The nineteenth century industrial revolution introduced large factories for every business that often meant many buildings which needed dozens of workers.
A sleek looking factory meant that a company was modern. Here is an advertising image from the Pabst Brewery from the 1890s [below]. Notice the tall smoke stacks that generated a grey smoke that covered the near-by city streets of Milwaukee.
Seed companies and nurseries also included their own factories in advertising. Such buildings might have produced packages and boxes for seeds and plants or included print shops for the business.
Pamela Walker Laird in her book Advertising Progress: American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing writes: “Factories appeared in a wide range of formats directed to women and children.”
Seed and nursery catalogs were written for women since women made most of the purchases for the home.
The John Salzer Co. seed catalog cover [above] included at the top an illustration of the company headquartes that looked like a factory with these words: “John A. Salzer, Co. Establishment, La Crosse, Wisc.”
Notice that the company headquarters was referred to as ‘Establishment’.
It was an opportunity for the company to boast about its current size and at the same time show the world how progressive it was.
Thus the advertising from the seed companies and nurseries joined ranks with other companies of that time, a period when national advertising demanded this self-aggrandizement on the part of the business.
Wisconsin company owners Captain Fred Pabst in Milwaukee and John Salzer in La Crosse both appeared to be progressive in their respective businesses, one to sell beer and the other seeds.