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Oil company promotional postcard, 1912

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Oil company promotional postcard, 1912
NMAH, Archives Center, Warshaw Collection


This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — The Human Cost of Roads

Oil company promotional postcard, 1912
Oil company promotional postcard, 1912

An early car wreck
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This card, sent in 1912 to a resident of New York, used the image of a car wreck to sell oil. By comparing crashing your car to not changing the oil, the Monogram Oil Company hoped to persuade the recipients of this postcard to change their oil and use a reputable brand of the lubricant.
Physical Description
postcard. The front shows a wrecked vehicle, with a number of people standing around it. The back reads “Poor Oil did not do this BUT if you use poor oil the results will almost be as bad—for the damage will not show until your car has to goto the repair shop. Don't take any changes use Monogram Oil sold by [illegible].” Card is postmarked Sep 18, 5-PM, 1923 New York. There is a one cent stamp with the head of George Washington on it affixed to the postcard, and cancelled. The postcard is hand addressed to "Col. A. Brown, Highland Park, Batavia, N.Y. "
Date Made:
New York
The first person to be killed in a car accident died in New York city in 1899. He was not the last—automobiles have been responsible for thousands of deaths. In 1913, more than 4,000 people died in car accidents. By the 1930s, more than 30,000 people died every year. Automobile accidents became a part of people's lives, and was incorporated into advertising, novels, songs, and postcards.

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