To promote and market the Company’s goods and services in the period up to the late 19th century Garton & Jarvis, and subsequently Garton & King, needed to rely on recommendation, on customers coming to your works or retail outlet, or by describing and tempting custom through the printed word such as in The Exeter Weekly Times (1827) or The Western Times (1829), Exeter Flying Post or Trewmans Weekly News. A rather unappealing example of this sort of format is seen here, dated 21st November 1843.
Up until the 1890s newspapers relied on text in the main to promote products and services and even in the 1840’s when photography came into use newspapers still had to rely on the printing processes of the time (i.e. wood / brass engraving) which could only accommodate black and white and no in-between shades of grey. The shades of grey found in a photograph could not be reproduced.
From 1890 onwards half tone images began to appear in newspapers, half tone converts the different tones in a photograph into dots of various sizes. One of the images of a show site here on this page is a half tone and does not lend itself well on the page like a photograph does.
One other method became available in 1852 with the first Bath & West Agricultural Show at Taunton, and the first advert by the new Garton & King confirming its intention to exhibit its wares was placed in the Western Times on the 9th June 1863. Over the decades the Company secured stands at many of these events as a sure-fire way of demonstrating what the company had to offer, to attract additional customers and to tempt existing ones.
Below left is an advertisement for the Devon County Show in 1884 from the brief period in which, sometime after the death of John Garton in 1865, John King joined with another ironmonger called Munk and traded as King & Munk; on the right an advertisement from the Taunton Courier for the Taunton Show in 1887, by which time the short partnership had ended and the old name had been readopted.
The very first image we have of a Company stand at a show is for the 1899 Bath & West Show where the company name is prominently shown and an enlargement shows metal field fencing and iron benches but, going by the left hand banner, only part of the total display area is visible.
This next image relates to the company’s stand at the 1909 Bath & West Show at Exeter. Enlargement shows all manner of articles including seats and benches, frames for arbours and tables. The gentleman on duty seems unimpressed by the photographer, not a hint of a smile!
The Koh–I–Noor lettering features elsewhere in the company archives as shown in the next image, which is possibly from a showroom display. The lettering was a product of J Marston who became involved with Japanned goods and a variety of other products and then branched out and produced Sunbeam bicycles (later sold to BSA), Sunbeam Motor Cars and also Honeycomb Radiators. It is believed their successors still continue to trade.
One other ‘Show’ which probably dates from the 1890s is this display of ironwork, fencing, railings, covers channels and inspection boxes. Quite where the photograph was taken is a mystery but it is likely that it was set up at a show somewhere as little appears in the background, unlike what you might expect to see in a shop display.
An Express & Echo image of the 1936 Showground at Exeter demonstrates the poor quality of newspaper images compared with what we are used to today – the ‘dot’ method (shown enlarged in the inset) has an adverse effect on the detail gleaned from the images of this type. Over 15,000 visitors attended the show.
The 1952 Royal Show at Newton Abbot was the last show at which the company demonstrated their Foundry Products – the coming of the AGA in the early thirties was the main item on display at these and most future shows, as can be seen by a visit to the AGA page.
Garton King Appliances usually have a stand at the Devon County Show but it has to be said that their name is not flaunted as in the past in spite of the reputation and heritage the combination of the names ‘Garton’ and ‘King’ together have gained over nearly 160 years, let alone the heritage that extends back to 1661. This image was taken at the 2013 Devon County Show.
If you have any images of the Garton & King’s Stand at past shows that you’d be happy to share then please see how to contact me on the About Me page.
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