Tuesday, May 23, 2017

1917: The Beginnings of the Jordan Motor Car Company

I just became acquainted with the magazine Automobile Topics.  This periodical contains many advertisements reflective of the WWI period and one that really struck me was a 4 page statement that announced the start-up of the Jordan Automobile Company. Jordan, as many auto historians know, pioneered modern advertising, particularly with the copy and image from the ad "Somewhere West of Laramie." Ned Jordan was the master of advertising, getting his start at NCR in Dayton before moving on to other endeavors. Note this ad reveals Jordan's focus on women as key to the purchase of an automobile; of color, an aspect fully developed in low priced cars in the early 1920s with the discovery of DUCO and pyroxylin paints; and of interior details, such as the texture of leather and fabrics. The Jordan was a fully assembled car, using parts made by many suppliers.  

Note on the first page Jordan's understanding of the motor vehicle as a statement of individuality, and how the car expresses individual tastes and status. And color -- how colors remind us of nature, as in the case of green, and sunrise and sunset, as with reds.

 Note on page two Jordan's understanding of the rakish line of a car, and how important lines are in terms of making an impression on a would-be customer. And then there are dimensions, how a woman does not want to sit in a seat where her knees are up. For a man, the control of a car is important, and thus the tilt of the steering wheel, instrumentation and controls, must be just right.

Branding is important to the Jordan -- its suppliers in effect determine the quality of the product, along with a final chassis design that emphasizes balance.  Comparison with an imaginary "other car,"  possessing less features closes the deal.

1 comment:

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