A trade magazine, or trade rag, also called a professional magazine, is a magazine published with the intention of target marketing to a specific industry or type of trade. The collective term for this area of publishing is the trade press. Trade magazines typically contain advertising content centered on the industry in question with little if any general-audience advertising.
Definitions of the term "trade catalog" vary, but in general, trade catalogs are printed materials published by manufacturing, wholesaling, or retailing firms. They promote sales by making advertising claims, give instructions in using products, provide testimonials from satisfied customers, and include detailed descriptions of sale products.
Trade catalogs first appeared in the 18th century, with the expansion in trade, commerce and consumption. The distinguished English cabinet maker, Thomas Chippendale published a book of his designs in 1754, entitled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director and regarded as the "first comprehensive trade catalogue of its kind". The designs were regarded as reflecting the current London fashion for furniture, and set the standard for his competitors in the market. Chippendale followed this up with a virtual reprint in 1755, and finally a revised and enlarged edition in 1762.
“Trade catalog” derives from the expression “to the trade,” and the materials were originally produced by manufacturers and wholesalers for their salesmen to market to retailers. The Trade Literature Collection is internationally known as an extraordinary source for the history of American business, technology, marketing, consumption, and design. Trade literature includes printed or handwritten documents, usually illustrated, of items offered for sale, ranging in size from small pamphlets to oversized folios of several hundred pages.
- Ball State University Digital Media Repository
- Digital Collections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries
- Hagley Museum and Library
- Science Museum Library & Archives (Wroughton)
- Smithsonian Institution Libraries
- State Technical Library. Prague, Czech Republic
- The Henry Ford - Benson Ford Research Center
- Research Library - Includes over 30,000 trade literature items representing all types of manufactured goods from automobiles to household goods and more.
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Smithsonian Institution
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Baker, T. Lindsay. North American Windmill Manufacturers' Trade Literature (Norman, Ok: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998)
Baker, T. Lindsay, "Researching history through trade literature," History News, vol. 53, no. 1 (Winter, 1998), pp. 24–27
Crom, Theodore R. Trade Catalogues, 1542-1842. Melrose, Fla.: T.R. Crom, 1989.
Culbertson, Margaret, "Mail-order architecture: Plan books and American house design," in Consumer culture and the American home, 1890-1930 (Beaumont, TX: McFaddin-Ward House, 1988); pp. 65–69
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Gitner, Fred (compiled and edited by) Medical trade catalogs at The New York Academy of Medicine Library: a bibliography / (New York, NY: The New York Academy of Medicine, 1995)
Gottfried, Herbert. "Building the picture: trading on the imagery of production and design," Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 27 no.4 (1992) pp. 235–253.
Hagley Museum and Library. Trade catalogs in the Hagley Museum and Library by Nina de Angeli Walls. (Wilmington, Del.: Hagley Museum and Library, 1987)
Jennings, Jan. "Drawing on the vernacular interior," Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 27 no. 4 (1992) pp. 255–279
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Laird, Pamela Walker. Advertising Progress: American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998)
Lears, Jackson. Fables of Abundance: A cultural history of advertising in America (New York: Basic Books, 1994)
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McKinstry, E. Richard. Trade catalogues at Winterthur: a guide to the literature of merchandising, 1750-1980. (New York: Garland Publishing, 1984)
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Reiff, Daniel D. Houses from books: treatise, pattern books, and catalogs in American architecture, 1738-1950: a history and guide (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000)
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Smith, Gaye. Trade Catalogues: A Hundred Years, 1850-1949. (Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University Library, 1992)
Thompson, Neville, "Trade catalogues in the Winterthur Library," Magazine Antiques, vol. 161, no.1 (January, 2002); pp. 206–211
Travers, Irene L., "Trade literature at the National Museum of History and Technology [currently the National Museum of American History]" Special Libraries, vol. 70, no. 7 (1979) pp. 272–280
Williams, Chauncey L. The dual role of manufacturers' catalogs in industrial marketing (New York: Sweet's Catalog Service, [1940?])