Advertising Poster, "Ben-Hur Flour is For Sale in This Town," circa 1910

Summary

In the late nineteenth century, printers developed a lithograph method that produced brightly colored posters. Manufacturers quickly adopted the new poster style to advertise their products. The Royal Milling Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Great Falls, Montana, had this advertising poster made in the early 1900s. They chose the Ben-Hur brand name because the story was a popular theatrical drama.

In the late nineteenth century, printers developed a lithograph method that produced brightly colored posters. Manufacturers quickly adopted the new poster style to advertise their products. The Royal Milling Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Great Falls, Montana, had this advertising poster made in the early 1900s. They chose the Ben-Hur brand name because the story was a popular theatrical drama.

In the late nineteenth century, printers developed a lithograph method that produced brightly colored posters. Manufacturers and other businesses quickly adopted the new poster style to advertise their products. The posters were glued to building walls, fences, and hung in store displays where they readily attracted the attention of passersby.

Companies hired printers who worked with artists to create art that would advertise the products. In the early years, the point of the artwork was to gain notice rather than illustrate the product. By the early twentieth century, the design began to reflect a direct connection to the merchandise advertised. Although most of the artists are unknown today, these posters reflected popular American taste from the 1870s through the 1920s.

Over a century ago, changes were taking place in America that made national selling of products advantageous and manufacturers sought to capture attention with catchy brand names and appealing images. Changes in milling of wheat lengthened the shelf life so storekeepers far from the original flourmill were sure to have a good product to sell and the extensive railroad system allowed rapid and consistent delivery.

The Royal Milling Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Great Falls, Montana, had this colorful poster made for outdoor advertising in towns across America in the early 1900s. At this time, Ben-Hur was a popular motif because the theatrical producers Klaw & Erlanger made a play in 1899 based on the best-selling American novel written by Lew Wallace in 1880. The team of racing horses coming toward the viewer gives a sense of adventure meant to attract the attention of potential buyers walking along a town's street.

Detailed Description
Artifact

Poster

Date Made

circa 1910

Creators

Russell-Morgan & Company 

U.S. Lithograph Co. 

Place of Creation

United States, Ohio, Cincinnati 

United States, New York, New York 

Creator Notes

Created and copyright by The U.S. Lithograph Company, Russell-Morgan & Company Print, Cincinnati, Ohio & New York, New York.

Collection Title

Poster Collection 

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

33.388.5

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Paper (Fiber product)
Linen (Material)

Technique

Lithography

Color

Multicolored

Dimensions

Height: 41 in

Width: 28.25 in

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