Back in 2018, Paul posted about an "advertising chair" patented in 1910
. As a person rocked in it, advertisements scrolled in the armrests.
Patent No. 958,793 (1910)
I recently discovered that this invention wasn't a one-off. In the early twentieth century, inventors were actively competing to perfect advertising chairs and inflict them on the public. I was able to find four other advertising chair patents (and there's probably even more than this). To my untrained eye, they all look very similar, but evidently they were different enough to each get their own patent.
Patent No. 934,856 (1909)
Patent No. 993,397 (1911)
Patent No. 1,094,154 (1914)
Patent No. 1,441,911 (1923)
A newspaper search brought up an 1895 article that described advertising chairs as the "latest in advertising." It also explained that the concept was to put these chairs in various places where there were captive audiences, such as "hotel lobbies, public libraries, depots and in fact in all places where tired humanity is used to taking a quiet little rest during the day."
Minneapolis Star Tribune (Dec 8, 1895)
But although entrepreneurs may have been keen to build advertising chairs, the public was evidently far less enthusiastic about them. An editorial in the Kansas City Journal
(reprinted in Printer's Ink magazine - Jan 2, 1901
) described an advertising chair as "comfortable enough physically, but mentally it is a torture... Just who invented the advertising chair is not known. He has no reason to be proud."
There must have been a number of these advertising chairs in existence, but I'm unable to find any surviving examples of them. Searching eBay, for instance, only pulls up chairs with advertisements printed on them.