Vintage advertising thermometers
Vintage advertising thermometers are promotional items, designed to advertise brands, products and companies. History
Advertising thermometers were first produced in the early 1900s, for use in public places, as a method of displaying a brand name in a prominent position.
Often this would be outdoors, so the earliest examples were made of durable metal.
Some examples were made of wood, but these were not so lasting and comparatively few examples survive. Often, antique wooden advertising thermometers are for unknown local brands and companies. They are still of interest to collectors, but as examples of antique advertising: the actual brand advertised has less of a bearing than with metal thermometers.
Common designs included round clock face temperature dial thermometers, and vertical rectangular thermometers with a mercury metre. Thermometers that advertised a brand of beer or soda would sometimes take the shape of the bottle.
The Pam Clock company were active in producing thermometers on the behalf of companies between 1940 and 1976.
Later, promotional thermometers were produced as items of collectible merchandise for consumers to have in their homes. These vintage examples are also popular with collectors.
Collectors of antique & vintage advertising thermometers may choose to focus one on brand, for example Coca-Cola thermometers, or one type of product, for example beer thermometers, cigarette thermometers or gas thermometers.
The value is likely to vary depending on the popularity of the brand advertised, and the age of the item. Condition also has a bearing on worth. As many examples were used outside or in public places, they were exposed to much wear and tear over the years. Buy the best condition you can afford.
Advertising thermometers can be found on eBay, in second hand stores, garage sales and flea markets, as well as at auctions focused on antique & vintage advertising collectibles. Many are sold in job lots, and it could well be worth purchasing these as they may contain a gem that will become rare and sought after in the future.
The market is suffused with modern reproductions of vintage thermometers. It is important to check the authenticity of any ‘genuine vintage’ advertising thermometer. Be suspicious of anything too pristine, and of sellers offering several examples of the same advertising thermometer.
- Moxie tin advertising thermometer, sold for $2,250 at Morphy Auctions in 2007
- Coca-cola Pam clock-face thermometer, sold for $1,700 at Morphy Auctions in 2007
- Wooden thermometer advertising The New Birdsall Company Factory, sold for $1,700 at Noel Barrett in 2011
- Black & White tobacco advertising thermometer, sold for $1,000 at Cowan’s in 2010