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June 27, 2020

30 Amazing Vintage Portraits of Advertising Banner Women From the 19th Century

So-called ‘Banner Women’ were a common way of advertising one’s business in the late 19th century.

During the 1870s, a peculiar advertising photographic pictorial was devised featuring women holding signs heralding businesses, their dresses and bodies decorated with life-size objects related to the business.

Shops and companies would drape women in their wares and have them pose up for photographs. This could see women wear everything from pretzels to horseshoes and lightbulbs on their dresses. Others can be seen wearing funnels and miniature chairs on their heads or even a specially made ‘bread hat’.

The Banner ladies remained a mainstream advertising trend from the 1870s until the 1890s. With the introduction of real photo postcards in the early 20th century, these human billboards of yesteryear fell out of favor. But they serve as a reminder of the innovative ways business advertised their products before modern technology over a century ago.




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