What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
“Staffordshire and Liverpool Warehouse, in Kingstreet, BOSTON.”
Ebenezer Bridgham continued his efforts to create a regional market for his “Staffordshire and Liverpool Warehouse” in Boston with an advertisement in the October 9, 1772, edition of the New-London Gazette. That advertisement featured copy identical to a notice in the October 2 edition of the New-Hampshire Gazette, though the compositors in the two printing offices made very different decisions about the format of the advertisements. Bridgham’s advertisement ran a second time in the New-Hampshire Gazette (less the headline announcing “Crockery Ware”) the same day that it first appeared in the New-London Gazette. He likely dispatched letters to the printing offices on the same day, but, given the distance, the New-London Gazette received its letter later and published his advertisement in the next edition after its arrival.
With advertisements in newspapers in Connecticut and New Hampshire in the fall of 1772, Bridgham continued a project that commenced more than a year earlier with advertisements in the Connecticut Courant, the Essex Gazette, and the Providence Gazette in September 1771. He added the New-London Gazette the next month. He placed a subsequent notice in the Connecticut Courant in June 1772, but he did not pursue the same coordinated campaign that he launched in the fall of 1771. Although his “Crockery Ware” advertisement appeared in both the New-London Gazette and the New-Hampshire Gazette in early October 1772, it did not run in the other newspapers at that time.
That may have been the result of Bridgham learning which advertisements in which newspapers generated orders from country shopkeepers and other customers … and which did not. His prior experience may have constituted a rudimentary form of market research that guided his decisions about where to focus his advertising efforts. Alternately, Bridgham may have been delinquent in submitting payment for his advertisements, causing printers not to run them until he settled his debts. His “Crockery Ware” advertisement eventually ran in Hartford’s Connecticut Courant on November 17. In February 1772, Ebenezer Watson, printer of the Connecticut Courant, inserted a notice that “No Advertisements will for the future be published in this paper, without the money is first paid.” The delay in publishing Bridgham’s “Crockery Ware” advertisement may have been due to waiting for payment. Beyond these possibilities, Bridgham may have been haphazard in submitting his “Crockery Ware” advertisement to various printing offices. If so, that deviated from the coordination he demonstrated in the fall of 1771.