Advertising column

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A Morris column in front of the Palais Brongniart

Advertising columns or Morris columns (French: colonne Morris, German: Litfaßsäule (Litfasssäule, the spelling used in Switzerland and Liechtenstein)) are cylindrical outdoor sidewalk structures with a characteristic style that are used for advertising and other purposes. They are common in the city of Berlin, Germany, where the first 100 columns were installed in 1855. Advertising columns were invented by the German printer Ernst Litfaß in 1854. Therefore, they are known as Litfaßsäulen (Litfaß columns), and can be found all over Germany.[1]

In France, the columns are named Morris after Gabriel Morris,[2] a printer, who held the concession for advertising in 1868. They were originally built by La Société Fermière des Colonnes Morris. Today, they are mostly built and maintained by the JCDecaux company, which purchased the original company in 1986. [3]


The idea of advertising pillars came about in order to combat rampant advertising and graffiti. Ernst Litfaß suggested that pillars should be built all over the city. People could then place their advertisements on these pillars. On December 5, 1854, after years of proceedings, the Berlin's chief of police, Karl Ludwig von Hinkeldey authorized Litfaß' "Annoncier-Säulen". Litfaß [clarification needed] had exclusive rights to the building of these columns until 1865.[citation needed]


Advertising columns are most typically used to display advertisements in the form of posters; many such advertisements have traditionally concerned theater, cinema, nightclub, and concert announcements. Some are motorized and rotate very slowly. A few Advertising columns house Sanisettes or telephone booths. At the beginning of 2006, there were 790 Morris columns in Paris,[4] of which 18 contained telephones and six contained Sanisettes. Some 233 Advertising columns are scheduled to be removed in the near future.[citation needed]

Cultural references[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parry, Roger (2011), The Ascent of Media, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, ISBN 9781857889468 
  2. ^ Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (2010), The Robert Lehman Collection: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, The Museum, p. 59 
  3. ^ JCDecaux. "Colonne". 40 ans d'innovation. Archived from the original on 2006-03-13. Retrieved 2006-05-19. 
  4. ^ Simon, Philippe (2007), Paris visite guidée: architecture, urbanism, history and actuality, Picard, p. 157, ISBN 9782708407916 


  • Mobilier Urbain – Inventory of street installations in Paris (in French)
  • 20 Minutes – “Les colonnes Morris en voie de disparition”, 20 Minutes (Paris), 6 January 2006, Grand Paris p. 4 (in French)
  • JC Decaux – Current manufacturer of Morris columns