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Get rich quick ads from 1909 (books.google.com)
96 points by pelle on Jan 28, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments

MAKE MILLIONS OR BILLIONS in less than three years in business utilizing new technologies! We provide capital. Biggest money-maker out there! Receive assistance from established men. Write P. Graham, Y-Combinator Inc., Mountain-View Station Southern Pacific Railway, Santa Clara County Calif.

Small difference, with a startup there are no promises, just very strong hinting and wagging eyebrows in a general direction of something almost not vague.

Discovered even better ones further on in the magazine.

"Make $3,380 a year with 100 Kirk Machines" (Peanut vending machines)



"Every once in a while a window appears - and you realize the past is just the present with different technology and funny clothes"

Cut / paste those into spam emails today and nothing has changed other than the dollar figures and the method of delivery. Sadly someone will always prey on the gullible and that in itself is a timeless method of getting rich.

It's very hard to get rich by scamming other people. You can make some quick money that way, but long term end result is usually pathetic.

I actually enjoyed this one:


It seems that "Learning C++ in 30 days" is not a new concept.

To be fair, shorthand is a lot simpler than C++.

"Make rice crisp"

Pfft, what an idiot, that clearly never worked!

It's all there, free initial offer for lead gen (ebook), money back guarantee, obnoxious copy, the only thing missing is the call to action "Yes!, I want to earn $100 per week, please send me your $150 ebook for just $25"

"SEND FOR FREE BOOK telling why so many patents are worthless as protection!"

Now that one is poignant.

So, that's the source of all those spam emails. I was wondering where they got their inspiration, it also explains some of the more peculiar turns of phrase that keep popping up ('honorable sir' and 'compliments of the season').

If you wanted to train a spam filter you could do a lot worse than to use these as your corpus.

"Money in it" - that's so Twitter.

No doubt because newspaper ads were priced by the word if not letter.

Hmm maybe that's what Twitter should do... 0-100 characters are free. $0.005 per character above 100.

Love the section "Male Help".

I searched, but I couldn't find "Female Help".

Check out the article on p. 476 ("Wireless of the Future"). There are some great quotes and very accurate given that they are from 1909. "It will soon be possible to transmit wireless messages all over the world ..."

Seeing these ads, I'm genuinely curious, did we manage in the course of a hundred years to go from "we sell the product to you" into "you come to us to buy the product"?

I can see a Cash 4 Gold ad fitting right in there with the carpet bagger ads for buying up land in the South :p

Why, if I'd made $10,000 yearly in real estate since 1909, I'd be a millionaire!

And over 100!

the more things change, the more they stay the same

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