In the 1950s it was popular for businesses to promote constant and word-of-mouth advertising by giving away useful items. Among the most common promotional items were desk and wall calendars, matchbooks, shoe horns and writing instruments.
It was also common for business to offer more elaborate tools and household items with significant purchases, like this vintage thermometer from Harry W. Smith Ford Sales in Richfield Springs, New York. This item was likely given alongside the purchase of a new car, or to customers who used the shop’s services regularly.
Note the phone numbers – this business had two phone lines designated by the numbers 86 or 87.
Imprinted at the bottom is a Ford hood crest (based on a 17th century coat of arms) that was revealed in 1950.