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Gallery of Past Tech (and Other) Advertising

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the masters-of-persuasion dept.

Businesses 55

theodp writes "The Vintage Ad Browser takes you back to the days when Google conjured up images of Barney Google (1948). When the hip music player was a Walkman (1982). When Osborne meant state-of-the-art in computing (1982). When Big Picture TV meant 12" (1948). When compact camera referred to a Pocket Instamatic (1972). And when wireless meant getting phone calls 300 feet from the house (1982)."

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55 comments

If only people did what the ad told them to do... (1, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712316)

I have a personal favorite for an ad that makes no sense today and has to make you wondering what the people back then were thinking. I give you.... The Ode to Why [lmgtfy.com] .

Re:If only people did what the ad told them to do. (2, Interesting)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712654)

Enron was thinking "I hope this makes people buy our stock!"

From what I remember a lot of the ads from the dot-com bubble era would leave you scratching your head wondering what the company was selling, I guess its obvious now, soon to be worthless stock.

Re:If only people did what the ad told them to do. (1)

himitsu (634571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714728)

Does lmgtfy.com require enabling JavaScript to do anything useful?

Re:If only people did what the ad told them to do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716006)

Was Why? the question that destroyed a computer in Star Trek? (Possibly The Prisoner ) Anyways no wonder Enron failed.

Re:If only people did what the ad told them to do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30720546)

The Prisoner (ep. "The General").

On your marks, get slashdotted, go! (0, Offtopic)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712346)

Slashdot is giving an image-heavy site a fighting chance by posting another story 2 minutes earlier... but will it be enough to survive the slashdot effect?

Re:On your marks, get slashdotted, go! (3, Interesting)

j_philipp (803945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712800)

As the creator of the site, I'm hoping for the best :) For what it's worth, I'm using Amazon S3 for the storage of the images (which needs to be paid by bandwidth, admittedly, so I'll have to watch my costs closely), and due to caching there should be no database connections on any ad page once it has been viewed for a first time (unless I iterate the version of the site or clear the cache... never before searched queries do cause database connections, naturally). But none of this guarantess uptime during slashdotting... again I can just hope for the best!

Re:On your marks, get slashdotted, go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30713388)

Awesome site. I just spent 2 solid hours on there. So far my favorite is the United Airlines "Old Maid" ad from 1966.

Re:On your marks, get slashdotted, go! (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716208)

Glad you made it. The really old stuff from the 1800s and before is fascinating. The one thing I wish you'd add is an ability to browse by date, without regard to subject, for those of us more interested in the when than the what. :)

First one I followed back to the source was from the Duke University collection, so the accusation of being a glorified sidewalk sale is out of line. Seems to be any source, anywhere. So I think this will be a good resource both for research and for collectors.

And it sure is interesting (and a bit disconcerting; what does it say about the audience?!) to watch the shift from ads being informative (at least, the information you needed to be convinced to buy) to glorified powerpoint slides like so many are in the present!

Re:On your marks, get slashdotted, go! (1)

j_philipp (803945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30719986)

Thanks for this feedback Reziac. A just-sorted-by-date section does make some sense, I will ponder what is feasible here in terms of navigation (one prototype of the site had a specially colored "Misc." section but I was not yet completely happy with it). Pls note you can already search by year (e.g. [1923], or in combo with a keyword) and you can search by decade by entering e.g. [1920s] or [1930s], and then page through the first 1,000 results.

And you're right, sources are included independent of whether an ad can be bought from there (and if there's a buy link there, it will be independent of whether or not I have an affiliate account with the site... I consider it useful). This is a museum and gallery site that's meant to be enjoyed by people and to be useful, and everything else is secondary to that goal. As you might expect I will run into problems if server costs are making me bankrupt, but other than that, I'm happy if I just cover server costs (if more, I'm very happy too of course, but not in a way that clutters the site or anything).

Re:On your marks, get slashdotted, go! (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30720674)

Ah, you should probably put somewhere we'll see it that you can also search by year or decade, that would cover it adequately I think.

I decided after some wandering around that I like the various tagging links found below each image. Tho I think you need a "key" on the About or FAQ page or wherever you keep such stuff -- at first I was baffled as to what "via" meant! Oh, it means source. D'oh!

I do like the plain and simple interface. No distractions, no damned flash to argue with, just images to gawk at.

BTW thanks to your site I found an ad for a first cousin of my 1950-vintage electric range :)

knee jerk... Slashvertisement!!! (0, Redundant)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712358)

I've only skimmed the summary, but this is obviously just a bunch of ads. I only want to read about geeky products that don't cost anything!!!!1

Re:knee jerk... Slashvertisement!!! (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712362)

Stop kicking me. All these tech products are long discontinued.

Re:knee jerk... Slashvertisement!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30712414)

Whoosh!

Re:knee jerk... Slashvertisement!!! (1)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712552)

Wrong, the real ad is that the site links most of the ads to where you can buy the real ad on his ebay site. My boss at my day job bought a bunch of these and posted them around the room. Interesting, but at the same time, embarrassing to have posted around.

At least they left out the goggles (1)

bguiz (1627491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712410)

Oh wait, no they didn't [vintageadbrowser.com] !

...and things have gone downhill from there [fashiontrendsetter.com] too.

Re:At least they left out the goggles (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712780)

Hey! Careful there, buddy - Paris wears them. If *Paris* is wrong, I don't want to know what "right" is!

You can't read the ads, just buy them (4, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712448)

How useless. I went to the site, found an ad that seemed interesting and clicked on it. Nothing. No, I couldn't zoom in to be able to read the text. The only link is to ebay so I can buy it from the site owner. This is just one big stupid catalog of ebay sales.

I am just about to put up some stuff on ebay to sell - I must remember to post the "story" here.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (3, Informative)

j_philipp (803945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712814)

I'm aware that unfortunately not all images have zooms going with them. Just some do, when you see the magnifying glass below them.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712834)

I don't know, some of it is pretty cool. When I saw this one [vintageadbrowser.com] , I was reminded that once RCA was a pretty cool company.

Note to self: if you ever own a failing technology company, it's better to close up and try again than sell out.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712852)

I'd like to expand on that: I had an RCA VCR from 1988 that didn't give out until 2005, and that with fairly regular use. Its replacement didn't last three years. Sometimes when they say, "They don't make things like they used to" they are right, although the old VCR did cost a bit more.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (2, Funny)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713456)

I had an RCA VCR from 1988 that didn't give out until 2005, and that with fairly regular use.

Since I used to sell them, I can break it to you - they were made by Matsushita.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716154)

Did Matsushita make all RCA's old stuff? It did seem to be fairly durable, back-when.

I'm fairly biased toward their Panasonic brand myself -- mainly because it's durable. All my older still-working electronics are Panasonic; I've had some last over 30 years.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713142)

And if the thing had a decent search engine, or some kind commentary on organization, it would be worthwhile.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (2, Informative)

j_philipp (803945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713166)

There is a search engine, could you tell me what you searched for that didn't yield good hits? Maybe this can be optimized.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716192)

I didn't say there wasn't a search engine, I said there wasn't a decent one. The one they have just does string matching against descriptions. So if you search for ads that contain the word "hat" you get every ad that contains the word "that".

A decent search engine would understand keywords and stemming.

Yeah, I found some interesting stuff. I also had to sort through a lot of crap. Unless you're writing a term paper on the history of advertising, the site ceases to be interesting after a few minutes.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (1)

j_philipp (803945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30719998)

So if you search for ads that contain the word "hat" you get every ad that contains the word "that".

Very valid point. I will put this on my todo list to figure out.

Re:You can't read the ads, just buy them (2, Interesting)

Warphammer (610896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713666)

RCA was also bizarrely good at dropping the ball on technologies they had. RCA's Lancaster, PA plant made picture and TV camera tubes. My dad told me they had engineers come to the local ham radio club in the 70's and show off this tiny (for the time) CCD-based video camera they'd come up with, showing how it could take pictures by candlelight. If they'd commercialized that quickly, they could have extended their dominance of the TV station camera market into the 80's. The same plant was also home to the research group that commercialized the heat pipe concept, which was discarded by them, then bought out by the engineers involved and turned into a company that's still going today. They even had a very workable VCR prototype in the early-mid 70's that they dropped as 'too expensive' rather than try to develop into something affordable. That decision alone, if they'd controlled the US videotape format, could've let us have RCA around as a real company today.

Young Bill Gates Says... (3, Funny)

theodp (442580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712556)

"Next to my software, nothing's more user friendly than the Wall Street Journal." [vintageadbrowser.com] Undated, but obviously pre-Vista. :-)

Re:Young Bill Gates Says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715962)

"I think it leads to better management decisions." (emphasis mine)

The good old days of the 486 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30712562)

And when Windows 95 was top of the line.

This takes me back.... (1, Offtopic)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713132)

Remember when the 'Slashdot' mean 'News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters.'? Ah, those were the good ol' days.

If you need a serious computer... (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713274)

Check out this advertisement and order your own amazing Intel 8080 powered "Interact" machine for your home.

http://picasaweb.google.com/eric.hawthorne/Ad#5425016782063717746 [google.com]

Re:If you need a serious computer... (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713494)

The oldest I remember without help were $2000 286's.

Re:If you need a serious computer... (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714548)

>by Suki I (1546431)
>The oldest I remember without help were $2000 286's.


Given your 1.5 megapixel UID, I'm surprised that you are aware of anything before Windows 95. ;^)

Wireless (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713490)

And when wireless meant getting phone calls 300 feet from the house (1982). If you go back a little farther wireless was any radio. Think Marconi, 1920s [stonevintageradio.com] . Got the nickname from being a "wireless" telegraph system.

Abrupt change in the 1980's (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714066)

After 1980, the amount of text plummets considerably. Even the wordy ones typically only have half a column of text. I wonder what caused this shift.

Re:Abrupt change in the 1980's (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714538)

Same thing that causes every shift in advertising techniques. Some intrepid soul tried it, it worked, everyone else copied it. Most likely correlated with a significant downturn in publishing costs for images due to technological advances, although I'm too lazy to figure that out for sure.

I actually prefer the snazzy images with no text for advertising purposes. Reading a bunch of words with no purpose other than extracting my money wastes far too much of my time. Tickle my visual cortex please!

Ah, Osborne 1 memories! (1)

bonze (1578437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714126)

I bought an Osborne 1 when they first came out... what an amazing deal! To quote Wiki, the bundled software "... had a retail value of more than US$2000." Both WordStar and SuperCalc were excellent applications... The screen refresh was amazingly fast for its time, since it was memory-mapped.

The small screen sucked, but you could buy a Mondapt to use a larger monitor, though you still had to scroll horizontally to see a full 80-character row on the 52 column display. The keyboard sucked... but I hacked a replacement out of a high-quality keyboard I picked up for $20 at Rad-Tronics (which gave me a much better keyboard than I could get with my 128K Mac, which caused me to develop RMS.) After buying a $1,200 dollar 40cps TEC daisywheel printer I was in the word processing business, and produced a number of graduate theses and dissertations with that system...

And the thesis editor at Cornell loved the quality of the product...

I affixed a slogan to my Osborne 1: "Ideolatry is the bane of perception".

Ah, kids these days... just don't appreciate what can be done with a 4MHz Z80 and 64KB RAM! GET OFF MY LAWN!

Re:Ah, Osborne 1 memories! (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714706)

... which caused me to develop RMS

Gee, I am very sorry [stallman.org] about your affliction.

Re:Ah, Osborne 1 memories! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716252)

Try shaving it daily.

Only 300 Feet? (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714896)

I remember those wireless phones? We had an AT&T model back in 1984. It was on a frequency of 149mHz and it had a MUCH longer range than a mere 300 feet. Dad forgot he had it in his back pocket -he was wearing loose shorts with BIG pockets-while working in the garden and drove over to the local firehouse for a beer. (It was 84', you could do things like that back then. LOL! The vending machines had Budweiser.)

Anyway, he was chatting when the phone rang and he answered it. Blah-blah, blah-blah, hung up. Everyone in the place was like, "What is THAT?!", and Dad's showing it off, explaining he forgot it was in his pocket.

The thing is, the firehouse was about a mile away, probably 3/4 of a mile as the crow flies, and had houses and trees in the way. So yeah, it got a LOT farther than 300 feet.

Oh yes, on a side note, a friend of my father, Mr. Kluge, the old high school shop teacher, gave me an ancient HAM radio receiver to play with. It was heavy, it shocked the crap out of you if you touched the corners, and it was fascinating to play with. I set it up in the basement and hooked the antenna leads to the water pipes.

And proceeded to listen to all the drug deals, stock trades and mafia business being conducted from the beach houses in the Hamptons. Seems they all had wireless phones too, and as in the manner of all people who use technology they don't understand, they had NO idea they were being eavesdropped upon.

Missing: Hopper's Univac Stand-Ins + ENIAC (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30720658)

Not among them is an ad for Univac which Grace Hopper told a story about. When the photo for the ad was to be taken, two guys in lab coats were brought in, the women who ran the machine were ushered out, and the photo taken with the two stand-ins. Went looking, but couldn't find it.

What I did find was something even more galling. The original ENIAC programming crew was six women. After its introduction the engineers, managers and even sales people (all men) became well known. The programmers were ignored. 40 years later Kathy Kleiman, a programmer herself who had been learning about the ENIAC team, was told that the women appearing in the photos were 'refrigerator ladies', models hired to stand in front of the machines. Having interviewed the ENIAC programmers still alive, she knew them to be women on the team. She and the remaining ENIAC prorasmmer4s are trying to raise money to produce a documentary on the subject: http://eniacprogrammers.org/ [eniacprogrammers.org]

Re:Missing: Hopper's Univac Stand-Ins + ENIAC (1)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30721046)

Not among them is an ad for Univac which Grace Hopper told a story about. When the photo for the ad was to be taken, two guys in lab coats were brought in, the women who ran the machine were ushered out, and the photo taken with the two stand-ins. Went looking, but couldn't find it.

What I did find was something even more galling. The original ENIAC programming crew was six women. After its introduction the engineers, managers and even sales people (all men) became well known. The programmers were ignored. 40 years later Kathy Kleiman, a programmer herself who had been learning about the ENIAC team, was told that the women appearing in the photos were 'refrigerator ladies', models hired to stand in front of the machines. Having interviewed the ENIAC programmers still alive, she knew them to be women on the team. She and the remaining ENIAC prorasmmer4s are trying to raise money to produce a documentary on the subject: http://eniacprogrammers.org/ [eniacprogrammers.org]

I love the pumping sensation. I love valves and the noise, I also love Bletchly Park, and I am the Enigma but speaking about it makes me feel like Dr Who!

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