Victorian London - Advertising - Sandwich Men


A practice has lately sprung up among advertisers of sending out persons "made up" in such a style as to represent the article it is intended to advertise. We have seen a series of men converted into gigantic hats, and we have observed other contrivances of equal ingenuity. We think, however, the principle might be still further carried out  . . . 

Punch, Jan.-Jun. 1846

    THE law says very properly, that no-one shall obstruct the public thoroughfare; and it is calculated that no less than five hundred ship-loads of oranges pass through the hands of the police every year, in consequence of contumacious ~barrow or basket-women blocking up the footway, while the same fate attends upon no less than fifty entire beds of oysters, that have prevented an opening for the general street traffic. 
    When we wend our weary way along the streets of London, though we confess it is sometimes unpleasant to find ourselves solicited by a long chain of basket-women entreating us to purchase their "sweet Chainey oranges," we must say that the real enemies to progress are the advertising machines, both human and bestial, as well as mechanical. What with Panoramas and Paletôts, Dioramas and Balloons, Registered Shirts, and Monster Concerts, there is no getting along the principal metropolitan thoroughfares without being reminded by some over-whelming van that all is vanity.
    The other day we were completely blockaded between an enormous invitation to the Cremorne Elysium, and a polite request, in letters six feet long, to go and provide ourselves with six shirts for forty shillings. We had just turned round, in the hope of finding a loophole or a gusset to get out of the shirts when we found ourselves hemmed in, and regularly stitched to the spot by a bold black letter assertion, that the word paletôt, though "assumed by all" is the exclusive property of H., J., W., and D., - somebody or other who aspire at the West-end to the mantle of Moses. If some of the real obstructions who barricade the streets, with their monster advertising vans, were to be walked off to the Green Yard, the effect would be to give a freer circulation to the air as well as to the passages.

Punch, Jul.-Dec. 1850

see also Charles Manby Smith in Curiosities of London - click here  

see also Thomson & Smith's Street Life in London - click here

see also Montague Williams in Round London - click here