Back in the 1920s, people who had home phones were the big spenders

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How back in the 1920s, people who had home phones led the economy

The telephone is a reliable index to the market for all commodities (1927)

There is a growing realization that advertising is a definite force employed to do definite work.

To find out where it does its best work, an investigation was made in 37 cities. To businessmen, the important application of the facts thus obtained is summed up in the following statements:

1. The homes having telephones buy two-thirds of the advertised goods.

There are 9,809,063 homes which have telephones. There are about twice as many homes which have none.

One-third of the families in this country, then, live in telephone-connected homes. Yet one-third of the population buy two-thirds of the branded merchandise, the advertised goods.

Painstaking house-to-house inquiry in thirty-seven cities has disclosed, for example, that 70.8% of the package cereals, 78.5% of the automobiles, 73.8% of the phonographs, 79.1% of the vacuum cleaners, 86.3% of the oil heaters, and so on and on through the long list, are in telephone homes — one-third of the families buying two-thirds of the advertised goods.

1920s actress Hedda Hopper on the phone

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2. The telephone is a reliable index to the market for all commodities.

The telephone in the home discriminates between the inert and the alert. The family that needs a telephone has taken the first step toward progressive living. It is seeking contact with the outside world. It has risen above the dead level of bare necessities. It is in the market for many other commodities.

The number of residence telephones in a community or a county or a state thus serves as a reliable index to the market for all products. The families with telephones are the alert, intelligent, ruling minority of the nation. There are at least a million telephone homes in the total Digest circulation of 1,400,000.

* These facts are drawn from personal interviews obtained in 11,232 homes in 37 cities scattered throughout the United States, and will be published in a book the title of which is “Zanesville and 36 other American Communities.”

How back in the 1920s, people who had home phones led the economy

The history of the telephone, with 50 examples of old phones, including early rotary-dial models

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