Randall: Remembering items donated by Weedsport companies | Lifestyles

At one time, it was common to obtain a “bonus” during a purchase to encourage subsequent purchase of the item in question. I may still use tea towels or washcloths, obtained as a bonus from boxes of laundry detergent. Other items so distributed included crockery, glassware, crockery and the like. I still have a nice set of Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias I got at Weedsport Big M over the course of several months for buying “X” dollars worth of groceries a week. They look good on the shelf, but haven’t been opened since I got my first computer. If there’s anything I should be grateful for, it’s that they were free and didn’t cost me thousands of dollars like the Encyclopædia Britannica and other very expensive reference book sets.

I thought of “Something for Nothing” and snooped around the museum last week, and found an incredible amount of local advertisements being handed out to customers, or potential customers, at any given time. Calendars were always at the top of the list; in fact, they are still distributed at the end of the year by many companies. They ranged from the large Currier and Ives models distributed by the Howe Insurance Agency and later Howe-Ward for many years, to the magnificent calendar/thermometer combinations issued by Lamphere & Van Hoover for as long as they were in business. Clarence Van Hoover and Harold Lamphere operated a gas station at the intersection of West Brutus Street and Erie Drive (now Muzzi’s D’Italia Ice) The gas station was unusual in that they sold Sunoco gas on the Brutus side of the building and Tydol on the Erie Drive side. One of the attached photos shows the 1955 model. The calendars were on the back.

As mentioned, thermometers were a high demand item, as were postcards and business cards, can and bottle openers, pens and pencils, and in earlier times, ice picks, hooks to button your shoes (there were no velcro straps for heavy people). like me at the time!), shoe horns, ladies’ fans and many other practical items. Later, ashtrays were common gifts, as were stallions, folding rulers, litter bags for cars, jar openers and soda bottle resealers. (Speaking of which, when students returned to school in Weedsport each September, they would find a few pencils and a one-foot ruler on their desks, compliments of Bill Spier, manager of the Auburn Coke-bottling plant. Cola.) The rule was referred to as “The Golden Rule” and inscribed on it was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. As expected, I still have mine!

Matches have always been popular, as have shot glasses, license plate frames, windshield scrapers, nail aprons, penknives, thimbles, miniature cream glasses and many other useful articles. A few of the more unusual items in our collection are a broom and mop holder donated by the Brutus Roller Mill and a 1950 Chevrolet model car donated by the Guy H. Lamphere Chevrolet agency. The second photo with this column is a business card distributed by Smithler’s Garage. Bob Smithler ran a garage and body shop in the former Richfield, then Gulf gas station, where Weedsport Electric Motors is now located. The card notes on the back, “Smile And The World Smiles With You”, and on flipping the card (or, in your case, the diary page upside down), it says “Grouch And You Will Grouch Alone “. Check out the clever works of art!

Denny Randall is a past president of the Old Brutus Historical Society and a member of the Weedsport Central School class of 1957.