The salesmen of the era would ride the trains with their sample case and sell a wide variety of different industrial goods.

The famous 1962  movie "The Music Man" is based upon a traveling salesman who sold musical instruments.

Most of the U.S. souvenir spoons that exist
are derived from salesmen who went from town to town and jeweler to jeweler to sell their silver spoons.

Companies at this time did not have a benefits package for their employees so many
organizations were founded to provide medical insurance and other basic necessities.

The UCT was formed in Columbus, Ohio in 1888 as a fraternal organization to protect traveling salemen. (commercial travelers)

UCT  commercial travelers spoon

comercial travelers spoon bowl 

The Commercial Travelers of  America still exists as a combined fraternal organization and insurance company to provide benefits to its members.

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