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