Thursday, April 21, 2011

Les Colonnes Morris

The ubiquitous Morris Columns are circular cast iron advertising posts that date back to the middle of the 19th century. They take their name from a Parisian printer, Gabriel Morris, who developed this advertising media and introduced them to the sidewalks of Paris, beginning in 1868. The advertising agency bore his name, so they were called Colonnes Morris. They are typically topped by a squat onion dome and a tiny spire.
As of 2006 there were 790 Morris columns in Paris, of which 18 contained telephone booths (most of these on the Champs-Élysées) and six contained Sanisette toilets! Many Morris columns rotate slowly, and the more modern ones are back-lit.
These days Morris columns are built and maintained by the JC Decaux company, which purchased Morris in 1986.
Paris does not allow billboards, so most major movie releases are advertised on a Colonne Morris, as pictured above (Thank You for Smoking, released in 2005). They also display theater, nightclub and concert announcements.

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