This advertising is classified

Classified “want ads” were invaluable when selling or seeking jobs and services, places to live, things to buy, announcements of births, marriages and deaths etc.

Looking for a job? An apartment?  Got something to sell? Want a used car or a new one? Need someone with special skills? Today you might search on Craigslist or Kijiji but in the decades before the internet you could find just about anything in the local newspaper’s classified ads—pages and pages of narrow columns filled with tiny type. The headlines weren’t much bigger but they identified groups or “classes” of advertisements.

Classified advertising as it appeared in newspapers
Listing of the classified columns in the newspapers

The 174 classifications in the Want Ad Index above include:

Articles for sale and wanted;  Barber and Hairdressing Schools; Camp sites and trailer parks; Catering and Receptions; Dramatic-Musical Talent; Dressmaking & Fur Repairs, Tailoring, Alterations, Storage; Fumigators and Exterminators; Horses, Livestock, Poultry Baby Chicks; Instruction, Dancing, Educational, Musical; Investment Props., Wtd., Prop.Management; Patents & Copyrights; Rooms to let; Ski Chalets for Rent & Wanted; Swaps & Barter.

Classified advertisements were sold by the word or by the line. The Star charged 75¢ a printed line, solid Agate type only. (An agate line is 1/14th of an inch.) The price per agate line dropped to 70¢ when the ad ran for 3 consecutive days and to 65¢ per line when it ran for 6 consecutive days.

These rates wer charged for the normal text advertisements. Larger classified advertisements—called “Classified Display”— were sold by the space used. They were distinguished by larger type, logos and borders that could set them apart from other advertisers. (See the illustration at the top of the page.) The larger display type was very limited.

Sometimes the newspaper allowed the advertiser to cancel the advertisement early if the result was favourable, the job was filled or the used car was sold.

Used Car ads filled pages of the classified section

The special rules, the Automobile Advertising Standards and Principles,  for Used Car ads were “intended to increase the acceptance and believability of automobile advertising”

Hundreds  of classified ads collected by researcher and writer Sara Bader are published in her book Strange Red Cow: and other curious classified ads from the past.

Ms. Bader was interviewed on National Public Radio in 2005. Listen to the interview or read the transcript HERE