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.