1929 Mather Work Incentive Poster

Frank Beatty, 1929

Between 1923 and 1929, during a time of economic expansion and plentiful job opportunities in the USA, the Charles Mather Company of Chicago printed bold-colored lithographic posters with attention-grabbing images and catchy slogans. These motivational posters were meant to be displayed in factories and businesses with the idea to improve worker productivity and happiness. Although these visual, inspirational posters are now 80+ years old, many of their messages are as relevant today as they were then, especially given our current economic climate.

1929 Mather Work Incentive Poster

Frederic Willard Elmes, 1929

Charles Mather saw an opportunity to promote his posters in the rapidly changing and growing work force of the 1920s. He was successful in selling annual poster subscriptions to business owners across the country who in turn displayed the graphic messages in the work environment.

1929 Mather Work Incentive Poster

Robert Beebe, 1929

Mather created over 300 different images for seven annual campaigns and commissioned a number of well-known, talented artists – Willard Frederick Elmes, Frank Beatty or Hal Depuy, to name a few – to create the posters. The series came to an abrupt end with the crash of the stock market in October 1929.

1929 Mather Work Incentive Poster

Frank Beatty, 1929

Images shown here are all from the 1929 Mather series. All posters are offered for sale in our April 28 poster auction in San Francisco (and live online).

1929 Mather Work Incentive Poster

Anonymous, 1929

For more details about the history of these posters, check out this interesting blog by Lauren DeFilippo.

1929 Mather Work Incentive Poster

Frederic Willad Elmes, 1929

1929 Mather Work Incentive Poster

Anonymous, 1929

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