Reading an Advertisement

Step 1 of 2: Look at the Gaslight Advertisement.

Advertisements are a valuable primary source for information about the past. Show students the advertgaslightad_largeisement for “The Albo-Carbon Light” from the 1886 Newark City Directory (a city directory is similar to a modern phone book, but existed before people had telephones). Try analyzing this advertisement! (This interactive is adapted from our American Stories curriculum. See the complete gaslight advertisement lesson plan.)

What do you see in the advertisement? What is it an advertisement for? How can you tell?

List the information you can get from the advertisement about the product.

Pretend you are considering purchasing one of these Albo-Carbon Lights. What are the advantages to purchasing the light?

What are the disadvantages?

What other information would you need (not found in the advertisement) to make your decision?

Why do you think gaslights such as the Albo-Carbon Light were invented?

How did this invention make life more comfortable?

Now compare your responses to those of a historian!


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