What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
“He intends for Annapolis … with a neat Assortment of Fire Dogs.”
In the summer of 1772, Daniel King, a brass founder, attempted to incite anticipation for his wares among consumers in Annapolis. He had a workshop “At the Sign of the Bell and Brand, in … Philadelphia,” but did not run his operation solely from that location. Instead, he announced his intention to visit Annapolis in late July or early August. In an advertisement in the July 23 edition of the Maryland Gazette, he informed prospective customers that they could find him “at Mr. John Warren’s Tavern in Annapolis, where Orders will be received and punctually complied with.”
King hoped to encounter customers eagerly awaiting his arrival in Annapolis. To increase the chances of that happening, he described his “neat Assortment of Brass Fire Dogs and Fenders, Fire Shovels and Tongs, and Chimney Backs.” He confidently asserted that the items produced in his workshop “are neater and more to Order than any yet made on the Continent,” including those made by any competitors in Annapolis. In addition, he considered his brass andirons “equal in Strength to any Iron Fire Dogs, and much easier kept clean.”
Like many artisans who advertised in colonial newspapers, King emphasized his training and experience in England prior to migrating across the Atlantic. He declared that he “served his Apprenticeship in London, and worked in some of the best Shops in England.” As a result, he produced andirons, shovels, tongs, and other items of the same quality and low prices as imported alternatives. The brass founder stated that his consumers would derive “as much Satisfaction” from items form his workshop as any imported from England.
King and his andirons were likely both unfamiliar to “the Ladies and Gentlemen of Maryland” that he wished to attract as customers during an upcoming trip from his workshop in Philadelphia. He sought to stoke anticipation for his arrival by convincing prospective customers that his wares were superior to any others, whether imported or made in the colonies. He hoped that readers of the Maryland Gazette would at least visit Warren’s Tavern to examine his wares and compare them to others that merchants, shopkeepers, and artisans made available in Annapolis, giving him an opportunity to engage prospective customers in conversation and make his appeals in greater detail.