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Joseph Pedott Papers,
circa 1976-2005

Extent and Forms of Material: 2 cubic feet, including photographs, audiocassette tapes, video tapes, BetaCam SP, 3⁄4” U-Matic (4 boxes, 5 reels of film)
Creator: Joseph Pedott; Joseph Enterprises, Inc., San Francisco, California
Abstract: 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 is a recorded oral history of an interview with Joseph Pedott as well as a summary of the interview.
Repository: Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.;; 202-633-3270;
Collection Number: AC0898
Processing Note: Processed by Cassandra A. Schmitt, February, 2007; supervised by Alison Oswald and Wendy Shay, archivists.
© 2009 by the Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved.


Information for users of the collection

Conditions Governing Access: This collection is open for research use. Some restrictions apply to audio-visual materials.
Physical Access: Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an “as needed” basis, as resources allow.
Technical Access: Viewing the film portion of the collection without reference copies requires special appointment, please inquire.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution.  Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: Reproduction fees may apply.
Preferred Citation: [Title and date of item], Joseph Pedott Papers, 1976-2005, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXX


In-depth information about the collection

Administrative/biographical history
Scope and content
System of arrangement
Acquisition information
Related artifacts
Access points
Container listing

Administrative/biographical history

Joseph Pedott was born April 14, 1932 in San Francisco. 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 & 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.  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, 1976-2005, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Scope and content

The collection documents the Chia Pet and the Clapper products of Joseph Enterprises, Inc.  Other products represented include packaging and advertising campaigns by Joseph Pedott Advertising & Marketing for other companies.

Series 1, Oral History Interview, September 2004
Consists of two audio cassettes and an abstract of the oral history interview with Joseph Pedott.  John Fleckner, NMAH archivist, conducted the interview on September 20, 2004.

Series 2, Chia Pet, 1981-2005, undated
This series contains photographs, packaging, label copy and advertising for the Chia Pet, Chia Head, and Chia Cat.  Some ads feature the Chia Shrek, Chia Donkey and Chia Garfield. The photographs document the manufacture of clay Chia Pets in Mexico.

Series 3, The Clapper, 1976-1985, undated
Series contains correspondence, legal documents, advertising, packaging and blueprints related to the manufacture and marketing of the clapper. The correspondence is arranged chronologically and details the finances and manufacture of the Clapper. The majority of correspondence addresses parts/components and the associated drawings from the Taiwan Electronics Mfg. Corporation and the Taiwan William Computer Mfg. Corporation. There is some correspondence with Pedott’s attorney about trademark issues surrounding the Clapper.  The legal documents pertain to a 1984 breach of contract between Joseph Enterprises, Inc., and Real Time Technology Ltd., regarding the timely supply of a sonic control switch for the Clapper. The advertising materials contain a 1988 script for video and audio spots and the photographs depict the Clapper’s many uses.

Series 4, Scribe Ett, 1981, 1984, undated
The Scribe Ett series documents an engraving pen that identifies and decorates metal, plastic, leather and wood.  The documentation consists of advertisements, product literature, and contact sheets for a thirty-second commercial spot.

Series 5, Eversharp Pen Company, undated
This series contains advertising materials in the form of storyboards for two Eversharp Pen Company products, the “Tip-Wic” pen and fishing lures.

Series 6, Various Products, 1985, undated
Included are black-and-white photographs, correspondence, drawings, and packaging for the Garden Weasel™ (a Braucke product of Germany), the Cordwheel (a product of ReMAR, Inc.), the Pumpkin Light and Pumpkin Kutter, a champagne maker kit, hair dryer, coffee maker, blender, mixer, and crock pot.

Series 7, Newspaper Clippings, 1989-2004, undated
Consists mostly of photocopied newspaper clippings about the Chia Pet and Clapper.

Series 8, Video and Film Material, 1979-2005, undated
This series consists of BetaCam SP, 3⁄4” U-Matic, 1⁄2" VHS, and film documenting commercials and promotional spots featuring Joseph Enterprises, Inc., products. Special emphasis is on the Chia Pet and the Clapper.

System of arrangement

Series 1: Oral History Interview, September 2004
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 1, Commercials, 1979-2005
Subseries 2, Promotions, 1996-2001


Some business correspondence in Mandarin; some packaging in French and German.

Acquisition information

This collection was donated by Joseph Pedott, 2005.

Related artifacts

Related artifacts (Accession # 2005.3116) are located in the Division of Music, Sports, and Entertainment.

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

Access points

Popular Culture

Pedott, Joseph
Joseph Enterprises, Inc.
Joseph Pedott Advertising & Marketing
ATICO International, Ltd.
San Francisco, California
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Chicago, Illinois

Advertising--Display of merchandise
Advertising--Video tape advertising
Design Drawings
Motion pictures
Oral History

Container listing

Box Folder  
1 17 Oral history abstract, 2004 September
3 OTC 898.1 Oral history (archival original cassette), 2004 September
4 RTC 898.1 Oral history (reference copy cassette), 2004 September
    SERIES 2, CHIA PET, 1981-2005, UNDATED
1 1 Chia Pet, Manufacture (photographs), undated
2 1 Chia Pet, Packaging and advertising, circa 1980s
1 2 Chia Pet, Advertising, 1996 and undated
  3 The Clapper, Business Correspondence, 1984 February-1984 April
  4 The Clapper, Business Correspondence, 1984 May
  5 The Clapper, Business Correspondence,1984 June
  6 The Clapper, Business Correspondence, 1984 July
  7 The Clapper, Business Correspondence, 1984 August
  8 The Clapper, Business Correspondence, 1984 September-1984 October
  9 The Clapper, Manufacture, 1976-1985, undated
  10 The Clapper, Legal Documents, 1985
  11 The Clapper, Advertising, 1988, 2002
  12 The Clapper, Photographs, undated
2 2 The Clapper, Packaging and Advertising, circa 1980s
  8 The Clapper, blueprints, 1984
    SERIES 4, SCRIBE ETT, 1981, 1984, UNDATED
1 13 Scribe Ett, Packaging, 1984, undated
  14 Scribe Ett, Advertising, 1981, undated
2 3 Eversharp, Advertising- Pen, undated
  4 Eversharp, Advertising- Fishing Lures, undated
  5 Various Products, Packaging--Garden Weasel, undated
  6 Various Products, Packaging--Cordwheel, undated
  7 Various Products, Packaging--Pumpkin Light, undated
1 15 Various Products, Advertising, 1985, undated
    Subseries 1, Commercials, 1979-2005
OV 898.2
RV 898.2

Early Joseph Enterprises, Inc., Television Commercials
2005 April 5
Original: ½” VHS
Total Running Time: 16:36
1. Old Spots:
Garden Weasel with Jerry Baker, black-and-white
Hot iron cleaner, black-and-white
Quickie, an automatic sponge mop, black-and-white
Quickie, black-and-white
Sheer Magic, black-and-white
Entry Alert, black-and-white
Lumi-tronic by Lumiscope- for checking high blood pressure, black-and-white
Flontron- electric bug zapper, black-and-white
ENM Tapeless measure, black-and-white
ENM Stud Finder, color
2.  Garden Weasel with Jim Martindale, color
3.  2nd one 2-23-90
4.  Chia Pet- The Pottery that Grows, color, 1990 February 23, with demonstration and narration, “good friend and an adventure in growing”
5.  The Clapper, color, 1989 February 28, with narration and song
6.  The Clapper, color, 1989 December 28, with narration and song
7.  Great American Turn On, color, 1979 November 12, with narration

OV 898.3
RV 898.

Old Chia Spots, 1989-2000
Original: ½” VHS
Contains a variety of Chia and Clapper television commercials
1. Two Chia tree commercials
2. Chia pet commercials
3. 1 original Chia commercial with demonstration
4. At 5:40 Clapper commercials
5. 1992, Smart Clapper, color commercial
4. 1992 Chia Garden, color commercial
5. 1996 Chia, color commercial
6. 1996 “Archeologist” Chia, color commercial
7. Same
8. 1996 Mt. Chiamore, color commercial
9. 1995 Chia Herb garden, color commercial
10. same
11. 1996 Smart clapper color commercial
12. same
Then On loops beginning with the “Archeologist” commercial

OV 898.4
RV 898.4
Early Joseph Enterprises, Inc., Television Commercials, “Classic” Chia Pet, 2005 May 11
Original: ½” VHS
Total Running time: 05:45
1. early Chia Pet commercial, colored, with narration and demonstration
2. 1998 with narration, searching for the perfect gift, with song, contains Chia heads and pets, “treasure of a gift”
3. 1996, especially for Chia heads, with narration and song
4. 1900, focused marketing towards children, with narration and song
5. 2002, Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes characters, with narration and song
6. 2004
  OV 898.5

Early Joseph Enterprises, Inc., Television Commercials, “Classic” Clapper, 2005 May 11
Total Running Time: 03:31
1. color, narrated
2. 1989, color with narration and song
3. 1996, Smart Clapper
4. with narration and new song

    Subseries 2, Promotions, 1996-2001
  RV 898.6

“Displays Chia Herb Garden after Promo Prizes on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, 1996”
1. Jeopardy, 1995, Chia pet sponsor
2. Jeopardy, 1995 Chia herb garden sponsor
3. Wheel of Fortune, Chia herb garden sponsor
4. Wheel of Fortune, Chia pet sponsor

  OV 898.7

Joseph Enterprises, Inc., 1999 Promotional Tape
1999 January 8
Original: ½” VHS
Total Running Time: 08:20
A promotional tape highlighting the mention and use of the Chia Pet, the Clapper, and Joe Pedott in popular commercials, television shows, talk shows, movies, and comedy.  The list below includes the origins of all the clips.  The order of clips on the tape is not the same as the listing.  Clips are mixed and intermingled throughout the tape.  There is a montage of clapper scenes at the end of the video.
Clips are included from:
1. The Today Show- Katie Couric, references Clapper
2. Energizer Bunny Commercial, references Clapper
3. Jeopardy, references Chia
4. Jeff Foxworthy, references Clapper
5. Maury Povich, references Chia and Clapper
6. Frazier, references Clapper
7. Tonite Show- Jay Leno, references Chia
8. Tonite Show- Johnny Carson, references Chia
9. Ellen, references Chia
10. Murphy Brown, references Chia
11. Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
12. Beck’s Beer Commercial, references Chia
13. Big Comfy Couch- kids show
14. Eddie Murphy Movie
15. Saturday Night Live, references Chia
16. Guys Like Us, references Chia
17. Married with Children, references Chia
18. Ford Commercial, references Chia
19. The Pretender, references Chia
20. In Living Color, references Chia

4 RV 898.7-1 Joseph Enterprises, Inc., 1999 Promotional Tape
1999 January 8
Total Running Time; 08:20
Same description as above, OV 898.7
4 RV 898.7-2 Joseph Enterprises, Inc., 1999 Promotional Tape
1999 January 8
Total Running Time: 45:46, repeats after 08:20
Same description as OV 898.7, except will continue to loop for 60 minutes
OV 898.8
RV 898.8

Joseph Enterprises Product Mentions
Original: ½” VHS
Total Running Time: 19:00, on 60 minute loop
Clips of commercials, product mentions in popular television, movies, talk, and comedy shows.
1. Saturday Night Live (SNL)Jeopardy skit, references Clapper
2. Weirdest TV Products- #5 The Clapper, 1995
3. Weirdest TV Products- # 1 Chia Pet, 1995
4. I’ve Got a Secret with guest Joe Pedott
5. Spot for Chia merchandise including hats, sweatshirts, cups, and watches
6. Saturday Night Live Chia solution for male pattern baldness
7. Becks Beer Television Commercial, references Clapper
8. The Pretender, references Chia
9. Murphy Brown, references Chia
10. Ford car television commercial, references Chia
11. Ellen Show, references Chia
12. Today Show- Katie Couric, references Clapper
13. Eddie Murphy Movie, references Clapper
14. John Lithgow clip, references Clapper
15. Saturday Night Live Chia solution for male pattern baldness
16. Saturday Night Live skit, references Clapper
17. Married with Children, references Clapper
18. Clapper Christmas television commercial
19. Energizer Bunny television commercial, reference Clapper
20. Mr. Rogers, references Clapper
21. Suspicious Chia gift, suspense/crime show
22. Conan O’Brian, references Mr. T. Chia pet
23. TV sitcom, references “Chia chest” [invention by characters in the scene]
24. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, references Clapper
25. Cheesy Pet, “pour on cheese, you won’t believe your eyes,” references Chia

OV 898.9
RV 898.9

Joseph Pedott Advertising
2000 October 7
Original: BetaCam SP
Total Running Time: 00:60
1. Gift Chia Pet commercial
2. Chia Looney Tunes commercial

OV 898.10
RV 898.10

Joseph Pedott Advertising, Demo
2000 August 9
Original: BetaCam SP
1. Chia Pet and Clapper

OV 898.11
RV 898.11

Joseph Pedott Enterprises, “Chia Spots”
1996 September 3
Original: ¾” Umatic
1. Archaeologist, 60 seconds
2. Archaeologist, 30 seconds
3. Mt. Chiamore, no pet, 30 seconds
4. Holiday Gift, 60 seconds
5. Holiday Gift, 30 seconds

OV 898. 12

Joseph Pedott Advertising & Marketing
1992 October 11
Original: 1” videotape
1. The Smart Clapper, 60 seconds
2. The Smart Clapper, 30 seconds
3. Kids Chia Herb Garden, 30 seconds
4. Chia Herb Garden, 30 seconds
5. Chia Herb Garden, 60 seconds

3 OT 898.13

Joseph Pedott Advertising, Tradeway Sales
1992 November 16
Original: 1” videotape
1. Chia Pet, 30 seconds
2. Chia Pet, 30 seconds
3. Herb Garden, 30 seconds
4. Herb Garden 30 seconds



Last Update: 1 Apr 2009

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