Advertising Art of Coshocton exhibit open at museum

| June 16, 2014

COSHOCTON – Advertising Art of Coshocton will be displayed at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum now through Sunday, Sept. 14. The exhibit features specialty-advertising items made in Coshocton from the 1890s through the 1950s. Like the perfect vacation, the show will delight viewers on many levels, offering beauty, history, enchantment and unexpected amusement.

The city of Coshocton was for many years the nation’s leading manufacturer of advertising art, shipping products worldwide. Lithographs on tin and paper, signs of every description, trays, calendars and celluloid novelties advertised every kind of business, particularly breweries, soft drink manufacturers, ice cream factories, tobacco companies and distilleries. The art is sentimental, sexy, Victorian, funny and quirky. In the early 1900s, Coshocton was second only to New York City in the size of its artist colony. Displayed along with the advertising art will be historical documents such as proof books, catalogs, lithograph stones and photographs of the artists and factories.

The specialty advertising industry was born in Coshocton on Jan. 5, 1884, when a small ad was placed in the Coshocton Age. The newspaper announced that W.W. Shaw & Co. was opening an advertising novelty business in the Forbes Building. The success of Mr. Shaw’s venture caught the attention of two competing newspapermen, Jasper Meek and Henry Beach, who formed competing companies. The history of advertising art reads like a Peyton Place genealogy—as new companies were born, old ones dissolved or merged. Only one of these original entrepreneurs still has family in the business today. Jamie Beach, owner of The Beach Company, is the fifth generation of Beachs in specialty advertising. The Novelty Advertising Company, established in 1895, has been in continuous operation to this day. Its owner, Greg Coffman, is the third generation to run the family business.

Curators of the exhibit, William Carlisle (Cleveland area) and Joe Kreitzer (Coshocton), have been researching and collecting advertising art from Coshocton for more than 35 years. They found that what started in 1886 with just three employees grew into an industry of about 12 companies for over five hundred years, collectively. Nearly every family in Coshocton had a relative that worked in one of the plants. The legacy of the industry can be seen throughout the city today. Henry Beach donated the land for the city hospital. Charles Frederickson (American Art Work’s president) was a founder of the country club and donated and maintained the land for the Boy Scout camp at Wills Creek. Jay Shaw (Shaw-Barton Company), along with Edward Montgomery, established Lake Park.

The exhibition includes pieces from the following companies: Tuscarora Advertising Co., Standard Advertising Co., The Novelty Advertising Co., Meek & Beach Co., The H.D. Beach Co., The Meek Company, Marshall Mfg., The American Art Works, W.F. Smith Co., Beach Enameling Company, Beach Leather and Beach Art Display.

Advertising Art of Coshocton is sponsored by Novelty Advertising Company, The Beach Company and curators, William Carlisle and Joe Kreitzer. The Ohio Arts Council also helped fund this event with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is open daily from noon to 5 p.m. In addition to its special exhibits, the museum’s permanent collections are displayed in three galleries: Historic Ohio, American Indian and Asian. A Civil War display can also be viewed in a fifth gallery. JHM is located in Historic Roscoe Village, a restored canal-era town sited along the former Ohio & Erie Canal, at 300 N. Whitewoman St. For information, contact JHM at 622-8710, e-mail [email protected]org or visit its website




Tags: ,

Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

Article contributed to The Beacon.

Comments are closed.