May 17

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

May 17 - 5:17:1766 Pennsylvania Journal
Pennsylvania Journal (May 17, 1766).

Hosier Daniel Mause made assertive claims about the value of purchasing stockings produced domestically. Note from the date of the advertisement (May 8) that Mause and other colonists certainly knew that the Stamp Act had been repealed; this advertisement was not a holdover reprinted from weeks or months earlier. That Mause considered it necessary or persuasive to insert an advertisement that so stridently promoted “the produce and manufacture of AMERICA only” suggests that even though the Stamp Act crisis was over the rift between the colonies and Britain had not closed completely. Mause eyed the parent country with suspicion and knew that others did as well.

It might be tempting to argue that Mause was merely being opportunistic and making whatever appeal was necessary in an attempt to increase business. Such an explanation by itself, however, remains unconvincing. Even if Mause did not firmly embrace the political ideas he pronounced in this advertisement, he certainly expected that they would resonate with readers. Mause’s politics and desire to make a living and earn a profit were not necessarily mutually exclusive. In addition, this advertisement depicts the anxieties other colonists felt and the solutions they embraced.

To help concerned consumers know where they could purchase his “PENNSYLVANIA MADE STOCKINGS” Mause informed them that they were available at “the sign of the Hand in Hand stocking manufactory” as well the store operated by “THOMAS BOND, jun. & Company.” In effect, he designated an approved vendor of his merchandise.