Promotional Products Through the Centuries

  • Apr 9, 2019

We’ve written here before that one of the earliest uses of promotional products was campaign buttons for George Washington. Of course, they’ve been a staple of political campaigns ever since. The National Museum of American History has an exhibit of some of them from the past two centuries. Here are a handful of our favorites.

A torchlight carried in support of Abraham Lincoln, who was a fan of nighttime campaign parades

Abraham Lincoln torchlight
Harrison log cabin

A replica log cabin, once mounted to a pole for carrying, that served as a rally piece for William Henry Harrison

Hand fans emblazoned with Barry Goldwater’s face and the slogan “Goldwater Fan Club”

Goldwater hand fan
Nixon campaign song

Sheet music for a Richard Nixon campaign song, composed for his first presidential run

A hat in the shape of a cheese wedge from the 1996 Bill Clinton-Al Gore campaign

Cheese wedge hat
Eisenhower pot holder

A pot holder featuring candidate Dwight Eisenhower’s likeness

A coloring book about ecology, distributed by George McGovern’s campaign in the 70’s, as an attempt to connect with earth-conscious voters

McGovern coloring book

Favorite Quotations

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.”

~ Andrew Carnegie

Favorite quotations