the rise of mass communication. The advent of the telegraph in 1844 set about a communication revolution. Rapid communication engendered a sense of national community in that each portion of the country could simultaneously share momentous events (wars, discoveries, deaths etc.). Also the rise of mass circulation magazines now distributed nationwide through the railroads allowed for a type of democratization of information in that products previously unavailable to the masses were now available across the social spectrum. Mass media in the US for the most part was advertising supported (i.e. TV networks, radios, newspapers and magazines) and these media did not exist solely to entertain or inform, but rather to make a profit from the sale of advertising.
The Loose periods of advertising development:
Though advertising did not flourish before industrialization and the creation of concentrated urban markets, it still existed in a variety of forms. Babylonian clay tablets from 3000 B.C. were inscribed with messages from an ointment dealer, a scribe and a shoemaker. An ancient papyrus from Thebes represented Egyptian advertising. The Greeks used town criers to chant the arrival of ships and often accompanied them with musicians. Pompeian ruins revealed painted wall signs, an early form of outdoor advertising.
An important development in the 1700s was the appearance of the printed handbill for distribution. These were printed on engraved wood or copper and were used to announce the availability of products.
Gutenberg’s printing press (1438) really began the era of mass communication in that now printed materials could be mass produced whereas prior to the printing press, books and other printed materials had to be made individually. A Londoner printed the first English newspaper in 1622 and the first ad appeared in 1625. Early advertising messages tended to be informational in nature and appeared on the last pages of the tabloid. The Boston News Letter is said to be the first American newspaper with advertising. Two notices were printed in 1704 offering rewards for the return of merchandise stolen from an apparel shop and wharf.
The Mass Communication Era
From the 1700s through the early 1900s, this era traces the growth of industrialization in America during which the economy boomed and advertising helped to establish a marketing system. With the railroads connecting the country, the circulation of dailies, as newspapers were called, was estimated at one million copies per day. The population doubled from 1870 through 1900 providing an expanded labor force and a new consumer market – the middle class. This growing class was spawned by the economic windfall of regular wages from factory jobs. New modes of communication technology (i.e. telegraph, typewriter, Mergenthaler linotype [automated typesetting] and faster printing presses) increased communication capabilities. Modern magazines developed during the end of the nineteenth century aided by railroad distribution and illiteracy was reduced. Finally, the development of radio, television and the internet also fall within this period.