What exactly are “vintage advertisements” and what makes them unique? We see the terms everywhere; vintage signs, vintage advertising tins, vintage posters, etc. The answer simply is that while the most basic form of advertising has been around since ancient Greek and Roman times, its’ evolution to what we see today soared during the latter half of the 19th century. Every day places and items, that for centuries had been plain, were swiftly adorned with names, logos, images and even slogans. We sometimes cringe at the excessive marketing stimulation we are exposed to today, but these vintage advertisements were stunning examples of color, detail and creativity – changing forever how we see the world. And, created one of the most popular selection of collectibles in the 21st century.
In 1836, print advertisements took on a whole new form with the introduction of paid advertisements in newspapers. The challenge was on to have your product or service visually stand out above the rest. Images, text, and eventually color were all combined to attract the reader and hopefully a sale! These print ads became bigger, brighter and bolder as the decades passed; cementing brand names, logos and slogans into our brains.
The tobacco industry is credited with the final evolution to what we now call “modern advertising”. These companies were the first to use lithography to enhance the packaging of their product with stunning artwork. These products became advertisements themselves as tobacco users around the world showed off their eye-catching, colorful tins and boxes. The trend continued to ashtrays, cigar boxes, signs, matchbooks and more. The tobacciana craze had begun!
Now that there was a variety of methods to spread the advertising word – primarily on paper via newspaper and magazine print ads, posters or signs – big companies such as Coca-Cola recognized the fact that these methods had a short life span and would shortly be discarded, fade away or become easily damaged. Porcelain signs then became an extremely popular way to brand their name, as these signs stood up to weather, wear and tear. But the big brands did not stop there. They started to spread the word on even more items that were everyday commonplace and actually useful to many homes and establishments. Branded thermometers, ashtrays, calendars, measuring sticks, clocks and more were now part of our now vintage advertisement collectibles. To this day, a Coca-Cola serving tray, a Dairy Queen clock or a Prestone outdoor thermometer can still be found useful in homes across the country.
In this section of Bliffin House will be adding a wide variety of vintage advertising collectible categories for your pleasure. Feel free to contact us and share your own personal advertising collection! Our favorites are vintage coffee and tobacco tins, along with 1940’s print ads – we would love to hear about yours 🙂