Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hartman Furniture & Carpet Co.

Here are two advertising postcards Copyright 1913 by Hartman Furniture & Carpet Co. Chicago. The first shows "Mr. Cornell and his wife" with their baby, enjoying their home furnished with furniture they bought from Hartman's. A facsimile of a letter they reportedly wrote to the company tells how pleased they were with their furniture:

Dear Sirs:
My wife and I want to give evidence of how your credit plan has made us happy and comfortable; and I am herewith sending you a photograph of our home so that you can see how beautiful it looks with the furnishings we bought from your catalogue. We are delighted with the goods and we figure that we have saved about 50% on the prices charged by other firms. Show this picture to others whom we hope will deal with you, too.
As ever your customers
Mr. & Mrs Frank Cornell
221 W Nebraska Ave.
Peoria, Ill.
(Note: There is an online real estate listing for an old house built in 1917 at that address!)

Hartman had a large mail order catalog as well as a number of stores. The company was established in 1855 and had 22 stores in 1913. The postcard below shows the cover of their "420-page catalog of 8000 Home Furnishing Bargains." They used the slogan "Let Hartman Feather Your Nest" in their advertising. I have some other Hartman advertising postcards on my blog here that were clearly targeted at newlyweds.

For More Vintage Images


  1. So Hartmans didn't really get that letter and photograph in the mail for that address, as the house didn't exist in 1913? It looks too good to be true, and it was. An early example of misleading and deceptive advertising it would seem.

  2. It could be the house burned down sometime after 1913 and was rebuilt. But the wording in the letter is too perfect, and perfectly punctuated too. And see how every little bit of information is included in the short letter from the fact the company has a credit system to saving 50% over competitors. Too neat, perfect, and compact to sound like it truly came from an elated customer to my thinking.

  3. The furnishings in the postcard are the very styles of sofas, bookcases, and library tables that I see in antique shops all the time.

  4. Vintage advertisements have always appealed to me and you have such apt ones here for this week's prompt.

  5. My maternal grandmother had a china cabnet that looked an awful lot like their bookcase. The room does look perfect for the times.

  6. The advertising of the past makes me smile...........but I doubt we will say that about today's advertising in future? Or maybe our grandkids will? Interesting to think about!

  7. I wonder what the prices WERE back then for that furniture? It would be worth lots of money now, you can bet! Is that really an angel delivering the catalogue? Yikes.

  8. A large 1916 hartman catalog is online

    I searched for parlor table and found a similar looking "bed davenport" on page 131 for $35.65.

    I think that is cupid not an angel.

  9. I know advertising is much slicker these days but there’s a certain charm in these old ones.

  10. In the 1913 Peoria city directory, a Frank Cornell and his wife Bertha, lived at 221 W Nebraska Av.
    Frank's occupation: salesman for the Hartman Furniture & Carpet Co. !!

    1. I am glad you found that. I wonder whether the 1917 date for the house is correct.

  11. Yes you may feather a lovely nest, I like that line for advertising. This is wonderful, thanks for sharing.

  12. Enjoyed your post, for awhile I really thought that was a sincere letter till I saw the comments....I am so gullible....

  13. We tend to thnk of artifice in advertising as something relatively new, but Mr & Mrs Cornell were feathering their own nest long before the modern area of Mad Men wannabes

  14. Not only were the postcard advertisements charming, I loved the comments. You brought out the best in our fellow Sepians


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