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G. G. Naugle ad in 1936 Hellam Business Show program (Collection of York County History Center) and 1936 photo of G. G. Naugle standing in front of his Taylor Cub airplane (Collections of S. H. Smith)

Gas station giveaways from airplane rides to lunar landers

York County service stations featured giveaways ranging from airplane rides to lunar landers. These promotional gifts were a means to entice customer loyalty for particular gasoline brands or stations.

G. G. Naugle’s service station operated during the 1930s; along the Lincoln Highway in Stony Brook, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA. Naugle’s Service Station not only sold gasoline and oil; it also featured a restaurant, tourist cabins, and was a sales and service location for Taylor Cub Airplanes, which he flew out of an adjoining field.

The following announcement appears in the program for the 1936 Hellam Business Show. Quoting the ad: “A Free Airplane Ride with $15.00 worth of any kind of business with G. G. Naugle.” The photo shows Naugle standing in front of his Taylor Cub airplane.

G. G. Naugle ad in 1936 Hellam Business Show program (Collection of York County History Center) and 1936 photo of G. G. Naugle standing in front of his Taylor Cub airplane (Collections of S. H. Smith)

By the time the 1936 ad appeared, over 200 customers of G. G. Naugle had availed themselves of this promotion; receiving their first airplane ride experience. One has to remember in 1936 gasoline only cost 21-cent, which includes PA tax; thus $15.00 purchased over 70 gallons of gasoline, or about a half-dozen fill-ups for automobiles of that era.

In 1969 I usually stopped for gas at the Gulf service station along North Hills Road; across the street from the elementary school I had attended. One of Gulf’s promotions that summer was a kit, from which a Lunar Module model could be built of the lander that would fly to the surface of the moon as the Eagle, becoming Tranquility Base upon landing on July 20, 1969.

This illustration, of the completed lunar module model, comes from the kit instructions that I retrieved from my 1969 file folder in my collections.

From assembly instructions with Lunar Module kit promotion by Gulf Oil Company during the summer of 1969 (Collections of S. H. Smith)

The kit contained four heavy weight paper sheets and required cutting, folding, inserting tabs and sliding various pieces together. My paper Lunar Module was neat; it hung above my collection of model rockets, I’d flown through the mid-60s; a collection eventually thrown out.

Via an Internet search, I discovered a high resolution pdf file containing the four images for that kit, with enhanced colors, at this LINK. I suppose, if printed on the heavy weight paper, that paper Lunar Module could still be built today. If so, the following illustrations from the original kit may be helpful. If anybody builds this model of the Lunar Module, send me a photo.

From assembly instructions with Lunar Module kit promotion by Gulf Oil Company during the summer of 1969 (Collections of S. H. Smith)
From assembly instructions with Lunar Module kit promotion by Gulf Oil Company during the summer of 1969 (Collections of S. H. Smith)
From assembly instructions with Lunar Module kit promotion by Gulf Oil Company during the summer of 1969 (Collections of S. H. Smith)

Another Gulf giveaway promotion in 1969 was their United States Savings Stamps promotion. The 1969 photo of the North Hills Road Gulf station features a WE GIVE sign with that giveaway. Below that sign is a notice for the $1.00 book the station was selling: “The Story of Man In Space.”

Gulf Service Station on northeast corner of North Hills Road and Whiteford Road (now Route 30) with North Hills Elementary School (on the northwest corner) in the background (Circa 1969 photo in Springettsbury Township Historic Preservation Committee Archives)

That Savings Stamps promotion worked on me; I kept coming back until I had enough stamps to get a U. S. Savings Bond. I forgot all the details, however they were easily retrieved:

For every dollar spent at a Gulf Service Station, the customer got an American Way Dividend Coupon. Every five of those coupons could be exchanged at the Gulf dealer for a 10-cent U. S. Savings Stamp. Save $18.75 worth of U. S. Savings Stamps and receive a $25 U. S. Savings Bond.

By the late 1990s, gas stations were generally winding down giveaway promotions. Around that time, I often stopped at one of several York area Sunoco stations. Their promotional items during 1999 were a series of ten millennium bronze coins.

Sunoco 1999 promotional coin recognizing Man’s First Moon Landing in 1969 (Collections of S. H. Smith)

The coins were 1-3/16 inch diameter, and recognized ten significant events.
Coin 1—1492: COLUMBUS DISCOVERS AMERICA
Coin 2—1776: DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Coin 3—1787: SIGNING OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
Coin 4—1863: EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION
Coin 5—1876: FIRST TELEPHONE
Coin 6—1893: FIRST AUTOMOBILE
Coin 7—1903: WRIGHT BROTHERS FIRST FLIGHT
Coin 8—1920: AMERICAN WOMEN’S RIGHT TO VOTE
Coin 9—1969: MAN’S FIRST MOON LANDING
Coin 10—2000: THE THIRD MILLENIUM

Of all the gas station giveaways, in my opinion, the coolest remains the airplane ride giveaway by G. G. Naugle during the 1930s.

G. G. Naugle ad in 1936 Hellam Business Show program (Collection of York County History Center) and 1936 photo of G. G. Naugle standing in front of his Taylor Cub airplane (Collections of S. H. Smith)

Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos and illustrations in this post.

Links to other service station posts:

Square Deal Garage in north end of Spry
Spurg’s drive-in of Spry began as a gas station
The 1920s Lincoln Highway Garage in Hallam

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