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This Advertising Timeline includes selected events in business technology, media, marketing and advertising for the decades covered by this project. Sources used for this timeline are included in the timeline bibliography.
Early Days of Advertising
Advertising in the American Colonies
Advertising in the 1800'S
Advertising in the early 20TH Century
Advertising after W.W. I
The 1930'S, 1940'S and the 1950'S
  • 1841 - In Philadelphia, Volney B. Palmer opens the first American advertising agency. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1850 - Advertising in the New York Tribune improves greatly between October 1849 and October 1850.
  • 1850 - Phineas T. Barnum brings Jenny Lind, the "Swedish Nightingale" to America, employing newspaper ads, handbills, and broadsides to drum up extraordinary interest in this, until now, unknown-to-Americans international singing star. From being relatively anonymous six months prior to her arrival, she is met at the docks by 30,000 New Yorkers - a result of Barnum's advertising campaign.
  • 1851 - I. M. Singer and Company takes out its first patent for the Singer Perpendicular Action Sewing Machine.
  • 1851 - The first issue of the New York Times (under the name "New-York Daily Times") is published.
  • 1851 - Benjamin Bratt is the first to manufacture and mass-market soap in bar form.
  • 1852 - First advertisement for Smith Brother's Cough Candy (drops) appears in a Poughkeepsie, New York paper - the two brothers in the illustration are named "Trade" and "Mark."
  • 1853 - A Boston court rules that Singer infringed on Elias B. Howe's 1846 sewing machine patent, and Singer pays Howe $15,000 in the settlement.
  • 1853 - Railroad lines reach west as far as the Mississippi River.
  • 1856 - Mathew Brady advertises his services of "photographs, ambrotypes and daguerreotypes" in the New York Herald paper. His inventive use of type in the ad goes against the newspaper industry standard of all-agate and all same-size type used for advertisements in the papers.
  • 1856 - Robert Bonner is the first to run a full-page ad in a paper, advertising his own literary paper, the New York Ledger.
  • 1858 - First Transatlantic cable laid, between Ireland and Newfoundland.
  • 1860 - 33,000 patents are issued between 1850 - 1860; only 6,000 patents had been issued in the previous decade.
  • 1861 - The first Sunday edition of the re-named New-York Times is published, capitalizing on interest in news of the Civil War.
  • 1861 - There are twenty advertising agencies in New York City.
  • 1863 - James W. Tufts builds and patents a soda-fountain machine for use in his Boston drugstore.
  • 1864 - William James Carlton begins selling advertising space in newspapers, founding the agency that later became the J. Walter Thompson Company, the oldest American advertising agency in continuous existence.
  • 1865 - George P. Rowell and his friend Horace Dodd open their advertising agency in Boston.
  • 1866 - Transatlantic cable becomes operational.
  • 1867 - The magazine Harper's Bazaar premieres.
  • 1867 - Lord & Taylor is the first company to use double-column advertising in newspapers.
  • 1868 - Vanity Fair magazine begins.
  • 1869 - N. W. Ayer and Sons advertising agency is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the following year begins advertising its own agency in both general and trade publications.
  • 1869 - E. C. Allan starts the People's Literary Companion, marking the beginning of the "mail-order" periodical. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1869 - The first advertisement for Sapolio soap is published.
  • 1869 - George P. Rowell issues the first Rowell's American Newspaper Directory, providing advertisers with information on the
  • 1870 - Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe) appears in a Harper's Weekly advertisement endorsing Waltham watches.
  • 1870 - The Boardwalk in Atlantic City is completed.
  • 1870 - Chesebrough Manufacturing Co., makers of Vaseline, is founded.
  • 1870 - 5,091 newspapers are in circulation, compared to 715 in 1830.
  • 1871 - 121 brand names and trademarks are registered with the US Patent Office.
  • 1872 - Montgomery Ward begins mail order business with the issue of its first catalog.
  • 1872 - The Associated Press extends its news service to 200 papers.
  • 1875 - 1,138 brand names and trademarks are registered with the US Patent Office.
  • 1875 - The Sholes and Glidden typewriter, made by the Remington Co., is first advertised in New York papers; the first successfully selling typewriter, the "Remington No. 2," appears in 1878.
  • 1876 - Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
  • 1877 - The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 occurs. The labor unrest spreads across the country, affecting freight traffic.
  • 1877 - The Washington Post newspaper begins publication with a circulation of 10,000, costing 3 cents a paper.
  • 1878 - Thomas Edison secures basic patent for a phonograph machine.
  • 1878 - J. Walter Thompson buys out William J. Carlton's small ad agency and renames it after himself.
  • 1878 - The American Cereal Co. introduces Quaker Oats as the first mass-marketed breakfast food.
  • 1879 - Ivory soap is named, four years after the formula was accidentally discovered at Procter & Gamble.
  • 1879 - George Eastman patents a process for making dry photographic plates.
  • 1879 - Frank Woolworth opens his first "five and dime" store.
  • 1879 - John Wanamaker places the first whole-page newspaper advertisement by an American department store.
  • 1870s - Charles E. Hires begins advertising Hires Root Beer in the Philadelphia Ledger, expanding over the next two decades into national magazines.
  • 1870s - $1 million dollars is spent annually advertising Lydia Pinkham's Pink Pills.
  • 1870s - Louis Prang, a lithographer and printer, develops the idea of mass-producing small "trade cards" that could be adapted to the needs of individual advertisers at low cost. Thread companies, such as Clark's O.N.T., are among the first to begin nationwide distribution of advertising trade cards. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1870s - In response to the high volume of outdoor advertising (including posters and signs painted on rocks, buildings and barns) in cities and rural areas, several states begin to impose limitations to protect natural scenery from sign painters.
  • 1880 - Singer Sewing Machines and McCormick Reapers begin to dominate their respective markets.
  • 1880 - John Wanamaker hires John E. Powers, who brings a fresh style to advertising - an honest, direct and fresh appeal emphasizing the style, elegance, comfort and luxury of products. Powers is later called "the father of honest advertising."
  • 1881 - James Bonsack develops an efficient cigarette-rolling machine; until this point cigarettes (like cigars) have been rolled by hand.
  • 1883 - James B. Duke leases the Bonsack rolling machines. This contract ensures that his cost to manufacture cigarettes will be 25% below his competitors.
  • 1883 - Ladies Home Journal and Life Magazine begin publication.
  • 1884 - Linotype machine invented, advancing the use of color in printing.
  • 1885 - The Washington Monument is dedicated.
  • 1885 - New postal regulations reduce the cost of second class mailing to one cent per pound, allowing an almost immediate increase in the number of new subscription-based periodicals.
  • 1886 - Coca-Cola is invented in Atlanta, Georgia by Dr. John S. Pemberton. Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, penned the name Coca-Cola in the flowing script that is still used in advertising today.
  • 1886 - Cosmopolitan magazine begins.
  • 1886 - Sears, Roebuck & Company begins mail-order business.
  • 1887 - Introduction of the "safety bicycle," which had wheels of equal size.
  • 1887 - Congress enacts the Interstate Commerce Act.
  • 1888 - Printer's Ink, the oldest, most prestigious and largest magazine targeted to advertisers, agencies and copywriters is founded by George P. Rowell.
  • 1888 - Eastman begins advertising the first hand-held Kodak camera.
  • 1888 - Congress establishes the Department of Labor.
  • 1889 - James B. Duke spends 20 per cent of the gross sale of his tobacco company earnings ($80,000) towards advertising.
  • 1889 - Munsey's magazine is started.
  • 1880s - Illustrated trade cards reach the height of their popularity, not only with advertisers but also with the American public, which becomes remarkably interested in collecting them.
  • 1890 - The American Tobacco Company is founded, absorbing over 200 hundred rival firms, and gains control of the cigarette and smoking tobacco industries.
  • 1890 - Literary Digest begins publication.
  • 1890 - J. Walter Thompson Company's billings total over one million dollars.
  • 1890 - The Sherman Anti-Trust Act becomes the first legislation enacted by the United States Congress to curb concentrations of power that interfere with trade and reduce economic competition. It is named for U.S. senator John Sherman, an expert on the regulation of commerce. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1891 - The precursor organization to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) is created under the name Associated Bill Posters Association of United States and Canada. OAAA is not used as the organizational name until 1925.
  • 1891 - Batten and Co. advertising agency is founded by George Batten in New York, merging with another agency in 1928 to form Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborne (BBDO).
  • 1891 - Nathan Fowler, in Advertising Age, recommends that because women make most of the purchasing decisions of their household, manufacturers would do well to direct their advertising messages to them.
  • 1892 - Artemus Ward, advertising for Sapolio Soap, sponsors a Captain Andrews' trans-Atlantic voyage in a 14 foot boat to celebrate Columbus' voyage 400 years earlier. The voyage takes 3 months to complete and is widely followed and reported on in the press, providing free advertising for Sapolio soap.
  • 1892 - Vogue magazine begins publication.
  • 1892 -Sears, Roebuck & Co. mails out 8,000 post cards with imitation handwriting across the country. 2,000 orders are received directly from this promotional campaign.
  • 1892 - The Ladies Home Journal announces it will no longer accept patent medicine advertising.
  • 1893 - McClure's Magazine begins publication.
  • 1893 - The Royal Baking Powder Co. is estimated be the biggest newspaper advertiser in the world.
  • 1894 - The R. C. Maxwell Company, the oldest existing outdoor advertising company in America, is created. The company concentrates primarily in the Middle Atlantic states.
  • 1895 - Fred Pabst, president of Pabst Brewing Company, predicts in an essay that beer will become the national beverage of the United States.
  • 1895 - The first US patent for a gasoline powered automobile is given to Charles Duryea.
  • 1895 - The first American automobile race is run from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois and back. Two out of six cars finish the 54 mile long race, with a winning time of 7 hours, 53 minutes. The winner, Charles E. Duryea, that same year places what may be the first automobile advertisement ever, in The Horseless Carriage
  • 1896 - The Monarch Bicycle Company spends $125,000 on advertising, including $10,000 for a bicycle racing crew that tours the country participating in bicycle races under the Monarch name. The company sells 50,000 bicycles in 1896, up from 1,200 sold in 1893.
  • 1896 - J. Walter Thompson Company begins using the Rock of Gibraltar in its advertising for Prudential Insurance Co.
  • 1896 - Full color lithographic advertising prints for Ivory Soap are sent directly from specialty printers to magazine publishers, who bind them into magazines. This practice is soon taken up by other manufacturers.
  • 1896 - The Duryea Motor Wagon opens Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth at Madison Square Garden in New York.
  • 1898 - The Pepsi-Cola formula is created by Caleb Bradham, a New Bern, NC druggist.
  • 1898 - N. W. Ayer & Sons begin using outdoor advertising. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1898 - The National Biscuit Company is founded, and immediately begins advertising its Uneeda Biscuit, employing the N. W. Ayer & Sons advertising agency for a campaign that became very successful.
  • 1899 - J. Walter Thompson Company opens a London office, possibly the first international office of an American advertising agency.
  • 1899 - Eighty companies are making, or preparing to make, automobiles.
  • 1890s - Advertisements for alcohol - wines, liqueurs, and whiskeys - are placed in popular national magazines, such as Harper's Weekly.
  • 1890s - Women are depicted outside the home in a non-domestic setting for the first time in bicycle ads.
  • 1890s - Advertising manuals increasingly recommend the use of post cards as a low cost means of direct communication with consumers.
  • 1900 - The Singer Sewing Machine wins Grand Prize for sewing machines at the 1900 Paris Exposition
  • 1900 - The population of the US, at 76 million, is now almost double that in 1870.
  • 1900 - The first of the famous Brownie Cameras was introduced. It sold for $1 and used film which sold for 15 cents a roll.
  • 1900 - Over 4,000 passenger cars are sold in America.
  • 1901 - Coca-Cola advertising budget is $100,000.
  • 1901 - Henry Ford defeats Alexander Winton (the winner of an earlier road race from Cleveland to New York) in a ten-mile race at Grosse Pointe, Michigan. The publicity from this event persuades Ford to begin constructing new race cars.
  • 1901 - The Eastman Kodak Company of New Jersey, the present parent company for Kodak, is formed.
  • 1901 - The Sylvania Electric Company is incorporated.
  • 1901 - United States Steel Company is incorporated through the merger of ten companies. It is the world's largest industrial corporation.
  • 1901 - The Quaker Oats Company is incorporated. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1901 - Oldsmobile creates the first assembly line, and with the production of the Curved Dash automobile, Oldsmobile becomes the first mass producer of gasoline cars.
  • 1901 - The National Bureau of Standards is established to make weights and measures of consumer products more consistent.
  • 1901 - King Camp Gillette begins manufacturing the modern safety razor.
  • 1901 - The Pan-American Exposition, a celebration of US global economic power, opens in Buffalo, New York. President McKinley is shot at the Expo on 6 September by immigrant anarchist Leon Czolgosz and dies 14 September. Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in as president.
  • 1901 - The Victor Talking Machine Company acquires the American rights to the famous painting of the dog Nipper listening to a phonograph with the caption "His Master's Voice" and begins using the image in advertisements. RCA, which bought the Victor Company in the 1920s, still uses Nipper in ads.
  • 1901 - The oil gusher Spindletop blasts near Beaumont, Texas, establishing the petroleum industry in Texas.
  • 1902 - British Phillip Morris opens its New York headquarters to market cigarette brands, such as Marlboro.
  • 1902 - The Kodak Developing Machine simplifies the processing of roll film and makes developing possible without a darkroom.
  • 1902 - Alfred Erickson opens his own advertising agency, The Erickson Company, at the age of 25; his first clients include Bon Ami and American Coal Tar Company.
  • 1902 - The Pepsi-Cola Company is incorporated.
  • 1902 - The Sherman Antitrust Act is used for the first time against the Northern Securities Company, formed by a railroad merger.
  • 1902 - Packard begins use of the long-lasting slogan "Ask the man who owns one."
  • 1902 - The Anthracite Coal Strike begins and lasts five months, nearly crippling the nation. The United Mine Workers' demands include union representation, wage increases of 20 percent, and eight-hour workdays.
  • 1902 - Unilever hires the J. Walter Thompson Company for advertising Lifebuoy Soap and later Lux and other products in America. Unilever is still with J. Walter Thompson and represents the oldest client relationship in the advertising industry.
  • 1902 - The state of Maryland passes a workers' compensation law, the nation's first. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1902 - The famous 'Drawing the Line in Mississippi' political cartoon appears in The Washington Post and the Washington Evening Star, depicting Teddy Roosevelt's refusal to participate in the staged killing of a bear on a hunting expedition. The cartoon is the impetus for the creation of the teddy bear and the first US manufacturer of toy bears, the Ideal Toy and Novelty Company.
  • 1903 - The Department of Commerce and Labor is created by Congress.
  • 1903 - The Wright brothers make their first sustained manned flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  • 1903 - President Theodore Roosevelt inaugurates the first Pacific communication cable by sending a message around the world and receiving it twelve minutes later.
  • 1904 - Cigarette coupons are first used as a draw for a new chain of tobacco stores.
  • 1904 - The "Campbell's Kids" are created by Grace Weidersein. These images are still used in Campbell's Soup advertising with few modifications to the present day.
  • 1904 - Phonograph rolls, a new use of one of Thomas Edison's inventions for sound recording, become a popular form of entertainment in American homes.
  • 1904 - Sapolio soap becomes a popular name brand and an early example of the growing influence of advertising campaigns on public consumption.
  • 1905 - The American Tobacco Company acquires R.A. Patterson's Lucky Strike Company.
  • 1905 - Comedians Fatty Arbuckle and Harry Bulget, along with actor John Mason, become the first popular entertainers to appear in cigarette advertisements when they sing the praises (in print) of Murad Cigarettes.
  • 1905 - Madame C. J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) perfects and markets a hair straightener for black women. The success of the product makes Walker a prominent businesswoman in the black community.
  • 1905 - N. W. Ayer & Sons agency decides against advertising patent medicines, as federal regulation of the products looms.
  • 1905 - The Rotary Club, the first business-related service organization, is founded in Chicago.
  • 1905 - Old Dutch Cleanser enters the market, competing with and displacing Sapolio as the premier cleaner.
  • 1906 - The Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company is formed.
  • 1906 - R. J. Reynolds introduces Prince Albert pipe tobacco.
  • 1906 - President Theodore Roosevelt dedicates Devils Tower in Wyoming as the first national monument in the US.
  • 1906 - The First Annual Advertising Show opens in New York City, initiating the "age of advertising."
  • 1906 - The Victrola phonograph is introduced by the Victor Talking Machine Company.
  • 1906 - The Pure Food and Drug Act, prohibiting the mislabeling or adulteration of food in interstate and foreign commerce, is passed. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1906 - New Jersey passes the first law requiring the licensing of automobile operators.
  • 1907 - Bull Durham tobacco ads on New York City Fifth Avenue buses and trolleys cause a commotion due to the "male-obvious" depiction of the bull in the ads; the drivers are arrested and the pictures confiscated due to the offensive nature of the illustrations. The legal case eventually goes all the way to the Supreme Court.
  • 1907 - The Justice Department files anti-trust charges against the American Tobacco Company.
  • 1907 - Florenz Ziegfeld's musical stage extravaganzas, the Follies, begin in New York City.
  • 1907 - Canada Dry ginger ale is first produced.
  • 1908 - Eastman Kodak produces the world's first practical safety film using cellulose acetate instead of the highly flammable cellulose nitrate base.
  • 1908 - General Motors Company is incorporated.
  • 1908 - The Hoover vacuum is patented.
  • 1908 - Airplane advertising is used for the first time, to promote a Broadway play.
  • 1908 - General Electric patents the electric iron and toaster.
  • 1908 - The "directoire" or "sheath" dress arrives from Paris. The first woman in Chicago to wear one has to be rescued from the crowd by police, but despite difficulties in walking, slim dresses without petticoats become popular. Also popular is the song "Katie Keath, she wears a sheath/ With very little underneath." The first fishnet stockings arrive from Paris in this year as well.
  • 1908 - The Wright brothers sign their first contract for the delivery of a plane, establishing the record of a bid-to-contract time frame of five days.
  • 1908 - The Ford Motor Company unveils the Model T at $825, beginning the automobile age for the masses.
  • 1908 - Truman A. DeWeese begins one of the earliest books on advertising principles by assessing the relationship between advertising, manufacturers, and middlemen. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1909 - The National Negro Committee is founded by W. E. B. Du Bois.
  • 1909 - The invention of Bakelite plastic is announced by Leo H. Bakeland, a Belgian-born American inventor. The new product will lead to affordable plastic containers and appliances.
  • 1909 - The Wright brothers deliver their first plane to the Signal Corps at a cost of $30,000.
  • 1909 - The "Uprising of Thirty Thousand," a garment workers' strike, erupts in New York City. It is the first female-dominated (more than 80 percent of strikers are women) mass action. After fourteen weeks the workers win. The victory establishes the International Ladies Garment Workers Union as a powerful force in the labor movement.
  • 1910 - Electrical current for domestic residencies becomes standardized. Electrical appliance prices fall markedly over the next 20 years.
  • 1910 - Over 181,000 passenger cars are sold in America.
  • 1910 - US cigarette production and consumption overtakes cigars for the first time.
  • 1910 - John Wanamaker opens a twelve-story department store in Philadelphia, the most monumental commercial structure in the world at the time.
  • 1910 - $600 million is spent on advertising by big business; this represents 4% of the national income.
  • 1910 - The National Negro Committee becomes the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
  • 1910 - The tango, sweeping Europe with its South American flavor, begins to catch on in New York City ballrooms.
  • 1911 - American Tobacco Company controls 92% of world's tobacco business.
  • 1911 - Antitrust action against the American Tobacco Company breaks it into several major companies: American Tobacco Company, R. J. Reynolds, Liggett & Meyers Tobacco Company, Lorillard, and British American Tobacco.
  • 1911 - Air conditioning is invented.
  • 1911 - The Supreme Court rules that Standard Oil Company of New Jersey must be dissolved under antitrust laws.
  • 1911 - The Taft administration files a suit against the United States Steel Company under the Sherman Antitrust Act, in spite of Theodore Roosevelt's earlier pledge to J.P. Morgan that such a suit would not be brought.
  • 1911 - A fire sweeps through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in lower Manhattan, killing 145 workers, most of them young girls. The factory's owners are indicted for manslaughter due to unsafe working conditions.
  • 1911 - A new macadam track at the Indianapolis Speedway is inaugurated with a five-hundred-mile race, the first Indianapolis 500.
  • 1911 - The New York City Association of Advertising Agencies is formed.
  • 1912 - Liggett & Myers introduces Chesterfield brand cigarettes with the slogan "They do satisfy."
  • 1912 - The Titanic sinks on its maiden voyage, killing 1,518 passengers and crew.
  • 1912 - Crowds swarm New York's Times Square to see the World Series score on the new electric bulletin board of the New York Times. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1913 - The REO car company sells the 'Reo the Fifth' for $1,095. The top, windshield, lighting and starting systems are all optional.
  • 1913 - Camel cigarettes are first marketed by R. J. Reynolds.
  • 1913 - The New York World publishes the first crossword puzzle.
  • 1913 - The Federal Reserve System is created. All national banks are required to join the system.
  • 1913 - The Woolworth Building opens in New York City, at a height of 792 feet.
  • 1913 - The Sixteenth Amendment, giving Congress the power to tax personal incomes without apportionment among the states, is adopted.
  • 1913 - Henry Ford opens the first moving assembly line for cars in Highland Park, Michigan. It can produce a Model T in three hours.
  • 1914 - Hollywood, California, becomes the center of motion picture production in the US when filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille establishes his studio there, and other producers follow.
  • 1914 - Henry Ford announces he will pay his employees a minimum of five dollars a day and inaugurate three eight-hour shifts. But to qualify for the new wage, workers must answer questions about their home lives and habits from Ford's new Sociological Department.
  • 1914 - Congress passes a resolution to celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May.
  • 1914 - The Federal Trade Commission is established.
  • 1914 - The Panama Canal is officially opened.
  • 1914 - The first full-length feature comedy motion picture, Tillie's Punctured Romance, stars Marie Dresser, Mabel Normand, and newcomer Charlie Chaplin.
  • 1910s - There is a phenomenal growth in the retail industry, mirroring the vast increase in mass production.
  • 1910s - Millions of dollars are spent by companies on advertising and public relations to stimulate consumer buying. Phineas T. Barnum
  • 1910s - Women begin to wield power in labor unions, especially in the garment industry.
  • 1910s - Modern market research begins. As a result, ads become increasingly targeted to specific audiences
  • 1915 - The Franz Premier Electric Cleaner is advertised for $25. It weighs 9 pounds, an improvement over the 1913 Bissell Electric Suction Cleaner which weighed 33 pounds.
  • 1915 - The taxicab makes its first appearance in American cities. Service costs a nickel and the popularity of cabs leads to the development of intercity bus lines.
  • 1915 - The first transcontinental telephone line opens for service from New York City to San Francisco.
  • 1915 - The first transatlantic radiotelephone communication is made from Arlington, Virginia to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
  • 1916 - Auto and truck production in the United States exceeds one million new vehicles this year. The average cost of a new car is slightly more than $600, but Ford's model T sells for $360. Half a million Model T's roll off the lines in 1916. There are more than 3.5 million cars on the road.
  • 1916 - Trade both within the US and with foreign countries sets all-time highs. Domestic commerce generates $45 billion, and exports top $8 billion.
  • 1916 - The self-service concept in retailing is invented by the Piggly Wiggly chain of grocery stores.
  • 1916 - Boeing Aircraft Company designs and produces its first model, the biplane.
  • 1916 - James Walter Thompson retires at 69 and sells his agency to Stanley B. Resor and partners.
  • 1917 - A massive advertising campaign for Lucky Strike tobacco gets underway, employing the slogan "It's Toasted."
  • 1917 - To support recruiting efforts and promote sales of war bonds and stamps during World War I, thousands of advertisers feature war themes in their campaigns while the media contribute space. By 1919, contributions total $2.5 billion.
  • 1917 - The Liberty Loan Act is adopted. It provides for the public sale of bonds and the extension of loans to Allied Powers.
  • 1917 - Maj. Gen. John J. "Blackjack" Pershing arrives in France with the first contingent of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) to enter the war in Europe.
  • 1917 - The War Revenue Act establishes graduated personal income and excess profits taxes and higher postal rates.
  • 1917 - The Trading with the Enemy Act establishes an office of Alien Property Custodian to handle enemy property in the US, most of which is sold. Trading with the enemy is prohibited, and all imports are placed under control of the War Trade Board.
  • 1917 - The American Association of Advertising Agencies is formed.
  • 1918 - The War Department buys the entire output of Bull Durham tobacco. The American Tobacco Company advertises, "When our boys light up, the Huns will light out."
  • 1918 - A New York toy firm begins manufacturing the Raggedy Ann doll; the doll soon grows into a $20-million-a-year business.
  • 1918 - The New York Times begins home delivery.
  • 1918 - The War Finance Corporation is established to help banks finance the operation of war industries.
  • 1918 - The National War Labor Board is established to settle labor disputes and avoid interruption of war production.
  • 1918 - The first test kitchen in an ad agency is created in the Chicago office of the J. Walter Thompson Company.
  • 1918 - The federal government takes control of the nation's telephone and telegraph systems.
  • 1919 - The trade magazine Printer's Ink cautions against "an insidious campaign to create women smokers" in reaction to the portrayal of women in 'smart social settings' in cigarette ads. The first organized advertising campaign directed towards women would not come about until 1927; however, women were pictured in cigarette ads previous to this date.
  • 1919 - George Whelan Tobacco Products acquires Phillip Morris & Company, Ltd. Inc. and its cigarette brands of Cambridge, Oxford Blues, English Ovals, Players, and Marlboro.
  • 1919 - Manufactured cigarettes surpass smoking tobacco in poundage of tobacco consumed.
  • 1919 - The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors.
  • 1919 - To help stem rampant inflation, the administration of President Woodrow Wilson seizes and distributes food that had been stored in warehouses in several cities. Producers had stored the food as a way of keeping food prices high.
  • 1919 - Since the passage of the child labor provision in the federal tax code in April, child labor is reduced by 40 percent, particularly in the coal mining and canning industries.
  • 1919 - The nation's first municipal airport opens in Tucson, Arizona.
  • 1920 - Drug, toilet, and household preparations output for domestic consumption is $765 million, up from only $40 million in 1879.
  • 1920 - Almost 2 million passenger cars are sold in America.
  • 1920 - The Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote, is ratified.


The 1st ads were vocal; i.e. street cries used by peddlers hawking their wares. Greeks advertised by shouting announcements of the sale of cattle and slaves. Printed advertisements also developed early. A 3,000-year-old ad from Thebes calls for the recovery of a slave: "... For his return to the shop of Hapu the Weaver, where the best cloth is woven to your desires, a whole gold coin is offered...."

In Rome, signs were pasted up proclaiming circuses and gladiator matches. Examples of poster advertising have also been found in Pompeii and Carthage.

In the Middle Ages, handbills and tacked-up notices invaded the advertising field, and they usually consisted of drawings as well as copy because few people could read. The signs advertised the goods of individual merchants. Street barkers were posted outside of shops. In Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale, Autolycus sings: "Come, buy of me; come buy, come buy, buy, lads, or else your lasses cry."

The 1st newspaper appeared in England, The Weekly Newes, in 1622. The 1st advertisement in a newspaper is said by historian Henry Sampson to have been an ad for the return of a stolen horse.

In 1630, a Paris doctor opened a shop where you could post an ad for 3 sous; by the mid-1600s many such offices existed. This was the beginning of the centralization of advertising. These shops did not write ads or move ads out into external media like the modern advertising agency.

An ad appeared in a newspaper for Robert Turner's Dentifrice in 1661--brand names were coming into use.

During 1665, a bad year due to the plague, newspapers carried ads for preventatives and cures--Anti-Pestilential Pills, Incomparable Drink Against the Plague, The Only True Plague Water, Infallible Preventive Pills Against the Plague, and Sovereign Cordials Against the Corruption of the Air.

The London Gazette announced, in 1666, that it was going to print advertisements. Newspaper ads became the rage. By 1682, shopping guides were being published which consisted entirely of ads. In the 1700s, England was glutted with pasted-up notices and posters. London became jammed with large advertising signs announcing merchants' places of business. The signs became so numerous that Charles II proclaimed, "No signs shall be hung across the streets shutting out the air and the light of the heavens."

Newspapers and advertising grew up together in the Colonies. The 1st issue of the 1st successful newspaper--the Boston News-Letter (1704)--solicited ads.

Benjamin Franklin was the patron saint of American advertising. He was not only a writer, editor, and publisher, but an aggressive adman as well. he published the Pennsylvania Gazette (1st issue 1729), which carried ads for soap, books, stationery, and the 1730 almanac of Godfrey and Titan Leeds. The Gazette was soon to become the largest paper in the Colonies. Franklin wrote an ad for his newly invented stove which warned people that their teeth and jaws would go bad, their skin would shrivel, their eyes would fade, and assorted other woes would befall them if they continued to use old-fashioned stoves. This is cited as the 1st example of the modern technique of warning people against the dangers of "inferior brands."

Paul Revere, who made false teeth in addition to his other activities, advertised his dentures in the Boston Gazette in 1768.

There were 37 newspapers in the Colonies when the American Revolution began, 43 when it ended. Almost all were weeklies. Ads appeared encouraging enlistment in the Revolution.

This notice was published in 1789: "THOMAS TOUCHWOOD, GENT., proposes, on the last day of the present month, to shoot himself by subscription. His life being of no farther use to himself or his friends, he takes this method of endeavoring to turn his death to some account; and the novelty of the performance, he hopes, will merit the attention and patronage of the publick. He will perform with 2 pistols, the 1st shot to be directed through his abdomen, to which will be added another through his brain, the whole to conclude with staggering, convulsions, grinning, etc., in a manner never before publickly attempted. The doors to be opened at 8, and the exhibition to begin precisely at 9. Particular places, for that night only, reserved for the ladies. No money to be returned, nor half-price taken. Vivant Rex et Regina. Beware of counterfeits and imposters--the person who advertises to hang himself the same night, in opposition to Mr. Touchwood, is a taylor, who intends only to give the representation of death by dancing in a collar, an attempt infinitely inferior to Mr. T.'s original and authentic performance."

Personal advertising was also rampant in the 1700s: "A tall, well-fashioned, handsome young woman, about 18 with a fine bloom in her countenance, a cast in one of her eyes, scarcely discernible; a well-turned nose, and dark-brown uncurled hair flowing about her neck, which seemed to be newly cut; walked last new years day about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, pretty fast through Long acre ... and near the turn into Drury Lane met a young gentleman, wrapped up in a blue roccelo cloak, who she look'd at steadfastly. He believes he had formerly the pleasure of her acquaintance: If she will send a line direct to H.S. Esq., to be left at the bar of the Prince of Orange coffee house, the corner of Pall Mall, intimating where she can be spoken with, she will be informed of something greatly to her advantage...."

Or this from 1790: "A young woman who has been tenderly brought up, and received a genteel Education, but left destitute of Fortune and Friends, will think herself happy could she meet a single gentleman of benevolent disposition to take her under his ONLY protection and friendship...."

In the early 1800s, display advertising in printed media arrived. Whereas previous newspaper and magazine ads had been limited to short, column-sized ads, now they expanded and included illustrations. One of these was 4 pages long. Advertisers also used such devices as serial sandwich boards and giant floats to promote their products.

Volney B. Palmer became America's 1st significant advertising agent in the mid-1800s. He solicited business from advertisers, wrote copy for them, and placed the copy in a public media channel.

N. W. Ayer, currently one of the world's larger advertising agencies, was founded in 1841. By 1876, it had 20 employees.

P. T. Barnum expanded the horizons of advertising with his tantalizing and sensational promotional campaigns for Tom Thumb, the Feejee Mermaid, and singer Jenny Lind. Barnum delivered lectures on "The Science of Money-Making and the Philosophy of Humbug." In part due to his advertising and self-promotion, Barnum became an internationally famous entrepreneur.

By the later 1800s brand names took over the commercial arena. In 1871, there were 121 brand names registered at the Patent Office; by 1875, there were 1,138; by 1926, there were 69,000. Advertising became increasingly competitive.

In 1882, an electric sign was constructed and displayed by W. J. Hammer in London. The practice spread wildly. New York was soon blinking with electric signs. The public was delighted. One ad featured a chariot race made out of 20,000 light bulbs which flashed 2,500 times per minute.

Magazines became spectacular advertising vehicles. In Harper's of November, 1899, 135 pages of the magazine were devoted to ads and 163 to editorial matters.

Cyrus H. K. Curtis, a conservative Republican entered magazine publishing with the goal of creating a rewarding vehicle for national advertising rather than with any journalistic convictions. He was to become the country's most successful periodical publisher, with the Ladies' Home Journal and, later, The Saturday Evening Post. Curtis asked a group of national advertisers: "Do you know why we publish the Ladies' Home Journal? The editor thinks it is for the benefit of American women. That is an illusion, but a very proper one for him to have. But I will tell you, the real reason, the publisher's reason, is to give you people who manufacture things that American women want and buy a chance to tell them about your products."

By 1898, the Ladies' Home Journal had 48 pages of slick paper with color covers and illustrations as well as big-name writers. It had a circulation of 850,000. By 1900, the Journal's circulation reached one million. Curtis bought The Saturday Evening Post; it grew gradually, but acquired a huge $5 million worth of advertising revenues by 1910, with a circulation of over one million. Advertising had now become an established mass-communications form, with nationwide scope, and increasing sophistication and influence. As Joseph Seldin points out in The Golden Fleece, by the end of the 1800s, newspapers and magazines had become part of the U.S. marketing system with the job of "inducing mass consumption." Advertisers provided over 2/3 of magazine revenues by 1909.

Another advertising visionary was Thomas Lipton, a Scotch-Irishman who pioneered all kinds of inventive promotional tricks. According to James Wood's Story of Advertising: "He issued thousands of Lipton one-pound notes. They were facsimiles of those issued by Scottish banks but read across the face, '... Promise to pay on demand at any establishment for 15 shillings, ham, butter, and eggs as offered else-where for One Pound Sterling.' The notes were at least a sensation. Many were redeemed at Lipton shops. More got into general circulation and were used as currency, to pay debts, or thriftily deposited in collection plates at church. Lipton fitted concave and convex mirrors in each of his shops. The one marked 'Going to Lipton's' showed people elongated and miserable; the other, marked 'Coming from Lipton's,' showed them fat and happy. He hired balloons to drop advertising telegrams. He recruited an army of 200 men, dressed them as Chinese, marched them between sandwich boards extolling his tea (Lipton's Tea). Like Barnum, he imported his own Jumbo. This Jumbo was a huge cheese he had made and shipped from Whiteborough, N.Y. For weeks in advance, Lipton advertised that it was being made, that it had been shipped, that it was on the high seas, that it had taken all the milk of 800 cows for 6 days to make it. Crowds greeted Jumbo at the docks. Gold sovereigns were hidden in the cheese. Police were called out to protect the huge crowds that swarmed on Christmas Eve when the cheese was to be cut...."

A soap manufacturer, Pears, hired a famous and beautiful actress, Lily Langtry, to do a testimonial, "Since using Pears Soap, I have discarded all others." This is believed to have been the 1st such endorsement on a large scale. Pears also paid a large sum of money for a painting by artist John Millais, and started the trend of using fine art to sell products.

Ad agencies and ad agents proliferated in the 1890s. J. Walter Thompson, founder of what is now the biggest agency in America, said, "No one will ever make as much money out of advertising as I have." Independent writers or groups of writers prepared ad copy for manufacturers, and the agencies "placed" the ads. When Ayer handled the Uneeda Biscuit campaigns for the National Biscuit Company, the 1st full-service-agency approach was born. The agency took care of all aspects of the manufacturer's advertising needs from copywriting through merchandising coordination. By 1900, there were 20-25 agencies, mostly in New York.

Reform struck advertising: In 1892, Cyrus Curtis announced that the Ladies' Home Journal would take no patent medicine ads. The bogus potions were costing Americans millions of dollars per year, and were coming under heavy attack by commentators and consumers.

The Duryea automobile was advertised November, 1895. This is considered the 1st complete car ad.

Competitive advertising was stepped up with the introduction of the bicycle into American culture. Between 1890 and 1896, Americans spent $100 million for bicycles, produced by some 100 manufacturers. Brand name differentiation became of prime importance.

Ads for pills were projected on Nelson's Column in London by a magic lantern device in 1894.

In 1898, Sears (later of Sears, Roebuck and Co.) spent half of his operating expenses on advertising.

Ads for and by "young masseuses" were commonplace in newspapers of this period.

In 1900, Albert D. Lasker, who became one of America's leading advertising practitioners, turned copywriting into a big business. From then on, the production of carefully researched and constructed ad copy became perhaps the central concern of advertisers. This was the beginning of the persuasive, hard-sell era. Lasker and his partner, Claude Hopkins, "researched" market areas and found out what people wanted from products. Then they advertised that their client's product offered exactly those characteristics desired.

During the 1st years of the 20th century, the Ford Motor Company produced thousands of cars, accompanied by extensive free publicity as well as carefully planned advertising. By 1928, 15 million Model Ts had been sold. A 1906 ad read: "We are making 40,000 cylinders, 10,000 engines, 40,000 wheels, 20,000 axles, 10,000 bodies, 10,000 of every part that goes into the car--think of it! For this car we buy exactly 40,000 spark plugs, 10,000 spark coils, 40,000 tires, all exactly alike."

During W. W. I, advertising was used effectively in Britain to marshal war energies--enlistments, conservation, etc. The same approach was used in the U.S., but not quite so successfully. Wartime references also infiltrated commercial ads, such as an ad for Cat's Paw Rubber Heels based on the slogan "Stepping On to Victory." Here is the text of a poster that was distributed by the British Government and its ad agencies: "1) Have you a Butler, Groom, Chauffeur, Gardener or Gamekeeper serving you who at this moment should be serving your King and Country? 2) Have you a man serving at your table who should be serving a gun? 3) Have you a man digging your garden who should be digging trenches? 4) Have you a man driving your car who should be driving a transport wagon? 5) Have you a man preserving your game who should be helping to preserve your country? A great responsibility rests on you. Will you sacrifice your personal convenience for your Country's need? Ask your men to enlist today."

An American W.W. I ad shows a smiling doughboy smoking a White Owl. "Did I bayonet my 1st Hun? Sure! How did it feel? It doesn't feel! There he is. There you are. One of you has got to go. I preferred to stay. . . . Bullets and bayonets are the only kind of lingo a Hun can understand!"

After W. W. I, advertising skyrocketed. In the U.S., the total advertising expenditure in 1918 was almost $1 1/2 billion. By 1919, it was almost $2 1/2 billion. By 1925, advertising expenditure had jumped up over $3 billion. Advertising became almost as important as industrial production itself. Americans felt giddy and strong in the '20s, and advertising sold them images of "the good life." Keeping up with the Joneses, the race for material status, became a major factor in American social relations. People were taught to seek pleasure through the acquisition of nonessential products.

Advertising and politics shook hands in 1918 when Will B. Hays, chairman of the Republican National Committee, hired superadman Albert Lasker to promote the Republican party with advertising techniques. Lasker produced propaganda in favor of the party and U.S. isolationism, and against Wilson's internationalism. Lasker himself believed that Europe was "blighted, decayed and evil." The Republicans went on to win in 1920.

Bruce Barton, an agency man, wrote a book claiming that Christ was an advertising man. He described Jesus as a business executive, and told how he had founded modern business practices and the advertising used to establish it. The book, The Man Nobody Knows, became a best seller. "He picked up 12 men from the bottom ranks of business and forged them into an organization that conquered the world." If Jesus had been alive, he would have been "a national advertiser," according to Barton.

Mass radio happened in the '20s. Advertisers were spending over $4 million for radio time by 1927, and $10 million by 1928. Radio ads were harsh and repetitious. Radio produced a number of changes in the advertising scene: It gave advertising a human voice with consequent emotional and dramatic appeal; it pushed advertising directly into the home; and, perhaps most important, it provided a medium where advertisers and ad agencies actually controlled program content--advertisers chose programs and directed them according to their own tastes. This relationship had not existed in the printed media. Additionally, radio had the effect of blurring the lines between program content and advertising messages. The foreground and the background were purposely mixed and overlapped in such a way that it was hard for the listeners to figure out when they were being solicited.

The stock market crashed on October 29, 1929. Advertising plummeted by billions of dollars from a peak of $3 1/2 billion in 1929 to a little over $1 billion in 1933.

Advertising came under heavy attack, as did the entire economic system. Two fronts led the assault: consumer groups and the Government. The National Consumers' League, which had been formed in 1916, started in the 1930s to issue lists of manufacturers whose labor relations were reasonably humane. The publication of Your Money's Worth, a book by Stuart Chase and F. J. Schlink, in 1927, precipitated and exemplified the onslaught against advertising. The authors attacked not only false and misleading advertising, but the entire concept of competitive salesmanship. They formed the Consumer's Club--which became Consumer's Research, Inc., in 1929--with Schlink as president. The organization tested products and gave the results to subscribers. A split developed, and striking employees left to form their own Consumer's Union (1936), which also evaluated national products. Both groups used advertising to advance their cases, and to claim superiority over rival product-testing groups.

More books hostile to advertising were published: 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, Eat, Drink and Be Wary, Partners in Plunder were among them.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, when governor of New York in 1931, told the Advertising Federation of America: "If I were starting life over again . . . I would go into the advertising business in preference to almost any other."

Bethlehem Steel opened a Public Relations Dept. in 1930; General Motors in 1931; U.S. Steel in 1936.

The U.S. Government attempted to regulate advertising to an unprecedented degree, but failed. Congress Bill S. 1944 was introduced in 1933 by Sen. R. S. Copeland (although it was largely written by Rexford Guy Tugwell, a welfare liberal who was appointed an under secretary of Agriculture by FDR). The bill was a significant threat to the manufacturers and advertisers. It provided for strict controls, by the Government, of industrial quality and of advertising. It represented one of the New Deal's moves toward a "planned economy." The bill was hotly contested and finally defeated in 1934. A milder law--the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act--was passed with the approval of both advertising and industry.

In the early 1940s, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission came down hard on certain advertisers for phony claims. But in general, advertising made a comeback after the Terrible Thirties. During W.W. II, advertising advanced further. The War Advertising Council, consisting of representatives of all aspects of advertising, assisted the U.S. Government in preparing and conducting campaigns for recruitment, war bonds, and other wartime necessities. War-time tie-ins were universal: An air-conditioner manufacturer claimed that he was sinking Japanese ships because the periscope lenses of American submarines had been made in an air-conditioned shop. Similarly, "Hitler smiles when you waste miles," from B. F. Goodrich. Or, "Idle words make busy subs. Keep it under your Stetson."

After W.W. II, television flourished and the modern superagency coalesced. Psychologists and sociologists were brought in by the advertising agencies to study human nature in relation to selling; in other words, to figure out how to manipulate people without their feeling manipulated. "Mr. Mass Motivations" himself--Dr. Ernest Dichter, president of the Institute for Motivational Research--made a statement in 1941 that typifies the developing advertising consciousness. He said that the successful ad agency "manipulates human motivations and desires and develops a need for goods with which the public has at one time been un-familiar--perhaps even undesirous of purchasing."

In the early 1950s overproduction was flooding the scene. Marketing became of equal importance with production. Hundreds of similar products were competing with each other. Millions of working-class families moved into the suburbs and became middle class, upsetting traditional class categories. The GNP jumped from $300 billion to $400 billion between 1950 and 1955. "Convenience" foods began to appear--400 million frozen pot pies were consumed in 1958. In 1957, an estimated 5,000 new grocery items were introduced. The corporate-government structure had to sell more products so it could continue to make more products and expand. An all-out effort was launched to mass-analyze the American public, broken down into Designated Market Areas. Hundreds of social scientists moved into the ad business. By 1955, McCann-Erickson had 5 psychologists on its staff.

Ernest Dichter conducted hundreds of motivation studies from his headquarters on a mountaintop overlooking the Hudson River. He commanded a staff of over 25 resident specialists, and published a monthly called Motivations. Dichter had a "psycho-panel" of several hundred families; he did intensive analyses of the emotional makeup of each family member, and used the families to test products and ideas on different "types."

The concept of "style" has long been used to keep people buying. Constant model changes and shifting clothes fashions do not swell up from the needs of the populace; they are deliberate contrivances. During the 1950s "planned obsolescence" was ushered in. Products were purposely made shoddily so that they would self-destruct and the customer would have to replace them. And even if people owned usable goods already, the concept of "psychological obsolescence" induced them to buy a newer item.

According to Vance Packard in The Hidden Persuaders, the Color Research Institute gave out an identical detergent in 3 different boxes--one yellow, one yellow and blue, and one blue. Housewives stated that the soap in the yellow box was "too strong," and in some cases it ruined their clothes. The blue box received low ratings, often leaving their clothes "dirty-looking." The 2-color box received favorable responses. Another example of research done with a view toward future psychological manipulation of the buying public.

All segments of society were considered worthy of exploitation. Clyde Miller wrote in The Process of Persuasion: ". . . Think of what it can mean to your firm in profits if you can condition a million or 10 million children who will grow up into adults trained to buy your product as soldiers are trained to advance when they hear the trigger words 'forward march.'"


Giveaways, contests, and quiz shows proliferated in the '50s. Quaker Oats mailed out 5 tons of dirt from the Yukon in little pouches. Three coffee companies put actual money into their packages. Dial soap gave away an oil well. Remington Rand gave away one share of every company listed in the N.Y. Stock Exchange. One contest offered a free butler service. Competition was unbounded. The New Yorker found 312 "finests," 281 "world's bests," and 58 "America's onlys" in its pages over a 6-month period.

In the 1950s, trading stamps proliferated. Although clearly absurd, they proved to be a perfect advertising triumph. While customers knew they were paying more in stores that gave stamps, the stamps nevertheless instilled a feeling of thriftiness. After all, the customers were getting something for "nothing" (like television), and, significantly, they were acquiring "luxury" items which they wouldn't ordinarily have bought. By 1960, there were 250-500 stamp companies. S & H was servicing 60,000 accounts and operating 600 redemption centers. One stamp company ordered 30 million catalogs printed. Housewives marched on State legislatures when they were considering out-lawing trading stamps.

In the field of motivational research, the American petroleum industry found that people don't like to see pictures of gushing oil wells in ads because they resent sudden or easy wealth for others. A soup company which offered pantyhose as a premium found that people were turned off by the association of soup and feet. Then there was the Davy Crockett craze in 1955, which resulted in 300 Davy Crockett products involving $300 million.

The explosion of actual scientific advances rendered people susceptible to the designs of the admen, who used the new respect for science to sell products and introduced the Special Ingredient, the Miracle Ingredient, TCP, Activated Charcoal, Gardol, Miracle SLS, M-3, Solium, Microsheen, RX-2, WD-9, R-51, Trisilium, and others.

The confection and soft drink industry suffered a setback in the 1950s. Between 1950 and 1955, consumption of such items dropped 10%. Presumably, citizens were worried about dieting and tooth decay. (Much of the anti-sugar publicity was generated by the manufacturers of low-calorie products and toothpastes.) The industry hired Dr. Dichter. He told them that the real problem was a guilt feeling about self-indulgence on the part of the individuals in the market area. He advised them, for instance, to emphasize bite-sized pieces in order to give people a feeling that they weren't eating too much. Ultimately, the sugar industry began a campaign promoting candy as a dietary aid, suggesting that people try the "scientific nibble" of sweets to control their appetites.

Dieting became a major national issue. The consumption of low-calorie soft drinks multiplied 300 times between 1952 and 1955. The market was flooded with dietary aids, from bath salts and nonporous garments to pastes, candy, suction cups, belts, drugs. "Slim" became a significant social goal. In 1957, a congressional committee found that nearly all of the dietary products were practically worthless, and that the American public had been paying over $100 million a year for phony latter-day patent medicines. Additionally, in the area of nutrition and health, advertising oversimplified--and therefore falsified--important information. For example, in order to sell more cooking oil and modified fat products, the advertising Merlins declared that "cholesterol" was the main factor in heart disease. This was not a unanimous scientific feeling, yet it was so widely disseminated throughout the culture that it became a "fact." Much the same thing occurred with toothpastes. Several additives ranged from ammoniates to chlorophyll to antienzymes to fluoride--all of which provided inconclusive dental help. Rather than teaching people better nutritional habits and brushing techniques, the advertisers claimed that some new kind of additive would provide proper dental care.

And cigarettes, in the 1950s, didn't escape; there was a cancer scare. The manufacturers and the admen decided to push filters as an antidote to the negative publicity. Although the AMA reported that filters were nearly inconsequential, the ads promised that everything would be well. Ads began emphasizing rewards for hard work done, in place of earlier dreamy idylls and "taste/pleasure" promos. "Independent Testing Laboratories" appeared to legitimatize the universal claims that each brand was now milder, lower in tars and nicotine. When sales began to climb back up, Printer's Ink, an advertising trade journal, reported that "the public is approaching the smoking-health problem in adult fashion."

Another ad which exemplifies the era read: "Afraid of A-Bomb contamination? In the event of an A-Bomb attack wash contamination away with Flobar. . . ."

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