Guide to the Joseph Pedott Papers
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0898
Creators:
Joseph Enterprises, Inc. (Location of Meeting--San Francisco, California; )
Pedott, Joseph
Dates:
circa 1976-2005, 2008
Languages:
English
Some business correspondence in Mandarin; some packaging in French and German.
Physical Description:
2 Cubic feet
3 boxes
Repository:
Papers relating to products developed and marketed by Joseph Enterprises, Inc., including the Chia Pet and the Clapper. The collection includes internal business documentation including correspondence, design drawings, and photographs. Print advertising and packaging samples as well as audiovisual materials make up an important part of the collection. The video collection includes commercials for the Chia and Clapper products as well as clips of product mentions in popular entertainment. In addition, there are two recorded oral history interviews with Joseph Pedott.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection documents the Chia Pet, the Clapper, and other products of Joseph Enterprises, Inc. Other materials include packaging and advertising campaigns by Joseph Pedott Advertising & Marketing for other companies. While fragmentary and limited in extent, these materials illustrate the progress of Joe Pedott's career from a one-man advertising agency to a modest scale, enduring marketing business. The papers include early advertising work for small local clients and for a national client (Eversharp/Parker Pen) and well as early television for a variety of retail products. There is little on unsuccessful products, often just a few advertisements. The materials are complemented by the oral history interviews.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Collection organized into eight series.
Series 1: Oral History Interviews, September 2004, April 2008
Series 2: Chia Pet, 1981-2005, undated
Series 3: The Clapper, 1976-1985, undated
Series 4: Scribe Ett, 1981, 1984, undated
Series 5: Eversharp Pen Company, undated
Series 6: Various Products, 1985, undated
Series 7: Newspaper Clippings, 1989-2004, undated
Series 8: Audiovisual Materials, 1979-2005, undated
Subseries 8.1, Commercials, 1979-2005
Subseries 8.2, Promotions, 1996-2001

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Joseph Pedott was born April 14, 1932 in Chicago. He attended the University of Illinois, where he and friend Daryl Peters, began the advertising company, Pedott & Peters. They successfully began producing commercials for automotive and retail companies and made a large amount of money by the time they reached the age of twenty-one. After making a bad business investment the partners focused on completing college. They began building up the company upon graduation.
Pedott and Peters worked together for several years before deciding to dissolve the partnership. Pedott then began working for R. Jack Scott, a Chicago advertising agency. Pedott worked for Scott for just over two years and during that time, out-performed those with more experience in the advertising field. Pedott left Chicago for San Francisco in 1956. He worked briefly at a small firm on commission before forming his own agency, Joseph Pedott Advertising & Marketing. Pedott's firm was innovative in advertising techniques. The company was the first to use "dealer tagging," a technique used at the ends of television commercials. During the last five seconds of the commercial consumers would learn where the advertised item could be purchased.
While attending a Chicago house wares show Pedott noticed the Chia Pet. He spoke with the product owner and learned that while the product was selling well, the owner was losing money on every Chia sold. Pedott bought the name and concept and reworked the manufacturing of the product after a trip to Mexico to witness first hand how the Chias were made. Later pedott moved Chia manufacturing to China. Pedott created a new company, Joseph Enterprises, Inc., (JEI) to manufacture the Chias. Joseph Pedott Advertising ran the advertising campaigns for all of JEI's products while continuing to work for non JEI clients.
After improving the quality of the product, the "new" Chia arrived on the market in 1982 and quickly expanded throughout the country, sold largely at drugstores. Today, the Chia Pet has large name recognition among the American public and continues to be a popular gift, especially at Christmas time. The line has expanded beyond the original ram and bull shapes to include a variety of animals (pig, elephant, kitten, dinosaur, etc.) as well as famous cultural icons such as Jerry Garcia, Bugs Bunny and various Looney Tunes characters, and Homer and Bart Simpson. In addition, the Chia Herb Garden entered the market in the mid-1990s.
Pedott's other success, the Clapper, came about through the advertising campaign for the Great American Turn On. Pedott discovered that the original product did not work properly and felt the owners were cheating their customers. JEI bought the product, including the patent, and reworked the electrical wiring to ensure that the company was selling a high quality product. As with the Chia Pet, The Clapper and its advertising, like the Chia, are familiar to a large number of Americans.
Note: Material for this section was taken from Joe Pedott Oral History Interview Abstract, September 20, 2004, Joseph Pedott Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Cassandra A. Schmitt, February 2007; supervised by Alison Oswald and Wendy Shay, archivists.
Author
Cassandra A. Schmitt
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by Joseph Pedott, 2005.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Preferred Citation
Joseph Pedott Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials in the National Museum of American History
The Division of Culture and the Arts holds artifacts related to this collection (Accession # 2005.3116) that include:
1. Chia Pet Handmade Clay Decorative Planter with Chia Seeds, Chia pet dog
2. Chia Pet Handmade Clay Decorative Planter with Chia Seeds, Chia pet ram
3. Chia Pet Handmade Clay Decorative Planter with Chia Seeds, Chia pet bull
4. Chia Pet Handmade Clay Decorative Planter with Chia Seeds, Chia-saurus
5. Chia Pet Handmade Clay Decorative Planter with Chia Seeds, Chia Shrek character
6. Handmade Clay Decorative Planter with Chia Seeds, Donkey from Shrek
7. Chia Pet Handmade Clay Decorative Planter with Chia Seeds, Jerry Garcia Chia
8. Bigmouth: A portable, plastic garbage bag holder
9A. CD Mobile antenna with packaging
9B. CB Mobile monitor with box
10. Video recorder with packaging
11. Metal detector with packaging
12. Pen set with frame and packaging
13. Light switch with box
14. Light switch with packaging
15. Jar lid opener with box
16. Tapeless measure with packaging
17A. Pen, engraving
17B. Pen, engraving with packaging
17C. Pen, engraving with packaging
17D. Pen, engraving with packaging
18A. Knife, Pumpkin cutter
18B. Knife, Pumpkin cutter
18C. Knife, Pumpkin cutter
18D. Knife, Pumpkin cutter
18E. Knife with packaging
18F. Pumpkin cutter with packaging

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Novelties Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Toys Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Advertisements Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Popular culture Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oral history Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiotapes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Design drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marketing Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Packaging Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives