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Variations in American marketing practices of early 19th-century ceramic importers and dealers, reflecting culture and identity

Neil Ewins (Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 2 June 2020

Issue publication date: 14 August 2020




This paper explores the advertising strategy of crockery importers and dealers in relationship to their origins and backgrounds. This is a departure from earlier ceramic-history literature which tended to focus on the Staffordshire producers, with limited awareness on how the identity of importers and dealers influenced what products were sold, and their individual approaches to marketing.


Within a context of historical marketing research, this paper analyses newspaper advertising and commentary. It combines an examination of marketing practices with a wider consideration of the cultural identities of ceramic importers and dealers. The digitalization of historical records, combined with sophisticated search engines, makes it more feasible to examine a broader range of sources. Thus, modern research methods can enhance our understanding of production and demand and reveal how marketing strategy was diverse.


Awareness on how advertising was influenced by the backgrounds and socio-political views of importers and dealers demonstrates ways in which Anglo-American ceramic trade could be far more market-led. More significantly, marketing approaches were not necessarily responding to American demand, but rather that importers could engage in commissioning goods which reflected their own views on politics, religion or slavery.


Examining the advertising of importers demonstrates the complex relationship between production and ceramic demand. This paper opens up debates as to how far the advertising of other merchandise in the USA shows evidence of taking a more individual approach by the 19th century.



The author would like to thank Peter Craig Brown Photography, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. This paper expands on a conference paper delivered at 19th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis and Research (CHARM), Exploring Identity Building: Marketing History as an Instrument of Transformation, May 16–19, 2019, hosted by the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, Ewins, N. (2019), “Variations in American Marketing Practices of Early Nineteenth-Century Ceramic Importers and Dealers, Reflecting Culture and Identity”, Proceedings of the 19th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis and Research, pp. 211–38). It received the Stanley C. Hollander Best Paper Award.


Ewins, N. (2020), "Variations in American marketing practices of early 19th-century ceramic importers and dealers, reflecting culture and identity", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 345-375.



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