Selling Dreams - Early advertising in Singapore
The traffic in Singapore’s town centre at the turn of the 20th century was fairly chaotic and unregulated. One would expect to see bullock carts alongside horse carriages, bicycles, and rickshaws sharing the main thoroughfares around town. The introduction of motorised vehicles in the early 1900s revolutionised the way people moved around Singapore, with the advent of buses, taxicabs, and privately owned motorcars and motorcycles.
The first car was imported to Singapore in 1894, and wealthy car enthusiasts in Singapore were eager to get their hands on cars of their own that offered the freedom and convenience of personal transportation. However, private car ownership remained out of reach for the majority of residents on the island until the 1920s. Until then, most availed themselves to private companies that offered public transportation in the form of buses and taxis.
No matter the form of transport, advertising was prevalent in newspapers, magazines, and directories, stressing economy, convenience, safety, and even luxury. This section explores the many and varied forms of vehicular goods and services available to the early Singapore resident, from carriages to cars.