Here are six postcards from a set published by Grand Rapids Furniture Record Co., copyright 1912. These cards were made to be sent by furniture retailers to their customers. The back of each postcard had a calendar for one month of 1913 and a timely advertising message. Below the advertising message was a space for printing the names and addresses of local furniture sellers.
The back of the January card states that that was the month when the buyers went to the great furniture markets. It was suggested to potential customers that with the holiday rush over, they could now buy whatever they might need.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, known as Furniture City, was the home of many furniture manufacturers and one of the major furniture markets. The boom years for the furniture industry in Grand Rapids were from approximately 1870 to 1930. The Grand Rapids Spectator published a list in 1922 of the numbers attending the January furniture market. The number of buyers had almost doubled in the few years preceding 1922. In 1913, there were 1226 buyers; in 1922, the number was 2150.
In March, the merchants wanted the customers to know that housecleaning wants were being anticipated and that the store had a spring stock of rugs in and “new everything.”
The verse on the front of the May postcard seems to be aimed at June brides planning their new home, while the back of the May card promoted porch furniture for the coming summer.
In September long evenings were coming and with them thoughts of comfort in the home, particularly in the library, den, and living room–and it wasn’t too early to begin thinking of stoves.
The October card featured furniture for “Milady’s Chamber.” The message on the back emphasized mattresses and beds, and pointed out that there was “a long winter to come.”
The December advertising message promoted furniture for gift giving because a furniture gift is seen and used daily. It was said to be a source of comfort, long lasting, a constant reminder, and never forgotten.
The Grand Rapids Furniture Record Company published a magazine, The Grand Rapids Furniture Record, with information and suggestions for furniture merchants. The July 1914 issue of The Grand Rapids Furniture Record, digitized online, began with an article titled “How to Write an Advertisement.” It is interesting and instructive to see how well the advertising messages on these postcards follow the tips given in that article. This is how the author summarized the article:
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