Today in History: First Litfass advertising column premieres in 1855 in Berlin
160 years ago today, the first free-standing cylindrical advertising column premiered in Berlin. The column was an invention by German printer and publisher Ernst Litfass.
During the first half of the 19th century, posters had seen a huge increase as a means of advertising. The uncoordinated posting of announcements and ads on homes, trees, walls and any open street corner became a nuisance which resulted in a decree in 1849 that prohibited any placarding of posters with the exception of government notices.
Litfass responded to the demand for a regulated system and signed a contract to erect special advertising columns throughout Berlin to address the problem. In return, he was granted exclusive rights for the display of the posters. The Berlin advertising column premiered in 1855 and was named “Litfasssäule” (Litfass Column) after its inventor.