Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vintage Ads: Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter

Time for another vintage ad, this time from what would seem to be the 1950’s. There are quite a number of sites on the internet that post the advertisement without any text shown:

(Click on ad to enlarge).

The text which accompanied the original advertisement makes clear why the question is asked, although it doesn’t make the ad any more acceptable:

The text reads:

Is it always illegal to kill a woman?

For six months I bend the ears of the home office to get a postage meter. I win . . . Then the only good, fast, dependable, honest-to-Gregg stenographer I got, this redhead Morissey, balks at a postage meter!

“I have no mechanical aptitude. Machines mix me up, kind of’” she says. As if we asked her to fly a P-80.  I almost blow my top.

This postage meter, I explain, is modern, more efficient, a time saver . . . No more adhesive stamps. No stamp box, and who’s got the key? No running out of stamps you need. No scrounging. No stamp sticking. Just set the lever for any kind of stamp you want, for any kind of mail, and the meter prints the stamp right on the envelope with a dated postmark – and it seals the flap at the same time. Faster than mailing by hand. Prints stamps on tape for parcel post. Even keeps its own records!

And metered mail doesn’t have to be postmarked and cancelled in the post office, gets going earlier. It is practically heaven’s gift to the working girl . . . and so on. But with the Morissey, no soap.

I try diplomacy, “Miss Morissey, I want you person’lly to try it for two weeks. If you don’t like it then – back it goes to the factory! I depend on your judgment implicitly. Okay?” . . . She acts like an early Christian about to be lunch for a lion, but gives in.

So help me – two weeks later she has a big pink bow on the handle of the postage meter – like it was an orchid or something. I give it the gape.

“Kinda cute, ain’t it,” says Miss Morissey. “But a very efficient machine, Mr Jones. Now the mail is out early enough so I get to the girls’ room in time to hear all the dirt” . . . I wonder is it always illegal to kill a woman!

Much as you give today's ads the gape, you'll find that they just don't write copy like that anymore  . . .


  1. Haha Great post! I guarantee we wouldn't see ads like this today. This article really hit home with me. I recently looked for a place to buy postage meters for small business
    for the little company I run out of my house, and just like its out of that article my wife instantly hates the thing. Complaining that she can't work it and that its actually taking more time to run it. I spent a few hours with her teaching her how to use it, and I begged her to just take a week with it. Sure enough the postage meter stayed

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