Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Landscape by Catherine Gudis

By Catherine Gudis

First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Landscape (Cultural Spaces)

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Nor were they the only people on the road. 22 By the middle of the 1920s, as automobile prices dropped, a secondhand market flourished, and installment buying became more common, automobile owners represented a wider cross-section of the urban and rural population. 23 One in 3 rural families owned a car, well below the urban average. The car made economic sense on the farm, as a tool of labor and as a way to access more marketplaces. Socially, it relieved the isolation of rural life. 24 Even in the years of deepest depression, the automobile remained a priority for many, including the unemployed.

50 Despite the romantic language, billposters had joined the ranks of industrial capitalism. By 1909, the organization took final steps to obliterate the ad-hoc practices of as-chance-may-have-it or unprotected postings. Members could post ads only on spaces that they owned or leased, and they were required to provide clients with contracts for “listed and protected showings,” a kind of proof of exactly where and for how long the advertiser’s posters would be displayed. No other posters could be assigned to that location.

When the journal began to report controversies within the association, especially the strongarm tactics of its leaders in reducing competition, and when it gave equal time to nonmembers and to the competing trade associations they were forming, the association severed ties. ’”56 Increasingly, it devoted less attention to billposting and more to show business. ” By the turn of the century, use of outdoor advertising grew, but so did advertising more generally, as a greater range of companies began to see its value.

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