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History of bidding escapes Internet

By Jeff Moore

Being somewhat new to the gathering and analysis of bids, I was eventually curious as to how the concept of bidding began.

The Internet was useless for straight “history of bidding” searches and any permutation of those words just befuddled things more. Refining my search to include the origins of cities and public work projects got me a little closer.

The earliest record for anything remotely related to the bidding process is found on a 2750 BCE Mesopotamian clay tablet regarding contract suretyship. The etchings on it describe a land-use contract between two staidly clodhoppers with a local merchant acting as the surety.

And that’s it.

There is no history of the concept of bidding, bid letting, construction bidding, etc., as far as the Internet is concerned. Best I can peg it is sometime between the rise of proper cities and the Industrial Revolution, which is useless.

But you didn’t come here to read up on my failed Internet searches.

What is more attainable may be the history of construction bidding in Wisconsin. Has it always been this seemingly sterile process or was there a time when jobs were actually given out in an auction type atmosphere? Was there more ritual and ceremony involved than simply submitting a sealed envelope at a given time?

If anyone has any interesting stories or memories they’d like to share about past or current bidding rituals in Wisconsin, feel free to leave them as a comment or e-mail me and I’ll throw something together for a future blog entry.

I realize this may be somewhat of a pretentious project but I’m a big fan of pretension. It means “an aspiration or intention that may or may not reach fulfillment.” It doesn’t mean failing upward; it means trying to exceed your grasp.

That is how things grow.

Jeff Moore is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. After reading this blog, the Google police may be paying him a visit.

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