Spick and Span Mather Poster
Mather Poster, 1929
36 x 43 in (91 x 109 cm)
This nautical poster is in reference to the idiom "runs a tight ship." It ends with a boastful rhetorical question, meant to motivate workers to do better work.
The 1920’s brought in great wealth for America, propaganda posters from World War I and the start of “welfare capitalism.” It was the perfect environment for Mather and Company work ethic posters to gain popularity. Employers who wished to improve the efficiency of their office, and divert worker attention away from unions, could purchase a subscription of these posters. They made use of catchy slogans, puns, and metaphors, as well as the Art Deco-style designs of well-known American artists. Though the Mather campaigns ended in 1930 due to the 1929 stock market crash, a truly American ideal had been preserved in nearly 350 different posters -- that of the importance of capitalism, individualism, and efficacy.
Artist: Willard Frederic Elmes