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1841 Volney B. Palmer founds the nation's first advertising agency in


1868 Francis Wayland Ayer, 20, leaves the University of Rochester after one year and begins selling advertising for The National Baptist in Philadelphia.

1869 On April 1, Francis Wayland Ayer opens his own advertising agency in Philadelphia and names it for his father, N.W. Ayer, who also is the sole employee.

1873 N.W. Ayer dies, and George O. Wallace, an expert at getting new business, enters the partnership.

1875 Ayer establishes its own on-site printing


1877 Ayer purchases Cole, Wetherrill & Co., successors to Volney B. Palmer, the first American advertising agent.

1880 The first issue is published of the Ayer Directory, which would become the industry's prime source of media information. It cleared the way for the public relations industry by providing accurate press contact lists.

1892 The copy department is established, headed by Jarvis Wood, who would become an Ayer partner.

1893 Ayer places the first-ever color ad, for Mellin's Food, in The Youth's Companion magazine.

1895 Ayer runs the first two-color inserts in magazines, for Fairbank soap.

1898 The agency hires its first full-time artist, and the Art Bureau is made part of the Copy Department. Outdoor advertising is added to the service.

1899 The first million-dollar campaign for any advertiser is launched with the line "Uneeda Biscuit" for National Biscuit Co.

1903 Ayer opens a New York office in the Flatiron Building.

1908 AT&T joins the client list.

1910 Ayer opens an office in Chicago.

1919 "The Instrument of the Immortals" is coined for Steinway pianos.

1922 Ayer launches radio advertising by arranging the first commercial broadcast, for Shur-on Optical Co., over KDKA, Pittsburgh.

1923 "I'd walk a mile for a Camel" is coined for R.J. Reynolds.

1923 Wayland Ayer dies at 75 and Wilfred Frey becomes CEO.

1927 Ford Motor Co. becomes a client, and a London office is opened to advertise Ford's British cars. Harry Batten becames vice president and heads the

Copy Department.

1930 Billings reach $38 million, triple the figure for any year of F. Wayland Ayer's lifetime.

1936 Wildred Fry dies and Harry Batten is named chairman. Gerold Lauck and Clarence Jordan are principal associates.

1938 DeBeers Consolidated Mines becomes a client.

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