What Was Our Industry Like in 1912?
Recently a good friend gifted me with a rare historical find. Going through his late grandfather's "stuff" he came across a solicitation from The Oakland Advertising Company located in Akron, Ohio, mailed December 3, 1912. This company offered a "full line of advertising novelties, calendars, rubber novelties, etc". Holding this piece of history in my hand reminded me of how long custom imprinted products have been around! For my video on this, click here.
On the solicitation piece, which was actually typed on two-color letterhead, a variety of products were featured: Toy or Advertising Balloons - Price 10¢. Baggage check - Price 25¢, Yellow Enamel Paperweight - Price 25¢. When I sat down to type this I realized today's keyboards don't have cent signs keys anymore! For some history on this and more information than you want to know about this, click here.
The type written letter (yes, someone hand-typed each letter and envelope) asked: Undecided about any of your Christmas presents? Let us help you out. That intro line could still work today, although the melting pot of the United States would probably default to the more inclusive holiday present term. (I still like using the Christmas reference.)
The "circular," as they call this marketing piece, was promoting embossing machines. Apparently, embossing was a popular decoration method of the day. Here is a key feature of the spotlighted product: "The receiver's own initials or monogram are on the embosser. Every time he uses it you are pleasantly remembered." Again, a line that would still work today.
Here's the call to action: "The demand for embossers is so great that we advise you to order early that you may not be disappointed on Christmas delivery." The letter wasn't dated but I wondered what the lead time was on an embosser in 1912. I doubt they had rush service or overnight delivery! The circular goes on to say, "Your remittance should accompany the order." I have to believe today's suppliers would love doing business this way!