What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week?
“He will engage to make and mend Anvils, as good and as well as any imported.”
In the 1760s advertisers regularly indicated that they stocked and sold imported goods. Many advertisements deployed formulaic language or structure that included references to the origins of merchandise and explicitly used the word “imported.” Colonial artisans found themselves in competition with shopkeepers who peddled imported wares that were often superior in quality and craftsmanship to what was produced on this side of the Atlantic.
James McElroy seems to have realized that other colonists could be skeptical about such goods. In response, he offered a variation on the first “Buy American” campaigns that emerged during the Stamp Act protests when he assured potential customers that he could “make and mend Anvils, as good and as well as any imported.” In addition, he forged “Goldsmiths and Braziers Tools of all Sorts” and offered a guarantee (“which he will warrant”) of their quality.