‘Dino’ the Sinclair Dinosaur – a Philatelic Exhibit

After collecting Sinclair dinosaur postage metered mail for so long since first preparing an exhibit (30 years is a long time!), it’s time to revise the old exhibit. So, starting with the two initial logo designs, here’s the first 12 pages. Click on the title page to view the exhibit pages.

Sinclair_title

Sinclair Dinosaur Postage Meter Title Page

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Sinclair Dinosaur Postage Meters – Part 2

Dates of use for the Sinclair postage meters (Part 1) are not recorded anywhere that I’m able to find, so I’ve started and maintain this listing along with several other collectors (Mr. Saul Friess of Miami, Mon. Dominique Robillard and Mon. Maurice Gardiol of France). We hope this is of use to you in your search for ‘Dino’ the dinosaur!

Design 1

Type 1-O (Opaline)

Type 1-O (Opaline)

Type 1-O (Meter #, Color, EKU, LKU)

  • 00000 Blue 11-01-34 Specimen
  • 01008 Green 06-04-40 08-01-40
  • 01027 Blue 11-14-36 03-10-39
  • 01027 Green 03-14-39 03-31-39
  • 01111 Red 11-06-34 —
  • 01111 Green 05-01-36 11-05-37
  • 01144 Blue 09-21-38 12-09-38
  • 01153 Blue 11-10-34 12-04-34
  • 01248 Red 10-26-34 12-04-34
  • 01712 Green 10-17-39 06-13-41
  • 55098 Blue 05-27-35 10-18-35
Type 1-P (Pennsylvania)

Type 1-P (Pennsylvania)

Type 1-P (Meter #, Color, EKU, LKU)

  • 01027 Blue 10-10-34 12-27-34
  • 01111 Green 12-08-39 01-10-39
  • 01144 Green 03-22-35 06-02-37
  • 01144 Blue 02-02-38 05-04-38
  • 01248 Red 04-05-35 01-17-36
  • 01712 Green 11-04-41 03-02-42
  • 55098 Blue 06-08-35 06-29-35

 

Design 2

Type 2-O (Opaline)

Type 2-O (Opaline)

Type 2-O (Meter #, Color, EKU, LKU)

  • 00000 Blue 07-19-34 Specimen
  • 12101 Blue 03-07-36 —
  • 12526 Blue 10-22-35 —
  • 80042 (red) 10-05-37 (reported)
  • 80893 Blue 04-25-39 07-20-39
  • 81740 Blue 05-02-36 —
  • 81874 Blue 08-23-35 —
  • 82001 Blue 06-04-36 —

 

Type 2-P (Pennsylvania)

Type 2-P (Pennsylvania)

Type 2-P (Meter #, Color, EKU, LKU)

  • 12526 (blue) 10-06-34 (reported)
  • 80893 Blue 05-05-38 —
  • 81740 Blue 09-17-35 (04-22-37)

 

 

Sinclair Oil Company Post Card for 1933 Century of Progress

The ‘Century of Progress International Exposition’ was held during 1933-1934 in celebration of Chicago’s centennial. Also known as the Chicago World’s Fair, the most advanced technology available was on display for the pleasure of attendees. One of the more popular pavilions was Sinclair Refining Company’s 2 ton, animated exhibit of ‘Dino the Dinosaur’. The intent was to associate the origin of the product’s raw materials with vast age, insinuating it was better quality. People could not fathom how large these animals really were until they stood near this giant and even then, it was difficult to believe. The dinosaur’s popularity resulted in the company’s use on mail advertising beginning the same year in the form of Sinclair Dinosaur Illustrated Postage Meter Slogans.

Sinclair Dinosaur Exhibit at the Century of Progress

Sinclair Dinosaur Exhibit at the Century of Progress

Text on the rear of the post card reads:

“Sinclair Dinosaur Exhibit – The Dinosaur Exhibit built by the Sinclair Refining Company at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago is the first attempt to recreate out-of-doors a portion of the earth’s surface as it existed 100 million years ago. The huge beast shown on the card is a Brontosaurus. He bulked 40 tons in life and was 70 feet long.”

Obverse of post card depicting 'Dino the Dinosaur'

Obverse of post card depicting ‘Dino the Dinosaur’

This post card, printed in DEEPTONE color by R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., Chicago, was an opportunity to use the public’s fascination with dinosaurs as free advertisement for the company. I was told many years ago that a second post card exists with a similar design but I’ve never seen it in the 50 years I’ve collected this material.
Sinclair Post Card Used from Century of Progress Exposition

Sinclair card used from Exposition with postmark

The real treasure when it comes to this post card however is an example of one actually mailed from the exposition’s post office – what a wonderfully exciting find this was!

Sinclair Dinosaur Postage Meters – Part 1

Mail of the Sinclair Oil Company from 1934 through 1968 utilized postage meters with illustrated advertising slugs which included the likeness of a dinosaur. The image of ‘Dino the Sinclair Dinosaur’ as the company logo was used to indicate the age of the raw materials used to make their oil and gas products.

Examples of this mail are the earliest items to depict dinosaurs and represent the scarcer philatelic material available in this thematic subject. Over the span of 40 years collecting these meters, nine basic designs of the advertising slug have been recorded from the U.S. and three types internationally. The major varieties on six of the U.S. basic designs are shown below.

In future posts, we’ll discuss the cities of origin, meter machine numbers, machine manufacturers, corner cards, and sub-varieties such as ink color, are also of interest. For the moment, let’s review only the basic designs. The dates of use listed are those years I’ve been able to verify and they may change as more information is obtained. Your assistance is always welcomed and solicited to further clarify the use of these advertising postage meters.

Please note – the words ‘Opaline’ and ‘Pennsylvania’ refer to oil types. Opaline was a brand purchased by Sinclair and retained its name under Sinclair ownership.

Design 1

Comes in two types. The text bubble is directly above the dinosaur and the dinosaur measures 33mm wide by 16mm high. The readily apparent difference is in the text – ‘Opaline’ in the first type as opposed to ‘Pennsylvania’ in the second. The ‘Opaline’ type also includes a small line of text ‘REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.’ (Registered United States Patent Office) below the word ‘Opaline’. Used from 1934 through 1942.

Type 1-O (Opaline)

Type 1-O (Opaline)

Type 1-P (Pennsylvania)

Type 1-P (Pennsylvania)

Design 2

Comes in two types. The text bubble is above the dinosaur’s tail and the dinosaur measures 32mm wide by 12mm high. This design looks similar to design 1, but the smaller size of the dinosaur is readily visible. Used from 1934 through 1939.

(NOTE: Even though this design uses an earlier machine type, the earliest date known is after the use of type 1)

Type 2-O (Opaline)

Type 2-O (Opaline)

Type 2-P (Pennsylvania)

Type 2-P (Pennsylvania)

Design 3

Comes in two types. The text bubble is above the dinosaur and extends to the left. The dinosaur measures 25mm wide and 11mm high. This dinosaur is much more elongated body than in the first two designs. Used from 1940 through 1959.

Type 3-O (Opaline)

Type 3-O (Opaline)

Type 3-P (Pennsylvania)

Type 3-P (Pennsylvania)

Design 4

Comes in two types. The text bubble is above the dinosaur and the dinosaur measures 31mm wide and 13mm high. This dinosaur is similar to design 3 but larger overall. Used from 1940 through 1950.

Type 4-O (Opaline)

Type 4-O (Opaline)

Type 4-P (Pennsylvania)

Type 4-P (Pennsylvania)

Design 5

Comes in only one type. The text is not in a bubble and the dinosaur now wears a jacket, bow tie and hat reminiscent of those worn by gas station attendants of the time. Used from 1957 through 1963.

Type 5

Type 5

Design 6

Comes in two types. The size of the advertising slug differs, 6a being 44mm wide and 19mm high and 6b being 50mm wide and 25mm high, both with a tiny dinosaur image in the Sinclair logo. Used from 1962 through 1964.

Type 6a (small logo)

Type 6a (small logo)

Type 6b (large logo)

Type 6b (large logo)

Design 7

Comes in only one type. This design utilizes an oil can as the main theme with the image of ‘Dino’ being a small detail (similar to a design used in Belgium). Used during 1963.

Type 7

Type 7

Design 8

Comes in only one type. This design was an advertisement for the Sinclair Oil Company’s ‘Dinoland‘ pavilion at the New York World’s Fair. Used from 1964 through 1965.

Type 8

Type 8

Design 9

Comes in two types. The name ‘Dino’ is in text and no illustration of the dinosaur is part of the design. The variation occurs in the wording: ‘Play Double Dino Dollars’ or ‘Play New Dino Dollars’. Used during 1968.

Type 9a (DOUBLE)

Type 9a (DOUBLE)

Type 9b (NEW)

Type 9b (NEW)

Sinclair Postage Meter from Belgium

Regardless of how long we collect, there is always something that eludes us, sometimes for many years as is the case with this item. We know of these things often by accident and it’s only as a matter of luck that I even have this image.

‘Dino the Sinclair Dinosaur’ was a popular motif used as a logo by the Sinclair Oil Company. First used during the early 1930s and then again during the 1950s and 1960s, several major design styles were used as advertising on metered mail from a number of larger cities in the U.S. In addition, at least three countries other than the U.S., namely Belgium, Italy, and Venezuela also used versions of the logo on metered mail.

Sinclair Postage Meter from Belgium

Sinclair Postage Meter from Belgium

So, my search continues and that’s part of the lure of collecting, the chase is often more fun than the possession… That said, I’d still like to own a copy of this meter some day.