Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Century in Advertising - Part 1

My look at some of the advertisements and products of yesteryear. Some weird and whacky, some surprisingly still around today. Here are their stories.

1900 - Box Brownie

The Brownie camera, introduced in February 1900, invented low-cost photography by introducing the concept of the snapshot to the masses. The Brownie was a very basic cardboard box camera with a simple meniscus lens that took 2 1/4-inch square pictures on 117 roll film.

The Brownie camera was conceived and marketed for sales of Kodak roll films. Because of its simple controls and initial price of $1 along with the low price of Kodak roll film and processing, The Brownie camera achieved and surpassed its marketing goal.

The Brownie is among the most important cameras in history.

One of the most popular Brownie models was the Brownie 127, millions of which were sold between 1952 and 1967. The Brownie 127 was a simple bakelite camera for 127 film which featured a simple meniscus lens and a curved film plane to compensate for the deficiencies of the lens. Another simple camera was the Brownie Cresta which was sold between 1955 and 1958. It used 120 film and had a fixed-focus lens.

The last official Brownie cameras made was the Brownie II Camera, a 110 cartridge film model produced in Brazil for one year...1986.

1901 - Snake-Oil Medicine

David Straight, in his article against pain, noted that:

"While the precise formula varied over time, the principle active ingredients in Antikamnia tablets remained the coaltar derivative acetanilid combined with caffeine, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid."
"Because of the deaths associated with this drug, Antikamnia was one of the patent medicines particularly targeted by progressive consumer advocate Harvey W. Wiley, the first commissioner of the newly created Food and Drug Administration. The term “patent medicine” is somewhat of a misnomer, because few, if any, of the medicinal remedies marketed before the advent of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug laws were actually patented."

"After the Food and Drug Administration ruled in 1907 that preparations containing acetanilid must be clearly labeled, the Antikamnia Company changed its formula for the domestic market, instead using acetaphenetidin, an acetanilid derivative. It then advertised that its product contained no acetanilid. However, the British market, still unregulated, continued to receive the original formula tablets. "

"The Antikamnia Company directed a large percentage of its advertising budget into direct mailings, such as this postal card to physicians and pharmacists, providing them with free samples and literature to gain their acceptance and prescriptions."

1902 - Electric Cars

The Studebaker Electric was an automobile produced by the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company of South Bend, Indiana, a forerunner of the Studebaker Corporation. The battery-powered cars were sold from 1902 to 1912

Studebaker formally began production in earnest in 1902, and the company chose battery-powered electric vehicles because they were clean, easily recharged, and worked well in urban centers without need of refueling depots.

From 1902 to 1911, Studebaker produced around 1800 electric vehicles of all kinds. Even Thomas Edison owned one. His son told the Studebaker company that Edison “drove the wheels off of it” until the early 1920s, Beckman says.

But like today, the big technological hurdle was keeping an electric car charged. Back then, a Studebaker could go 40 miles at about 20 mph before losing power. Then you would have to plug it in and recharge it, and the electrical structure of US was not set up to handle this.


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