Our present age is not the first to be inundated by advertising. The Regency era had its share of promoters, sponsors and hawkers.
The itinerant sellers displayed their wares in the street with ‘cries’ that became the stuff of legends and subject of books. The building owners painted their warehouses with messages in letters several feet tall. The prosperous manufacturers posted their advertisements on buildings and hoardings and hired men to carry signs in the streets touting their products. The merchants hung the exteriors of their shops with their wares, and posted ‘window bills’ to illustrate particular goods within the shop.
And merchants and manufacturers advertised their merchandise and commodities in magazines and journals. Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, etc. of 1815 has—I was delighted to discover—advertisements in the back of each issue. They give a wonderful picture of the merchandising practices of the Regency period, and the products available to my Regency characters.
“BROWN and CO. Wholesale and Retail Silk-Manufacturers have the honour to announce to the Public, that they have commenced the Silk Trade, in all its Branches, at No. 15, Henrietta-Street, Covent Garden, where their Ware-Rooms will be found to contain a splendid assortment of Silk Goods of the most novel design—rich Satins, Washing Silks, Figured Sarsnets, and Satin Brocade Gauzes, from French Models, Lustres, Tabbinets, Satin Cloths, Gossamere Italian Nets, Scarfs, etc. etc...”
A Wonderful Saving in Silk Stockings
“The Nobility and Gentry are most respectfully informed, by purchasing at the original and old-established Nottingham Stocking Warehouse, No. 81, Charlotte-street, Fitzroy-Square, they will realize a saving of near 20 per cent in that fashionable and elegant part of dress, silk stockings.”
There is much more than fashions advertised...
“Malabar’s Dentifrice, or Indian Tooth-Powder, decidedly the best preparation in the university, for cleansing, preserving and beautifying the teeth and gums. This tooth-powder is astringent, cleansing, antiputrescent, a fine aromatic, a most excellent stomachic, extremely grateful to the palate and pleasant to use, and is so perfectly innocent that the contents may be eaten by an infant. 9d per box.”
“Pears’ Liquid Bloom of Roses gives a most delightful tinge to the female countenance, and to such a degree of perfection, that it may with propriety be said, that art was never so successfully employed in improving the charms of nature. 3s. 6d per bottle.”
“Stephenson’s Patent Filtering Machines are portable, never out of repair, and are the best invention ever produced for purifying water, at the unexampled rate of 200 gallons per day, rendering the water beautifully transparent.”
“Morgan and Sanders have, at a very considerable expence, established a large manufactory, and also built extensive warerooms, for the purpose of exhibiting for sale a great variety of Upholstery ad Cabinet Furniture, for the furnishing of houses; a great part of which are articles perfectly new in principle, extremely fashionable, and universally approved of.”
“Bayley’s True Essential Salt of Lemons, for taking Ink-spots and stains out of Lace and Linen. The genuine is signed ‘W. Bayley’ on the Box and Wrapper. Also his Scouring Drops, for taking Grease out of Silk, Stuff, Woollen Cloth, price 1s. Each”
More was advertised than simply Goods for Sale:
“Denis Jacob begs leave to inform the Public, he gives the full value, in ready money, for Diamonds and Pearls, at No. 57, Margaret-street, Cavendish-square.”
I find these advertisements fascinating! Do you?
If you would like to investigate advertising and trade cards a little further, visit the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library, or download the Ackermann’s Repository from Google Books and read all the adverts yourself!
Until next time,