Dinosaur Fever — Sinclair’s Icon
Formed by Harry F. Sinclair in 1916, Sinclair Oil Corporation, is one of the oldest continuous names in the oil industry. The company will create a marketing icon whose popularity with children – and educational value – remains to this day.
Sinclair’s famous Brontosaurus trademark made its debut on May 27, 1933, at the“Century of Progress” World’s Fair in Chicago.
Known more correctly as Apatosaurus, the green giant and his accompanying cast of dinosaurs were a huge success.
The oil company records its “most successful single promotion was the issuance in 1935 of a dinosaur stamp album which could be filled only with colored dinosaur stamps issued one at a time weekly at service stations.”
The first printing of Sinclair’s dinosaur stamp albums – distributed through its dealers within 48 hours after a single network radio broadcast of the offer – would astound marketing professionals. The company notes, “The final totals were 4 million albums and 48 million stamps.”
“Dino” would become an enduring icon of successful marketing. Sinclair’s dinosaur exhibit draws crowds again at the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
Refurbished, the 70-foot fiberglass green giant and his companions – including a 45-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex - will return to New York for yet another world’s fair in 1964-1965.
In 1964, spectators along the Hudson River were amazed to see a barge crowded with an improved Dino and his kin floating downriver. The supersized reptiles were again bound for a New York World’s Fair.
Ten million visitors marveled at Sinclair’s “Dinoland” exhibit – and Dino’s travels did not end when the fair closed in October 1965.
After being disassembled and configured for an extended road trip, Dino began visiting shopping centers and other venues where crowds of children were introduced to the wonders of prehistory, courtesy of Sinclair.
After traveling more 10,000 miles through 25 states and 38 major cities, Dino retired to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. He can still be seen there today.
The Historical Museum of Independence, Kansas, includes an Oil Room, celebrating Sinclair’s Mid-Continent oilfield production and refining heritage.
The museum’s Old Post Office building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. On display at a nearby public park is Corythosaurus – one the dinosaurs from Sinclair’s “Dinoland” exhibit at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.
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