An Interesting Advertisement for a Printing Press (Which Also Inspired a Parody)


Hoe Double Octuple Newspaper Press — 1903 Model

The July 1911 issue of Munsey’s Magazine ran an advertisement for a printing press by R. Hoe & Co., a printing press manufacturer. Instead of writing a usual product spiel, the company opted to turn the ad into a creative writing exercise:

I am the printing press, born of the mother earth.
My heart is of steel, my limbs are of iron, and my fingers are of brass.

I sing the songs of the world, the oratorios of history, the symphonies of all time.

I am the voice of today, the herald of tomorrow. I weave into the warp of the past the wool of the future. I tell the stories of peace and war alike.

I make the human heart beat with passion or tenderness. I stir the pulse of nations, and make brave men do braver deeds, and soldiers die.

I inspire the midnight toiler, weary at his doom, to lift his head again and gaze with fearlessness into the vast beyond, seeking the consolation of a hope eternal.

When I speak, a myriad people listen to my voice. The Saxon, the Latin, the Celt, the Hun, the Slav, the Hindu, all comprehend me.

I am the tireless clarion of the news. I cry your joys and sorrows every hour. I fill the dullard’s mind with thoughts uplifting. I am light, knowledge, power. I epitomize the conquests of mind over matter.

I am the record of all things mankind has achieved. My offspring comes to you in the candle’s glow, amid the dim lamps of poverty, the splendor of riches; at sunrise, at high noon and in the waning evening.

I am the laughter and tears of the world, and I shall never die until all things return to their immutable dust.

I am the printing press.

Over time, this had somehow became attributed to Robert H. Davis. Perhaps, this was due to the fact that he was the editor of the said magazine from 1904 to 1925.

It’s said that this description of the printing press was written on a bronze plaque in the reception area of The Sun (New York City) during the 1930s.

Just a few of months after the publication of the ad, an anonymous wag bought ad spaces on several publications such as Harper’s Weekly, Windsor Magazine and The Hardware Reporter for an “advertisement” for an unnamed cash register:

  1. I am born of Mother Eart h- –my heart is of steel — my eyes are of glass — my limbs are of iron — my fingers are of brass.
  2. I do brain work, but have no brain — I work fast, early and late and am too stupid to make a blunder.
  3. You find me in every country, my voice rings out around the world.
  4. I speak every language, tell the truth, and nothing but the truth.
  5. When I speak, millions listen: (1) The Caucasians, (2) the Mongolians, (3) the Ethiopians, (4) the Malayans, (5) the Indians.
  6. I need no food, but live as long as metal endures.
  7. I handle all kinds of money, (1) Gold, (2) Silver, (3) Nickel, (4) Copper, (5) Paper in all currencies.
  8. I make unchangeable records of all I do.
  9. I remove temptation, shorten the hours of labor and keep people correct.
  10. I protect the weak and strengthen the strong.
  11. I give hope to the weary and make the world better.
  12. I give (1) Publicity, (2) Protection, (3) Prosperity, (4) Profits, and (5) Peace of mind.
  13. I cost but little and do so much. I am the cash register.

This “ad” received a number of plagiarism accusations, though it’s obvious that it’s simply a parody.

Posted by

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

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