Moments in Memory: From elixirs to cars, newspaper has been home to bold advertising over the years

Moments in Memory: From elixirs to cars, newspaper has been home to bold advertising over the years

September 7th, 2019 by Davis Lundy in Local Regional News
The first full edition of the Chattanooga Daily Times, published on Sept. 8, 1875, by Adolph Ochs, featured plenty of advertisements.

The first full edition of the Chattanooga Daily...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The first time a full edition of a newspaper published on Sept. 8 in Chattanooga occurred in 1875, six years after Adolph Ochs began publishing the morning newspaper. The front page doesn't say how much the Daily Times cost, but Chattanoogans could get weekly delivery for 3 cents day; daily delivery for a year cost $0.02 per day.

The newspaper that day featured something no one alive likely has ever seen: one-third of the front page was advertisements.

The first advertisement published in a newspaper was in 1704 in the Boston News-Letter, according to Ad Age. It began a partnership that has lasted for more than three centuries, and advertising in the early years in Chattanooga looks nothing like today's newspaper.

On Sept. 8, 1875, the Daily Times was four pages with a six-column format. The far right two columns of the front page featured advertising from top to bottom. The seven, two-column ads were stacked on top of each other. There were no pictures or sketches, only type.

There was a boots and shoe store, a hardware store and a lumber company. Second from the bottom was an announcement that D.B. Loveman Bro. was the new proprietor of "The New Orleans Store."

The advertisement said the new owners were "fully determined to uphold, and if possible, to increase the reputation of The New Orleans Store as being the cheapest dry good house" in Chattanooga.

D.B. and Herman Loveman would build Chattanooga's first department store bearing their name in 1885, and Loveman's would be an advertising staple for the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga News-Free Press for 103 years until it was sold in 1988.

Paid advertising consumed four columns of Page 2 and three columns of Page 3, but the ads began to include more out-of-town companies like Lord & Taylor out of New York, legal notices and a few that would be called classified ads. By Page 4, the advertising content of the ads took a different tone.

"Are You Bald," headlined one of three advertisements from "D.T. Clippinger, Druggist, 235 Market Street, Agent," promoting "Dr. J. Newton Smith's Hair Restorative" available for $1 a bottle or six bottles for $5.

His second advertisement hawked a new book to help women with a list of ailments. "In these modern times there is entirely too much grunting and complaining among females." His answer: "If thus afflicted, procure Dr. Dromgoole's 'English Female Bitters.' It will cure you sound and well. It is the great and only female regulator of the age." A reader could get a copy by sending 3 cents to a Louisville, Kentucky, address.

The third advertisement said, "Chills Cure or Money Refunded." Druggist Clippinger said, "We positively assert that 'Days Ague Tonic' will never fail to cure Chills or Ague and Fever. It does not contain Arsenic, Stychnine or any other poison, it is pleasant to the taste, and operates finely upon the liver and bowels without the use of other medicine." Cost: $1 a bottle.

"OPIUM" headlined part of a full column of ads from Dr. G. Edgar Lotbrepp. "The alarming increase of the use of this most pernicious drug as a stimulant, by male and female, and its peculiar effects, completely destroying the digestive apparatus and shuttering the nervous system, effeminating and debasing the mind."

Dr. Lotbrepp recommended "Cordial Balm of Syricum and Tonic Pills." The pills, he said, were "of inestimable value, and it completely destroys all desire for this most baneful drug." He offered a free office visit for those Chattanoogans willing to travel.

He concluded his advertisement with "Dr. G. Edgar Lotbrepp, Proprietor, may be confidentially consulted by mail or otherwise free of charge at this office, 143 Court St., Boston, Mass."

Advertisements were gone from the front page in the Sept. 8, 1900, edition of the Chattanooga Daily Times (5 cents). The newspaper had changed to an eight-column format and advertising accounted for about 60% of the eight-page newspaper. Established retailers and wholesalers in the city used the paper for advertising, but it still maintained its share of concerns for the citizens and their health.

L.J. Sharpe & Co. billed itself as "CHATTANOOGA'S LEADER IN THEIR LINE." The company featured "liver and undertaking," meaning it would board your horse or bury the dead.

"Santal-Midy," a product to "arrest discharges from the urinary organs" for up to 48 hours was featured in a small ad at the bottom of Page 3.

Then there was J. Newton Hathaway, M.D. The headline on his ad read, "IN ORDER TO BE CURED." It challenged the men of the times. "What Must You Do? You Cannot Cure Yourself, and Nature Will Not Cure You. Are you the Man to Whom This is Written? If So, You Will Know What to Do."

Dr. Hathaway spent four long paragraphs explaining a laundry list of diseases men were fighting. "Other doctors send me their 'hopeless' cases, knowing that I never fail in any case which I undertake." The doctor offered a free office visit in Nashville and a free copy of his new, 64-page book, "Manliness, Vigor, Health."

In the middle of Page 3 was an advertisement from T.H. Payne & Co., 823 Market St., promoting wallpaper, picture frames, stationary and books. The company was established by Thomas Payne and Zeboim C. Patten in 1865. Payne eventually became the sole owner and the business operated under the family name until it was sold in 1996. The retailer was another staple of the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga News-Free Press.

Right next to the advertisement of the well-known Chattanooga business was this small, one-column advertisement:

"Scatch, Scratch, Scratch –

Day and Night – Awful Torture – Itching Piles.

Doan's Ointment Will Cure."

By Sept. 8, 1925, the Daily Times (3 cents in Chattanooga; 5 cents on trains) had expanded to 12 pages, including two full pages of sports. Advertisers started running larger display ads with line drawings, and the paper included one ad with three line drawings that covered two-thirds of a page.

A new addition was a full page of classified ads on Page 10.

"Friends are not bought or sold in The Times' classified columns – but staunch friends are made through the fair, square and honest dealings of advertisers," was the newspaper's message in the middle off the page. The one-time rate was 12 cents a line.

Rice Bros. Auto Company offered a 1919 Ford touring car for $50, and a 1924 Chevrolet coupe with new tires for $450. The dealer added, "For the next few days we would take some first-class real estate notes as part of full payment."

Another simply said: "FOR SALE – Highland Park – My Home. 1915 Chamberlain Ave. Margaret Dunlap."

An employment classified: "MAN cook, white preferred, for restaurant in Spring City."

Under "Household Furnishings:" Kitchen cabinet, $15; hall tree with mirror, $8; 5 chairs with rocker, $10; advance heater, $15; washstand, $1.50; fruit jars, 50 cents per doz.; table, $1; bed, complete, $5; canned peaches, 25 cents a qt."

In the property for sale section, this appeared: "Colored Investment Property. Two-story apartment, showing attractive return on investment; located in city on east side. Price: $11,000; terms can be arranged."

Contact Davis Lundy at davislundy@aol.com.