“Putnam's Magazine,” for August, has a laudatory notice of the New York Crystal Palace, which is certainly well written and very interesting, to say the least. We have no time to allude to it farther than to declare that we understand three hundred dollars was paid for the insertion of this notice.— Such a curious proceeding may be all right, for aught we know; but it certainly smacks of a fearful doubt, on the part of the management, of the ultimate popularity of the exhibition. We do not like these paid puffs, at all. The exhibition itself, when it is ready, will be a handsome one, and creditable to the country, though it will, doubtless, be a dear show ior the poor stockholders. It is nonsense, then, to expect eclat by paying magazine publishers tor fulsome notices. [The above we copy from the " Brother Jonathan " newspaper, of August 6th. We can scarcely believe that the Treasurer of the Crystal Palace Association would dare pay such an enormous bill for puffing, even if the bill came to him properly audited by the directors. If in addition to special privileges already granted to Mr. Putnam by the Association, he is permitted to draw $300 a month for ': puffs " inserted in his Magazine, we think he will be likely to make more out of llac concern than the stock-jobbers—the Wall-street clique. It seems to us that considerable strife must exist between Putnam and the stockholders, and that Putnam has the best of it—for while Putnam's " puffs " have gone sensibly up, the price of shares has gone sensibly down. Since the Crystal Palace was inaugurated the stock has depreciated, in this market, twenty-eight per cent.; but the tailing off cannot be owing to the Exhibition not being as good as was anticipated, for we believe the display of contributions far exceeds the expectation of those whose interests and hopes were the greatest; and the number of visiters are as many as could have been expected at this season of the year, therefore we infer that too much must be paid tor "puffs" and advertisements, or else there is a greater leak out of the receipts to liquidate other expenses than was anticipated. The Exhibition is creditable to the exhibitors, but the direction has been miserably conducted from the first.
This article was originally published with the title "Paying Dear for a Puff" in Scientific American 8, 48, 378 (August 1853)