A hundred years ago today, the banner headline of the Chicago Tribune, June 6, 1917, reported that 308,809 Chicago men had registered for the draft. It predicted that the total for the country could pass ten million, with 640,000 of those in the State of Illinois alone.
Whatever the exact numbers, it was clear that many American men would soon be under arms, and that labor shortages would probably result. It wasn’t surprising then that one company made the best of the situation by promoting in the same paper its labor-saving device: The Dictaphone.
The ad (which was itself dictated into a Dictaphone, it was claimed at the bottom) proclaimed that “the man-power of the country is enrolling in defense of the flag–but business must go on.”
The ad reminded the businessman that “you have always needed The Dictaphone,” but these times of stress and pressure made the need even more acute.
The businessman who had already adopted The Dictaphone “knows where he stands. He has a flexible, efficient, provably better way to handle his correspondence.”
The ad promised that “The Dictaphone will more than make good your loss of experienced, able office personnel who may be called to the colors.”