Steam & Gas Engine Pinbacks

Theodore L. Hake
May/June 1976

[See story on steam & Gas Engine Pinbacks] Courtesy of Theodore L. Hake, 1753 Westwood Road, York, Pennsylvania 17403.
Theodore L. Hake


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1753 West-wood Road, York, Pa. 17403

Buttons picturing old steam equipment are part of most modern day steam and gas engine meets, but 1896 was the year buttons became available to manufacturer of steam and gas engines to boost sales of their products.

The Whitehead & Hoag Co. of Newark, N.J. obtained the first patents on pinback buttons and issued an amazing variety of buttons in 1896. In addition to buttons for political campaigns, the company was soon producing thousands of button designs for manufacturers of every product imaginable. Tobacco, gum and candy companies made particular use of buttons issued as sets and given free with a purchase of the product.

Buttons picturing steam and gas engines were made primarily between 1896 and 1920. This was precisely the time when button designing was at its peak. The intricate designs and wide variety of color inks used to print the button papers resulted in exceptionally beautiful buttons rarely matched in later years.

Today, button collectors highly prize steam and gas engine buttons because they are so attractive and well designed. Prices range from $5 - $7 for the J. I. Case button (fairly common) to $25-$30 for The New Huber button (both shown in photo).

As a dealer in Americana & Collectibles, I offer several steam and gas engine buttons along with other collectible buttons in each of the 60 page mail bid auction catalogues I issue bimonthly (for the latest catalogue send $1 to Hake's Americana & Collectibles POB 1444 York, Pa. 17405).

The following list of steam and gas engine manufacturers issued buttons as a means of advertising. A number after the company name indicates the number of different buttons seen to date. If readers can add other company names to the list, I would appreciate knowing what they are.

Steam Equipment Manufacturers, Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co., Avery Mfg. Co. (2), The A. D. Baker Co., Buffalo Pitts Co. (2) J. I. Case Co. (3), Fripk Co. (2) The Huber (4) Minneapolis-Moline Co. (2) Nichols & Shepard Traction Engine (2), Port Huron (2) Robinson & Co., The Russell & Co. (2).

Gas Engine Manufacturers, 'Chore Boy' Associated Manufacturers' Co.M Waterloo, Iowa; 'Badger' Gasoline Engines, Christen sen Engineering Co. Milwaukee, Wis., Cushman - Original Binder Engine, Root & Van Dervoort Engineering Co., White Gasoline Hoist, York Gasoline Engine.

Oil Tractors, Hart-Parr Oil Tractors, Rumely Oil Pull Tractor.








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