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33 minutes 34 seconds ago PROMOTIONS ARTICLE FROM "CTO" MAGAZINE by Jack Sim

This past week we discussed give-a-ways and I mentioned I had written some articles about them for "CTO" magazines.
Today while looking for something else I came across this article. Thought you might like to read it. Sorry, the pictures are not with article, so I don't have them available. I probably wrote this article around 2002.



No one knows who first used a promotion to sell gasoline. It was probably the first time a new service station moved in across the street from an existing station, or when an independent moved into an area controlled by majors. Price wars were not a product of the 1960s, they occurred as early as the 1920s. Service was stressed as the way to draw business. But after all these things were tried, somebody turned to a promotion.

As early as 1922 ads for promotions started to appear in National Petroleum News (NPN). One of the first ads was for coupon books. Coupon books, usually sold at a discount, were for a specific amount of trade. Early versions were used to attract business to a single location but later versions, such as the one issued by the National Checking Company for the National Petroleum Marketers Association, (PIC. #1) could be used at any of their stations. The Rand McNally ad of 1922 (PIC. #2 shows the Standard Oil, the Texas Company, Sinclair, Associated and Manhattan Oil were using coupon books at some of their stations. Robberies of stations were a concern, even in the 1920s, and coupon books were advertised as a means of reducing the amount of cash on hand.
By 1928 ads for merchandise were appearing in NPN. The ad from The United Potteries Co. of Canton, Ohio, stressed added gallonage from the use of their products (PIC. #3) . Could this be the first set of dishes ever given away at a service station? Some of the other promotional items they were advertising were cushions, stools, one-gallon Thermo jugs and reserve gasoline cans. The Salem China Co. of Salem, Ohio also advertised that their Antique Ivory Dinnerware would increase your gallonage (PIC. #4).

The 1920s also saw the first use of road maps as a promotion. Oil companies started giving away road maps for the states that they had stations located in. Conoco, who had stations in only 15 states, was one of the firsts to give away maps for all states as a goodwill gesture. Conoco hadn’t started using tour guides as yet, but they would be coming soon. Standard gave away one of the earliest almanacs in the 1920s.

Lighter fluid dispensers started to appear on the counters at service stations. Calendars, blotters, pencils, key rings, watch fobs, gas tank dip sticks, saw their start in the 1920s.

“L. V. White, president of The L.V. White Company, of Kalamazoo, was taking a friend on a tour of inspection of their twelve courtesy stations thoughout the city. After seeing these fine stations and their strategic locations – in various districts of city and on main arterial highways in and out of Kalamazoo, the friend casually remarked that “some day such valuable locations will become community market centers for products other than gasoline and motor oils.”” This sounds like something that was said in the 1990s, but it appeared in a story in Petroleum Age in 1931. Less than three months later Mr. White placed a “Sanivender” in each of his twelve stations (PIC. #5). The “Sanivenders” sold cigars, cigarettes, package confectionery, ice cream and bottled drinks. Sales actually reached as much as $31.00 per day at these locations. Another promotion ahead of its time.

In 1932, NPN published a picture of a table full of premiums they had accumulated from service stations in the Chicago area. On the table were close to 50 items including salt and peppershakers, dishes, glasses, towels, aprons, pillows, cupid dolls, pitchers and figurines (PIC. #6).

The 1930s brought promotions of all kinds. Pure, in 1935, sold birdhouses (PIC. #7) patterned in miniature after their current English Cottage type stations. Sinclair had a scratch off and punch card game to promote gallonage. Miniature gas stations with just about all the major brand names on the globes were being sold. The 1930s also saw the start of famous persons representing oil companies in their ads and promotions items. Ed Wynn for Texaco, local radio personalities for SOHIO. Matchbook covers, ashtrays, paper fans and even first aid kits started sporting oil company logos.

By the 1950s, with the resumption of gasoline sales without ration books, a full-scale promotion war began. Stamp books, coin sets, glasses with company logos printed on them, cook books, banks of plastic, glass and ones shaped as oil cans, window scrapers, playing card chips with a Mobil Pegasus logo, razor blades with Texaco, thimbles with Gulf, sewing kits with Esso, combs with Magnolia and who could forget the miniature gas pump salt and pepper shakers. Other items included screw drivers, tankers, presidential button, flag and antique automobile stamp books PIC. #8). Oil companies started expanding their line of accessories especially Socony (Mobil) with their Tavern line and Sinclair came out with just about everything with a dinosaur on it.

Promotions spilled into the 1960s with more of the same. We saw kites, soap, dolls, boats, yachts, fire hats, and clickers. You name it, they put an oil company logo on it. Promotions still exist today, while not to the extent we saw them in the 1950s and 1960s but they are still out there. On a recent 90-day trip to the Netherlands, I arrived during the start of a six-month coin promotion by the Shell Oil Company.

While this article was somewhat of a quick look at promotions it will also serve as a beginning of a series of articles on various promotions. Next issue will feature some glasses given away to promote gas sales. Other articles on coins and stamps will also appear later. I’m sure some of you have had some promotion catch your eye and you have specialized in it. How about writing an article or if you need help, we’ll write it if you will supply the pictures and background information?

Jack Sim

5 Views · 0 Comments
38 minutes 29 seconds ago 32 SHELL PENCILS MADE BY BLACKFEET INDIAN COMPANY by Jack Sim

32 unused pencils, possibly a give-a-way from Shell Oil Company.
What is unusual about these pencils is who made them. They were made by the original Blackfeet Indian Writing Company when the company was still on the reservation in Browning, Montana.

There are many articles about the Blackfeet and these pencils on the web, one of the best I read is:


Shown is one pack of twelve. I have two complete packs and one pack that has only 8 in it. The pencils are like new, the box is in poor condition.

Buy all 32 with the box for $100.00 shipped in the U.S.
If I don't sell them as a set in 48 hours, I will sell individual pencils.

First to post here, then email me at: jhsim@petrocollect.com for payment details.

We do accept Paypal with no added fees.

Jack Sim


13 Views · 0 Comments
Today at 05:57 PM Humble Porcelain Sign REAL or FAKE you tell me by johninlongview

I bought this some time ago and I've had a couple of these. One I have has six holes and this one has 4 holes. I'm thinkng
"why would they repop this sign???" I priced it to a guy because I'm keeping one and he thinks it's a repop because it doesn't have 6 holes. Here is a pic of the front and the back.

What do you think?

30 Views · 1 Comments
Today at 05:23 PM Looking for Shoebox globe body by dundign

Looking for Shoebox globe body with or without lens... Any leads would be appreciated.. Thxs Tom

21 Views · 0 Comments
Today at 05:00 PM Keep checking back... by Catauladave

I put one of my friends onto this Fry 17/Wayne conversion awhile back and I told him to keep checking with the guy. The gentleman that owned the pump passed away last week and the oldest son was liquidating items to raise funds for his mother's expenses.He called him and told him to come get it. We finally got it loaded after releasing it from a 10" think concrete slab. Everyone was happy. Dave

71 Views · 1 Comments
Today at 03:53 PM Early Atlantic Sign by PlainBroke

Went to look at a couple old coke machines and came home with this. Hanging in an old barn with a few other bullet ridden signs. Measures 20" X 28". Assuming this is the real deal and not a repop but wanted a consensus from this esteemed group of experts.


90 Views · 4 Comments
Today at 01:07 PM Red Indian Thermometer??? by VEEDOL_AL1

any thoughts on this thermometer???just curious to hear from the experts...
its on EBAY##111554158740..I thought about bidding on it but just not sure about it.
txs Alan

109 Views · 4 Comments
Today at 12:37 PM 6ft texaco by jdDanny

Nice 6ft double sided sign. No extra holes. Just the little bit of pitting and rust spots. $800 Located in Gilbert sc

197 Views · 0 Comments
Today at 10:28 AM New finish by cbdeajr

Just wanting some ideals on refinishing my tok 300. What type of paint to use or power coat finish, etc.

106 Views · 5 Comments
Today at 09:54 AM rusting metal by gasgeezer

Ive got an old visible im putting back together and am leaving it all rusty. Problem is it needs new cylinder rods as mine twisted off and I can make new ones but how do I make them look REAL old with out waiting for mother time. A simple acid bath with muratic acid doesn't do the trick? Any new tricks for an old dog?

189 Views · 5 Comments
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