As the cover of the Slade Gorton booklet shows, the firms often chose statements that would help make their products appear to be the better than other types of food. In this case, Slade Gorton wanted the consumer to believe their fish was better than beef.
Apparently the little booklets (approx. 2" x 3" when closed) seemed to be a good advertising premium to offer, as the same sort of advertising item continued to be used once the four major firms had merged to form the Gorton-Pew Fisheries Company in 1906.
Just like most firms during the time of Shute & Merchant, advertising and pushing your products as the very best was essential to being successful. Every Gloucester fish firm developed its own catch phrases to convince consumers that no other fish would be good enough for their home.
Cod and other fish were the most common image depicted on products sold by the various firms. Another favorite image was that of a fisherman in the traditional sou'wester, and that particular image eventually became the well-known Gloucester fisherman.
One other advertising premium, one that appears to have started with the Slade Gorton firm, was a codfish stick pin. The age of this one is unknown, though it clearly preceeded the formation of Gorton-Pew. This, too, was continued at some point by Gorton-Pew, though by the time that occured the phrase on the pin was changed to Gorton's Fish Foods.
Fishing firms have lined Gloucester Harbor over the many years of the fishing insdustry in that city, though the names on the buildings were continually changing. According to an 1876 record, the following 38 fish firms were located in Gloucester Harbor: D. C. & H. Babson, Clark & Somes, George Dennis & Co., Cunningham & Thompson, Dennis & Ayer, Joseph Friend, Sidney Friend & Bro., George Garland, Benjamin Haskell & Sons, Samuel Haskell, Harvey Knowlton, Jr., Samuel Lane & Bro., Leighton & Co., David Low & Co., Maddocks & Co., James Mansfield & Sons, McKenzie, Hardy & Co., George Norwood & Son, Charles Parkhurst, William Parson, II & Co., Perkins Bros., Pettingell & Cunningham, John Pew & Son, Procter, Trask & Co., Joseph O. Procter, Rowe & Jordan, Sayward Bros., Daniel Sayward, Shute & Merchant, Smith & Oakes, Smith & Gott, James A. Stetson, George Steele, James G. Tarr & Bro., Walen & Allen, Leonard Walen, John F. Wonson & Co., William Wonson -- these firms owned and outfitted 361 vessels
Neither of the two firms whose items are shown here were part of the fishing industry in 1876, which confirms how ever changing that list was over the years.