhood. It may come as a surprise to you that in one form or another email has been around since the 1960s.

But when did IM (Instant Messaging) come into being?

The early 1980s saw the dawn of what would later be termed instant messaging.

From an advertisement in the November 12, 1984 issue of Newsweek magazine, this is what one of the first instant messaging systems looked like:

Easylink 1984 advertisement

Easylink 1984 advertisement

Introduced in 1982 Western Union’s EasyLink system was considered revolutionary. EasyLink’s messages were stored in the computer memory and not seen until the user checked to see if there were any messages. Continue reading

Supermarket Food Prices In 1976

A Look Back At Food Prices In 1976. How Much Have Food Prices Really Increased In The Last 40 Years?

Shop Rite Ad Evening News Sept 1 1976If you do the supermarket shopping and pay attention to prices, you may have noticed that most items seem to have gone up in price significantly or shrunk in size over the last few years. But have prices really gone up that much over the long run?

We decided to take a look back at three supermarket ads from September 1, 1976 in the Evening News which covered the Hudson Valley in the suburbs of New York City.

Grand Union Ad Evening News Sept 1 1976

The advertisers were Grand Union Supermarkets which were spread throughout the northeast and in business from 1872 – 2013. A&P Supermarkets were in business from 1859 until last year. And ShopRite Supermarkets, founded in 1946 which is still in business and going strong.

Here are closeups of portions of the full page ads and below that is a chart with 1976 supermarket food prices versus 2016 prices. Continue reading

A Schlitz Beer Ad You Won’t Believe

When There Was Absolutely No Truth In Advertising

Why Drink Water, When You Can Drink Schlitz?

Schlitz Beer Puck Magazine 1904“Doctors Say Drink More Schlitz”

Which doctors? Doctor Al K. Holic?

Today would the Federal Trade Commission have a problem with this Schlitz beer ad? Probably, but this ad is from a 1904 Puck Magazine. And the creation of the FTC to oversee truth in advertising was another 10 years off.

That’s what I love about 1904. You could say almost any ridiculous thing in print and get away with it.  Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #63

Herald Square 1895

Herald Square Herald Building elevated 34th Street 1895 photo JS Johnston New York City commercial photographer John S. Johnston took this photo a few minutes before 1:00 pm on a lively day in 1895. We are looking north from 33rd Street where Sixth Avenue and Broadway converge to form Herald Square.

This vantage point from the Sixth Avenue Elevated station’s platform was a favorite for many photographers in the 19th century.

In the center stands the New York Herald newspaper building. The paper had just moved from Park Row to its new headquarters designed by McKim Mead and White in 1894.

A train is about to pull into the Sixth Avenue Elevated 33rd Street Station. Trolleys and horse drawn carriages share Broadway’s wide street and the sidewalks are crowded with pedestrians.

The large painted advertisement on the side of its building marks the eight story Hotel Normandie which was completed in 1884 and located at Broadway and 38th Street.

Years after our photograph of Herald Square was taken, the Hotel Normandie received a new advertising sign, but not for advertising the hotel.

On June 18, 1910 the Hotel Normandie unveiled one of the largest moving illuminated advertising signs in the world on its roof. The sign showed a Roman chariot race with three chariots appearing to race one another speeding around an arena. The sign had 20,000 white and colored lights and astounded crowds of people who gawked at its illusion of movement.

Hotel Normandie Chariot Race Sign photo: Byron Co. via MCNY collection Hotel Normandie Chariot Race Sign frame and truss photo: Byron Co. via MCNY collection Advertising sign Hotel Normandie

From the photograph above Continue reading

10 Vintage Advertisements From The New Yorker In 1949

10 Advertisements From Winter Issues of The New Yorker In 1949

New Yorker cover December 3 1949We’ve done this before looking at the advertising that appeared in The New Yorker magazine and decided to do it again. These ads appeared in the December 3, 10 & 17, 1949 issues of the magazine.

The most noticeable difference between these vintage ads from only 67 years ago and ads today is that almost every ad was for a service or product made in the United States. The few ads that were not for U.S. products, typically were for luxury products from France, Great Britain or Italy. Today go into any retail store and pick up almost any item and look for where it was made. Nineteen times out of twenty it will be made overseas, usually in China and most likely of inferior quality.

New Yorker 1949 Union Pacific Railroad Streamliner adPost World War II marked the beginning of the end of the luxurious era of train travel. The Union Pacific Railroad offered west coast travel on their Streamliners to and from Chicago. By the 1950s railroads would be permanently overtaken by airlines for long distance travel.
New Yorker 1949 Facts on Dial ad Before the internet if you needed some information about a subject you could look it up yourself or you could call the New York Public Library information desk. The library still offers this service. But there were also paid services for “sophisticated New Yorkers” like this one called Facts on Dial, Inc..
You could call Facts on Dial with almost any question and the researchers would have your answer “within minutes, sometimes even seconds.” In 1950 Facts on Dial was sued by Facts on File for unfair competition and trademark infringement. That was the end of Facts on Dial. If you call the number for Facts on Dial now, MU6-7800, ironically, a law firm answers.
New Yorker 1949 Amelia Earhart luggage adAmelia Earhart Luggage? Do you want your luggage to have the same fate as Amelia Earhart? Why a luggage company would name themselves after a pilot who vanished without a trace would seem bizarre. But the brand was launched in the 1930s by Orenstein Trunk of Newark N.J. when Amelia was the queen of the skies and very much alive.
New Yorker 1949 Dick the Oysterman Restaurant adOyster themed restaurants were plentiful in New York City when the waters along the east coast were chock full of oyster beds.
Richard Ockendon, better known as “Dick, the Oysterman,” had his original basement restaurant on Third Street since the turn-of-the-century. It was famous as a hang-out place for writers and artists. O. Henry based one of his short stories, The Country of Elusion on the bohemian restaurant.
Dick died of pneumonia on January 23, 1916 at the age of 39,  but his name and restaurant lived on, catering to the culinary tastes of Greenwich Village. By 1920 Dick’s had moved to Eighth Street where they remained until they closed their doors in 1952.

Continue reading

The Most Unbelievable Ad You Ever Saw

This Unbelievable Ad Appeared in 1920

Get Rich Quick fake Ad American magazine 1920GLORIOUS OPPORTUNITY TO GET RICH QUICK
Invest in
THE CALIFORNIA RANCHING COMPANY
Now being organized to start a cat ranch in California.

We are starting a cat ranch in California with 100,000 cats. Each cat will average twelve kittens a year. The cat skins will sell for 30 cents each. One hundred men can skin 5,000 cats a day. We figure a daily net profit of over $10,000.

NOW WHAT SHALL WE FEED THE CATS?
We will start a rat ranch next door with 1,000,000 rats.  The rats will breed twelve times faster than the cats. So, we’ll have four rats to feed each day to each cat. Now what shall we feed the rats? We will feed the rats the carcasses of the cats after they have been skinned.

NOW GET THIS
We feed the rats to the cats, and the cats to the rats, and get the cat
skins for nothing. Shares are selling at 5 cents each, but the price will go up soon.

INVEST WHILE OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS AT YOUR DOOR
CALIFORNIA RANCHING COMPANY

So what’s the story here? This can’t be a real enterprise can it? The following story appeared in The American Magazine in 1920 explaining the ad.

The Savings & Trust Co. of Cleveland wanted to warn people about bad investments. Continue reading

Nine Turn-of-the-Century Advertisements

Nine Advertisements From Collier’s Weekly -1901

And you thought Ralston-Purina just made pet food? Apparently not.

And you thought Ralston-Purina just made pet food? Apparently not.

It is always fascinating to look back on how products and services were advertised long ago.

These ads all appeared in various issues of Collier’s Weekly Magazine during the autumn and winter of 1901.

Colliers Ad Snoring Stopped InstantlySnor-O-Dont promises snoring will be stopped instantly and that failure is impossible and no medicine is involved. So what is the secret of Snor-O-Don’t? I don’t know. By the looks of the illustration the man is so sleep deprived that he may be reaching behind him to cover her face with a pillow. Suffocation, that’s a permanent snoring solution.

Colliers Ad Iver Johnson Revolver Features Child Iver Johnson, manufacturers of bicycles. guns and revolvers says that “accidental discharge is impossible” with their safety hammerless automatic revolver. What better way to demonstrate the safety of a handgun than to show a cherubic child poised to fire it?

Colliers Ad You Are A ChumpNothing like being direct…chump. Continue reading

How The 1907 Cadillac Was Advertised

4 Cylinders, 30 Horsepower, With Speeds Reaching Up To 50 Miles Per Hour!

Cadillac Ad 1906 Sept 8In the first couple of decades of U.S. automaking, there were so many car companies competing for what was originally a very limited business. From 1895-1930 it is estimated that there were over 1,800 car manufacturers in the United States alone. Cadillac is one of the few companies that survived those early days and have flourished into the 21st century.

I found this ad which appeared in the September 8, 1906 issue of Scientific American Magazine while researching the previous story on the Singer Building. Cadillac Motor Car Co. proclaims several things for the new Model H:

A veritable wonder in hill climbing!

Perfect planetary transmission

Double acting steering device that greatly increases safety

Independent steel engine suspension Continue reading