Posted 10 years ago
Tis the holiday season, so why not show Santa appearing in an 1880s camera advertisement. The seasonal ad shown here - "Grandfather Sitting for His Picture" - is for a wood and brass camera called the "Marvel" made by Franklin Putnam. What's interesting is that grandfather is dressed up as Santa complete with a bag of toys at his side.
Although the camera was actually manufactured by another American firm (Scovill), Putnam's approach to selling cameras was novel for the time.
Putnam's marketing advocated amateurs making money with their Marvel camera as shown in the brochure scans (3rd and 4th images). This theme also appeared in the Santa ad: "Make your boy a Present, and teach him a Useful Trade." Complete outfits were created so that anyone could make money.