The parliamentary newspaper, the Mercurius Politicus, for January 1652, contains an advertisement, probably the first published in England. The Advertisement Duty was repealed in 1853, by 16 & 17 Vic., c. 63.
An advertisement is defined as “the public notification of a fact.” As early as 1710 Addison devoted a number (224) of the Tatler to a review of the current advertisements of his time, their objects, their tendency, the ad captandum style in which they were drawn up and printed, “with little cuts and figures,” with which a provincial editor would scarcely disfigure his journal at present.
“As we read,” says a recent periodical writer, “in the old musty files of papers, those naïve announcements, the very hum of bygone generations seems to rise to the ear. The chapman exhibits his quaint wares, the mountebank capers again upon the stage, we have the living portrait of the highwayman flying from justice, we see the old china auction thronged with ladies of quality with their attendant negro boys, or those ‘by inch of candle-light’ forming many a Schalken-like picture of light and shade; or, later still we have Hogarthian sketches of the yougn bloods who swelled of old along Pall Mall. We trace the moving panorama of men and manners up to our own demonstrative but more earnest times, and these cabinet pictures are the very daguerrotypes cast by the age which they exhibit, not done for effect, but faithful reflections of those insignificant items of life and things, too small, it would seem, for the generalizing eye of the historian, however necessary to clothe and fill the dry bones of his history.”
A very interesting article on Advertising, Advertisers, and Advertising Mediums, will be found in “The New American Cyclopædia” (New York: Appletone and Co.), 1858, Vol. 1., p. 142.
The public notification of a fact, either in the coluns of the Press or by circular, handbill, placard, &c. Technically, however, advertisements are regarded as being paid announcements in newspapers and periodicals.
They are set up in two different styles—either “run on” or “displayed.” The London papers and most of the leading provincial papers confine themselves to the former style, on acount of the better appearance resulting from uniformity, and the greater expedition attained when a variety of type is avoided. The smaller papers and the magazines usually “display” their advertisements. A run-on advertisement consists of an initial letter of two-line titling, one single line of large type, and the rest of small type without any break, as in an ordinary paragraph. The displayed advertisement approaches to the style of a handbill, as various roman, antique, and ornamental types are used.
In setting up advertisements it should be remembered that at least one two-line latter must be used in each. They are divided from one another merely by a single cross-rule, the measure of the column.