1850-1899


1850
John Donnelly opened his outdoor advertising business in Boston.
1867
The first billboard spaces in the U.S. were leased. Leasing remains the standard practice for acquiring outdoor advertising space.
1870
Philip Tocker, onetime president of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, (OAAA), considered 1870 the line between ancient and modern outdoor advertising. This was the year in which the web fed printing press was perfected, which made possible poster printing limited only by the size of paper stock available. Other technological developments that occurred around 1870 include stereotyping, paper-folding machines and a new lithographic halftone printing process. Lithography replaced woodcuts as the primary poster printing technique.
1872
The International Bill Posters' Association of North America was formed by a meeting of 11 bill posters in St. Louis, Mo., on August 27. They created a charter for the organization and elected their first president, John D. Walker. The initial charter set out the ethical standards of the organization: to regulate a uniform scale of posting prices, and to act as a watchdog against the "malicious covering of bills." Their goal was to upgrade and establish uniform and fair policies for outdoor advertising. It was the first national advertising association in the U.S.
1875
Thomas Cusack, a sign painter, established his business in Chicago. The Thomas Cusack Company would become one of the prominent outdoor advertising businesses in the U.S.

The first state billposting association was formed in Michigan.
1877
At the Association convention in Pittsburgh, Pa., the International Bill Posters' Association of North America resolved to organize state associations. Later that year Ohio bill posters formed a state-wide association, but remained independent from the national Association. In 1878, however, the Ohio Bill Posters' Association agreed to work in harmony with the International Bill Posters' Association of North America.
1884
After the annual meeting of the International Bill Posters' Association of North America in Philadelphia, the association declined, and by 1888 it had disbanded. B.W. Robbins started the American Billposting Company, the forerunner of the General Outdoor Advertising Company.
1891
The Associated Bill Posters Association of United States and Canada (ABPA) was established to promote greater national recognition and understanding of the organized poster medium. The ABPA's constitution was influenced by that of its predecessor, the International Bill Posters' Association of North America. Edward A. Stahlbrodt of Rochester, N.Y. was elected as the Association's first president. The following year ABPA would be incorporated. The ABPA went through a number of name changes, becoming the Associated Bill Posters and Distributors Association (ABPD), and then the Poster Advertising Association (PAA). The ABPA's inaugural meeting marked the first national convention of outdoor advertising professionals.

During this period posters for theater revues and burlesque shows became increasingly lurid and provoked public criticisms of outdoor advertising in general. In response, around 1891 the national and state associations agreed to refuse to handle offensive "paper," a trade slang term for posters and handbills. It was the earliest recorded censorship exercised by an advertising medium over copyin the U.S., and marked the beginning of a long practice of self-regulation in the outdoor industry.
1894
Barney Link and William Fay started the American Billposting Company of Brooklyn (not to be confused with the American Billposting Company that B.W. Robbins began in 1890). Soon after that, American Billposting of Brooklyn merged with the T.J. Murphy Company to form the Brooklyn Poster Advertising Company, later named the New York Billposting Company.

The R.C. Maxwell Co. began in Trenton, N.J., where it would service the Middle Atlantic states until its sale in 2000.
1896
The Associated Bill Posters Association (ABPA) first published its official organ, The Bill Poster - A Monthly Journal Devoted to Outdoor Advertising - You Stick to Me and I will Stick to You.

The ABPA members began work toward establishing uniform structure standards.

On January 8, the Inter-State Bill Poster Protective Association was incorporated under Illinois law. In June its name changed to the International Bill Posting Association (IBPA). It competed with the ABPA for members, although its chief constituency was in the Midwest and among small-town posters.
1897
The Associated Bill Posters Association changed its name to the Associated Bill Posters of United States and Canada, and incorporated under New York law with James F. O'Mealia as president.

On May 10, the New York State Bill Posters' Association adopted a written policy of accountability to advertisers, whereby the posting company was required to maintain lists of all locations leased for the advertiser, and to maintain the posters in good order for the duration of the showing. It is believed that this was the first such policy drafted by a professional outdoor advertising organization.

In August a new journal, Display Advertising, made its debut. Published by Edward A. Stahlbrodt, it was dedicated to the various media that make up display advertising.
1898
Display Advertising and The Bill Poster merged to form a single journal dedicated to all aspects of outdoor advertising, called The Bill Poster and Display Advertising. The first issue appeared in May. It was now the official organ of the Associated Bill Posters of United States and Canada.
1898
The International Bill Posting Association (IBPA) collapsed following a defection of key leadership, along with its Illinois membership, to the Illinois state association. The following year the surviving members of the IBPA shifted their focus from bill posting to distribution, and renamed the organization the International Distributors Association of United States and Canada. It adopted The Bill Poster and Display Advertising as its official organ of publication, making that journal the major trade publication covering the entire outdoor advertising industry.
1899
The Association of American Advertisers, predecessor to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), was formed.


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