You are exploring:  Library  >
Exhibits Home  > 
You can learn a lot from ADVERTISING  > 


In the early 20th century, with the Second Industrial Revolution underway, Americans were faced with more leisure time which presented advertisers opportunities to profit by emphasizing how their products would improve life and more enjoyable. 

The advent of the phonograph, introduced a never heretofore heard music to average Americans, was produced by such manufacturers like Thomas A. Edison, Inc. and Columbia Graphophone Company. Thomas Edison’s phonograph, created in the late 19th century, became a frequent advertisement seen in the weekly newspapers and magazines; over a 10 year span, as illustrated below, the Edison advertisement, to request a free catalog, appeared with variation in graphics, the use of color print and text.


Davis phonograph Columbia Grafonola

The above advertisements:

Davis phonograph The Chicago Ledger, v. XLIX, no. 35, Saturday, August 27, 1921, p. 14.

Columbia Grafonola The Youth’s Companion: the Best of American Life in Fiction Fact and Comment, v. 92, no. 45, November 7, 1918, p. iii.

Two advertisements, 12 years apart, for the Edison phonograph:

"The Edison" The Chicago Ledger, v. XXXVII, no. 50, Saturday, December 11, 1909, p. 16.

"No Money Down on Mr. Edison's New Phonograph" The Chicago Ledger, v. XLIX, no. 4, Saturday, January 22, 1921, p. 9.

Emerson Player Piano The Fra: a Journal of Affirmation v. 10 no. 4 January, 1913, Inside Rear Cover.

Advertising Entertainment Emerson Player Piano.JPG



Violins The Chicago Ledger, v. XLIX, no. 35, Saturday, August 27, 1921, p. 16.





Advertising Entertainment Violins.JPG








Milton Bradley's Spoof Mystify Card Trick


The above advertisements:

Milton Bradley's Spoof The Youth’s Companion: the Best of American Life in Fiction Fact and Comment, v. 92, no. 46, November 14, 1918, p. 611.

Mystify Card Trick The Chicago Ledger, v. XLVIII, no. 47, Saturday, November 20, 1920, p. 24.

Claxophone voice thrower The Chicago Ledger, v. XLIX, no. 1, Saturday, January 1, 1921. p. 15.


Advertising Entertainment Claxophone voice thrower.JPG



The handheld Kodak camera, introduced by George Eastman in 1888, permitted people to take photographs of everyday activities. The mechanics with the photography moved away from glass plates previously used to Eastman’s camera which incorporated a chemical coated paper on a paper holder. Eastman was credited in marketing his product with advertisements targeting women since he considered them as family recorder marking special occasions within the family.

Kodak Films The Youth’s Companion: the Best of American Life in Fiction Fact and Comment, v. 73, no. 42, October 19, 1899, back page.

Moving Picture Machine The Chicago Ledger, v. XXXVII, no. 52, December 25, 1909, p. 14.

Camera The Chicago Ledger, v. XLIV, no. 17, April 22, 1916, p. 22.

Kodak Films Moving Picture Machine


Camera The Chicago Ledger, v. XLIV, no. 17, April 22, 1916, p. 22.
                        Advertising Entertainment Camera.JPG

Big Magic Lantern The Chicago Ledger, v. XXXVII, no. 49, December 4, 1909, p. 16.

                           Advertising Entertainment Big Magic Lantern.JPG


Dix Theatre The Camp Dix News and Wrightstown Herald, v. I, no. 3, March 20, 1918, p. 15.


Advertising Entertainment Dix Theater Burlesque .jpg



The website for the U. S. Army MWR (Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs), stated its mission, "Morale, welfare, and recreation programs did not exist from the founding of the Army in 1775 until the start of the twentieth century.  . . . In 1903, Congress authorized the Army to build, operate, and maintain PXs, libraries, schools, recreation centers, and gyms for the troops. The Army Morale Division was established in 1918, the Army Motion Picture Service in 1920 and the Library Service in 1923. . . "  [U. S. Army MWR]

Palace Theatre Ardmore Chronicle, v. 29, no. 14, January 5, 1918, p. [3].

The advertisement, below, for the Thursday evening at the Ardmore Palace Theatre "now playing" ; one film was The Habit of Happiness starring Douglas Fairbanks.

In his autobiography, Fairbanks said about this film:

The picture [The Habit of Happiness] shows the teaching of a lot of "bums" in the bread line how to laugh." 

Palace Theatre Army Theatre


Army Theatre The Camp Dix News and Wrightstown Herald, v. I, no. 3, March 20, 1918, p. 14.

The Jackson Theatre Treat ’em rough, v. 1, no. 9, July 29, 1918 p 32.


Advertising Entertainment The Jackson Theatre.JPG




Germain, Christopher. "Violin Making in the American Heartland and the West Coast." Journal of the Violin Society of America: Proceedings, 23(1) Summer 2011, p. 60. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

Jacobson, Lisa Sheryl. Raising Consumers: Children, Childrearing, and the American Mass Market, 1890-1940, p. xii. University of California, Los Angeles, 1997. PhD. Ann Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 8 June 2016. Order No. 9721341

"Home." Magic Lantern Society of the United States and Canada. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.

"History of the Cylinder Phonograph." Articles & Essays. Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies. Digital Collections, Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. Web.  7 Sept. 2016.

"Advertising." George Eastman | Kodak. Copyright © 2016 Eastman Kodak Company. All Rights Reserved. Accessed 1 November 2016.

"U.S. Army MWR History." U.S. Army Installation Management Command Family and MWR. Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX. ©2016 ArmyMWR.com Web.  10 August 2016.

Douglas Fairbanks Museum. Douglas Fairbanks: In His Own Words. New York : iUniverse, Inc., 2006, p. 26. Web.  8 Sept. 2016.

Additional Notes

“The Emerson Piano Company.” Antique Piano Shop. ©2015 All Rights Reserved. Web.  7 Sept. 2016.

Cremona Violin makers. Bachmann, Alberto. An Encyclopedia of the Violin. Mineola, NY : Dover Publications, Inc., 2008, p. 60-61. Google ebook. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

Cremona, Italy " is inexorably intertwined with violins and other stringed instruments . . ."  Wilson, Jason. "There’s More to Cremona Than Violins." The New York Times. 3 September 2015. © 2016 The New York Times Company. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

Janowski, Kristen E. and Pennsylvania Downtown Center. "Main Line TheatersPennsylvania Theaters: A Historic Context.  Prepared for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. 2014-H002-042. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

 . . . a 1918 American silent drama film . . . It is based on the short story "Maria of the Roses" by George Scarborough.  . .Under the Yoke (film). Wikipedia. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.





















"One of the major centers for making in the United States was, and still is, Chicago, Illinois, where for over 100 years there has been a tradition of new instrument making." [Germain]

"Children's own consumer experiences also shaped their socialization as consumers."

"Before Motion Pictures . . .  By the 19th century, the magic lantern was used in theaters, churches, fraternal lodges, and at home by adults and children. In 1895 there were between 30,000 and 60,000 lantern showmen in the United States, giving between 75,000 and 150,000 performances a year. That means there would have been several shows a week." [Magic Lantern Society of the United States and Canada]