Streetcar Advertising in America

Woodson J. Savage

See how many of the products and brands we enjoy today got established via streetcar advertising almost 100 years ago. Over 250 of these colorful advertising cards are featured.
Date Published :
March 2016
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
Full Color throughout
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781625450401
Pages : 160
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : In stock


You might be surprised to learn that many of the consumer brands and products we enjoy today exist because of streetcar advertising. The Industrial Revolution of the early 1900’s and a massive consumer audience riding over 50,000 streetcars in nearly 3,000 cities and towns in every state of the union provided a great opportunity for Barron Collier, a native of Memphis, Tennessee. He simply used streetcar advertising to bring these two forces together and created the largest streetcar advertising empire in the world. By age twenty-six, he was a millionaire and at one time had business offices in 70 cities with business interests in more than a thousand cities. Most of these advertising cards have remarkable color graphics; over 250 of them are included in this book for your viewing pleasure. While streetcar advertising is definitely not a major advertising medium today, the advertising community might be surprised to learn that the basic principles of consumer advertising have not changed that much in the last one hundred years. Investors might do well to review this book to see which companies are still producing these popular products and brands as they represent some of the most successful businesses in America today.

About The Author

The author, a native of West Tennessee, has collected advertising signs and related items for over 40 years. His recent attraction to cardboard streetcar advertising signs was a result of their superb graphics and his fascination with the history associated with the creation and use of these cards as well as with the companies, products, and services offered. The restoration of these cards and the discovery that Barron Collier, a fellow Memphian born in 1873, became the Father of Streetcar Advertising in America only made his interest in this hobby more gratifying.


"As a longtime trolley museum motorman, I have often observed the interest our passengers show in the vintage interior advertisements above the windows, the car cards. Now there’s a book on the history of car cards that fills a gap in the literature. Woodson Savage has been collecting car cards and researching their history...After relating the history of car cards, the majority of the book is devoted to a colorful gallery of the cards themselves. The color and reproduction on coated paper are excellent. Most of them are national brands, many of which survive today. The galleries are divided into product types, with histories of these ad campaigns. Savage’s personal collection can be viewed online at Savage. Savage has joined the Western Railway Museum, and is working with them to catalog and scan their 900-card collection....the book is well produced, fun to browse through and may deserve a place in your museum store."

- The Magazine of ATRRM

"A fascinating book which provided and insight into the emergence of modern America in the early part of the 20th century, as much as anything else... Color reproduction in the book is to an excellent standard and quite rightly so because its the adverts themselves that tell their own story."

- Coach & Bus Week.

"tells the remarkable story of Barron Collier, talks about the history of streetcar advertising, and also contains pages and pages of eye-catching examples of the best advertising of the day. The cover alone just gives you a hint of the colorful treasures on display inside... It's a fine book, and you'll enjoy it."

- Memphis: The City Magazine

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