The companies that issued trade cards pioneered many of the advertising techniques still in use today.

Trade cards marked the beginning of advertising aimed at "the masses" rather than at the wealthy and educated. Such advertising became worthwhile only in the mid-1800s, when a significant portion of "the masses" had become literate and had acquired extra cash to spend on small purchases.

Pick a card to explore how trade cards used people's hopes, fears, and interests to sell patent medicines.