Never heard of Jared Bell? You're forgiven, but in the 1830s he put up America's first billboards—advertising circuses like Barnum and Bailey. Outdoor display billboards—often hand-painted, labor-intensive affairs—got started in the 1860s. But it was the popularity of the Model T Ford (which put Americans on wheels) and then the interstate highway system (in the 50s) that really made billboards popular and successful.
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