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Emergence of Advertising in America Research Guide

A research guide to the Emergence of Advertising in America digital collection. The guide contains contextual information about source collections and historical context.

1900 - 1904

  • 1900 - The Singer Sewing Machine wins Grand Prize for sewing machines at the 1900 Paris Exposition
  • 1900 - The population of the US, at 76 million, is now almost double that in 1870.
  • 1900 - The first of the famous Brownie Cameras was introduced. It sold for $1 and used film which sold for 15 cents a roll.
  • 1900 - Over 4,000 passenger cars are sold in America.
  • 1901 - Coca-Cola advertising budget is $100,000.
  • 1901 - Henry Ford defeats Alexander Winton (the winner of an earlier road race from Cleveland to New York) in a ten-mile race at Grosse Pointe, Michigan. The publicity from this event persuades Ford to begin constructing new race cars.
  • 1901 - The Eastman Kodak Company of New Jersey, the present parent company for Kodak, is formed.
  • 1901 - The Sylvania Electric Company is incorporated.
  • 1901 - United States Steel Company is incorporated through the merger of ten companies. It is the world's largest industrial corporation.
  • 1901 - The Quaker Oats Company is incorporated.
  • 1901 - Oldsmobile creates the first assembly line, and with the production of the Curved Dash automobile, Oldsmobile becomes the first mass producer of gasoline cars.
  • 1901 - The National Bureau of Standards is established to make weights and measures of consumer products more consistent.
  • 1901 - King Camp Gillette begins manufacturing the modern safety razor.
  • 1901 - The Pan-American Exposition, a celebration of US global economic power, opens in Buffalo, New York. President McKinley is shot at the Expo on 6 September by immigrant anarchist Leon Czolgosz and dies 14 September. Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in as president.
  • 1901 - The Victor Talking Machine Company acquires the American rights to the famous painting of the dog Nipper listening to a phonograph with the caption "His Master's Voice" and begins using the image in advertisements. RCA, which bought the Victor Company in the 1920s, still uses Nipper in ads.
  • 1901 - The oil gusher Spindletop blasts near Beaumont, Texas, establishing the petroleum industry in Texas.
  • 1902 - British Phillip Morris opens its New York headquarters to market cigarette brands, such as Marlboro.
  • 1902 - The Kodak Developing Machine simplifies the processing of roll film and makes developing possible without a darkroom.
  • 1902 - Alfred Erickson opens his own advertising agency, The Erickson Company, at the age of 25; his first clients include Bon Ami and American Coal Tar Company.
  • 1902 - The Pepsi-Cola Company is incorporated.
  • 1902 - The Sherman Antitrust Act is used for the first time against the Northern Securities Company, formed by a railroad merger.
  • 1902 - Packard begins use of the long-lasting slogan "Ask the man who owns one."
  • 1902 - The Anthracite Coal Strike begins and lasts five months, nearly crippling the nation. The United Mine Workers' demands include union representation, wage increases of 20 percent, and eight-hour workdays.
  • 1902 - Unilever hires the J. Walter Thompson Company for advertising Lifebuoy Soap and later Lux and other products in America. Unilever is still with J. Walter Thompson and represents the oldest client relationship in the advertising industry.
  • 1902 - The state of Maryland passes a workers' compensation law, the nation's first.
  • 1902 - The famous 'Drawing the Line in Mississippi' political cartoon appears in The Washington Post and theWashington Evening Star, depicting Teddy Roosevelt's refusal to participate in the staged killing of a bear on a hunting expedition. The cartoon is the impetus for the creation of the teddy bear and the first US manufacturer of toy bears, the Ideal Toy and Novelty Company.
  • 1903 - The Department of Commerce and Labor is created by Congress.
  • 1903 - The Wright brothers make their first sustained manned flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  • 1903 - President Theodore Roosevelt inaugurates the first Pacific communication cable by sending a message around the world and receiving it twelve minutes later.
  • 1904 - Cigarette coupons are first used as a draw for a new chain of tobacco stores.
  • 1904 - The "Campbell's Kids" are created by Grace Weidersein. These images are still used in Campbell's Soup advertising with few modifications to the present day.
  • 1904 - Phonograph rolls, a new use of one of Thomas Edison's inventions for sound recording, become a popular form of entertainment in American homes.
  • 1904 - Sapolio soap becomes a popular name brand and an early example of the growing influence of advertising campaigns on public consumption.

1905 - 1909

  • 1905 - The American Tobacco Company acquires R.A. Patterson's Lucky Strike Company.
  • 1905 - Comedians Fatty Arbuckle and Harry Bulget, along with actor John Mason, become the first popular entertainers to appear in cigarette advertisements when they sing the praises (in print) of Murad Cigarettes.
  • 1905 - Madame C. J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) perfects and markets a hair straightener for black women. The success of the product makes Walker a prominent businesswoman in the black community.
  • 1905 - N. W. Ayer & Sons agency decides against advertising patent medicines, as federal regulation of the products looms.
  • 1905 - The Rotary Club, the first business-related service organization, is founded in Chicago.
  • 1905 - Old Dutch Cleanser enters the market, competing with and displacing Sapolioas the premier cleaner.
  • 1906 - The Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company is formed.
  • 1906 - R. J. Reynolds introduces Prince Albert pipe tobacco.
  • 1906 - President Theodore Roosevelt dedicates Devils Tower in Wyoming as the first national monument in the US.
  • 1906 - The First Annual Advertising Show opens in New York City, initiating the "age of advertising."
  • 1906 - The Victrola phonograph is introduced by the Victor Talking Machine Company.
  • 1906 - The Pure Food and Drug Act, prohibiting the mislabeling or adulteration of food in interstate and foreign commerce, is passed.
  • 1906 - New Jersey passes the first law requiring the licensing of automobile operators.
  • 1907 - Bull Durham tobacco ads on New York City Fifth Avenue buses and trolleys cause a commotion due to the "male-obvious" depiction of the bull in the ads; the drivers are arrested and the pictures confiscated due to the offensive nature of the illustrations. The legal case eventually goes all the way to the Supreme Court.
  • 1907 - The Justice Department files anti-trust charges against the American Tobacco Company.
  • 1907 - Florenz Ziegfeld's musical stage extravaganzas, the Follies, begin in New York City.
  • 1907 - Canada Dry ginger ale is first produced.
  • 1908 - Eastman Kodak produces the world's first practical safety film using cellulose acetate instead of the highly flammable cellulose nitrate base.
  • 1908 - General Motors Company is incorporated.
  • 1908 - The Hoover vacuum is patented.
  • 1908 - Airplane advertising is used for the first time, to promote a Broadway play.
  • 1908 - General Electric patents the electric iron and toaster.
  • 1908 - The "directoire" or "sheath" dress arrives from Paris. The first woman in Chicago to wear one has to be rescued from the crowd by police, but despite difficulties in walking, slim dresses without petticoats become popular. Also popular is the song "Katie Keath, she wears a sheath/ With very little underneath." The first fishnet stockings arrive from Paris in this year as well.
  • 1908 - The Wright brothers sign their first contract for the delivery of a plane, establishing the record of a bid-to-contract time frame of five days.
  • 1908 - The Ford Motor Company unveils the Model T at $825, beginning the automobile age for the masses.
  • 1908 - Truman A. DeWeese begins one of the earliest books on advertising principles by assessing the relationship between advertising, manufacturers, and middlemen.
  • 1909 - The National Negro Committee is founded by W. E. B. Du Bois.
  • 1909 - The invention of Bakelite plastic is announced by Leo H. Bakeland, a Belgian-born American inventor. The new product will lead to affordable plastic containers and appliances.
  • 1909 - The Wright brothers deliver their first plane to the Signal Corps at a cost of $30,000.
  • 1909 - The "Uprising of Thirty Thousand," a garment workers' strike, erupts in New York City. It is the first female-dominated (more than 80 percent of strikers are women) mass action. After fourteen weeks the workers win. The victory establishes the International Ladies Garment Workers Union as a powerful force in the labor movement.