June 8

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Jun 8 - 6:8:1769 Boston Weekly News-Letter
Boston Weekly News-Letter (June 8, 1769).

“He will take second-hand Chaises in Pay for new.”

Adino Paddock offered several methods for consumers to acquire carriages of very sorts when he advertised in the Boston Weekly News-Letter in June 1769. In an advertisement that ran along the outer margin of the second page of the June 8 edition, the coachmaker proclaimed that he “has to sell a second-hand Post-Chaise, a very light Phaeton, and a Variety of Chaises, some of them genteel, and very little wore.” To facilitate purchases, he suggested that he “will take second-hand Chaises in part pay for new.” He also noted that he carried “Wilton Carpeting for Chaises.” In a rather brief advertisement, this eighteenth-century coachmaker invoked several marketing strategies that became common practices for the automobile industry in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

First, Paddock offered several models to meet the diverse needs, tastes, and budgets of prospective customers: a post-chaise, a phaeton, and a “variety” of chaises. He also realized that some buyers might not have the means to afford a new carriage but would be willing to purchase a used one, provided that it was in good condition. The “second-hand Post-Chaise” was the eighteenth-century equivalent of a used car. Yet “second-hand” did not have to mean inferior. Paddock stressed that his used carriages “were very little wore,” their quality and durability hardly reduced by having been driven by previous owners. In addition, they some of them were quite fashionable or “genteel.” To aid buyers who aimed to purchase new carriages, Paddock encouraged trade-ins, not unlike the modern automobile industry. In response to his offer to “take second-hand Chaises in part Pay for new,” prospective customers could expect to negotiate for the value of their used carriages that would be applied to the purchase price of new ones. Finally, Paddock acknowledged the benefits of a comfortable and luxurious interior, stressing that he installed “Wilton Carpeting for Chaises.” A carriage was not merely a means of transportation but also a status symbol that incorporated various accessories that contributed to both appearances and comfort.

More than a century before anyone even conceived of producing and selling automobiles, coachmaker Adino Paddock deployed marketing strategies for selling carriages that eventually became staples of the modern automobile industry. An array of models, used carriages, trade-ins, and accessories all played a role in selling vehicles for personal transportation in the eighteenth century, just as they would continue to do when invention and technology made more advanced products available to consumers in subsequent centuries.

May 22

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago this week?

May 22 - 5:19:1768 Massachusetts Gazette
Massachusetts Gazette (May 19, 1768).

“Said Paddock will take second hand Chaises in part Pay for new.”

In the late 1760s Adino Paddock operated a workshop “Where the Coach and Chaisemaking Business is carried on in every Branch.” In other words, Paddock made, repaired, and sold all sorts of carriages to the residents of Boston and its hinterlands. He frequently promoted his enterprise by inserting advertisements in multiple newspapers published in the city. In addition to some of the usual appeals made by other artisans, especially appeals to price and quality, Paddock deployed additional marketing strategies that seem strikingly modern.

For instance, in the May 19, 1768, edition of the Massachusetts Gazette Paddock provided a brief overview of some of his inventory. Among the various carriages available, he had “A very good second-hand Coach, Curricle, and several Chaises, some almost new.” He anticipated a common practice in the modern automobile industry. Then, as now, not all consumers could afford or wished to invest in a new vehicle, so Paddock provided an alternate means for acquiring carriages. His “second-hand Coach” was the eighteenth-century equivalent of today’s used car. Also like modern dealerships, Paddock realized that prospective customers balanced the price of a “second-hand” carriage against its condition. What kind of wear and tear took place before it landed in the resale market? To address such concerns, he described “several Chaises” as “almost new.” He offered the best of both worlds to his customers: lower prices for slightly used vehicles still in excellent condition. Paddock also incorporated another innovative marketing strategy into his advertisements: the trade-in. He advised readers that he “will take second hand Chaises in part Pay for new.” He simultaneously made his carriages more affordable and replenished his inventory.

Used vehicles and trade-ins are very familiar to modern consumers who buy vehicles, but these practices did not originate with the automobile industry. Instead, they were already in use in the colonial period, long before automobiles had even been invented. Automobile manufacturers and dealerships eventually adopted marketing strategies that their precursor industry had developed much earlier.

June 24

What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Jun 24 - 6:23:1766 Boston Post-Boy
Boston Post-Boy (June 23, 1766).

“Said PADDOCK has always a Number of second-hand Chaises to dispose of.”

Coachmaker Adino Paddock made a variety of appeals intended to incite demand for his products and services among readers of the Boston Post-Boy. He promoted his own expertise and the care that went into overseeing everything produced in his workshop. He emphasized his prices (“cheaper than in any other Province on the Continent”) and the fine customer service he provided (“those who employ him may depend upon being served in the best Manner”).

In a separate paragraph, Paddock included two final offers that likely look very familiar to modern consumers, especially anyone who has ever purchased a car. Not unlike today, owning a means of transportation in the eighteenth century was expensive. Paddock, like modern car dealers, offered means for potential customers to purchase his wares while reducing the costs, thus making owning carriage a more achievable goal for a greater number of colonists. While Paddock still addressed a relatively small market, only a portion of colonial Bostonians, he did what he could to bring in as many customers as possible.

Paddock underscored that he “has always a Number of second-hand Chaises to dispose of, very cheap.” Today many consumers purchase used cars because they are a less expensive alternative to new cars. In selling “second-hand Chaises,” Paddock became the eighteenth-century equivalent of a used car dealer.

He also indicated that he “will take old Chaises as part of Pay for new.” Trading in a car to offset the price of a new one has long been a standard practice, but this advertisement suggests that it was not especially innovative in the twentieth century. For significant investments in vehicles for personal transportation, coachmakers like Adino Paddock already devised a trade in system more than a century before automobiles were invented.