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Official Gifts of the McGinnis Era

May 1st, 1998

Most large corporations give 'official' gifts to important customers, media people, government officials, and other VIPs as a way of cementing business relationships. Such gifts were typically given away by railroad executives during press conferences, on birthdays, and for various other special occasions. Here is a small selection of rare New Haven Railroad official gifts from the McGinnis era. All materials from the collection of Marc Frattasio.

Travel Alarm Front This is a Cartier travel alarm clock from the New Haven Railroad's president's office. The clock is brass plated, folds up, and runs for a week on a single winding. These things were supposedly presented to VIPs during 1955 by president Patrick B. McGinnis himself.
This is the reverse of the Cartier travel alarm clock. The case of the clock is engraved with the famous NH logo. Above the logo is engraved a facsimile of McGinnis's signature and below the logo is engraved 'President of the New Haven Railroad'. Travel Alarm Back
Golden Spike
This gold painted spike was presented to VIPs who attended the completion of what the New Haven Railroad called the first large scale application of continuously welded rail in the east at Branford, Ct. on June 21st, 1955. The card suggested that the spike be used as a paperweight.
The McGinnis administration ordered a couple of different batches of cigarette lighters from Zippo during 1954 and 1955. This lighter came from the first batch, which was ordered for the ACF Talgo demonstrator train press run in June 1954. The front of the lighter is engraved with 'New Haven Railroad', 'Patrick B. McGinnis', 'President'. Legend has it that the box containing the first batch of lighters was stolen from the Talgo train as it sat in Boston's South Station! 1954 Zippo
1955 Zippo front Zippo cigarette lighters ordered during 1955 were engraved with Herbert Matter's new image NH logo on the front. Lighters are known to exist with all-red logos and all-white logos too. These cigarette lighters were typically presented to shippers and were highly prized.
The back sides of the 1955 batches of Zippo lighters were all engraved with 'Patrick B. McGinnis', 'President', 'New Haven Railroad'. 1955 Zippo Back
Lifetime Pass Holder
Passes good for free travel were probably the most highly prized gifts given out by the New Haven. All passenger railroads gave such passes to executives from other railroads, VIPs, and retired employees. Under the McGinnis administration, the New Haven also gave passes to the widows of deceased employees. This leather holder contains a lifetime pass.
Playing Cards
Playing cards were not only sold on passenger trains but they were also given away by the railroad as official gifts. McGinnis era playing cards with the new image NH logo and red, white, and black colors are not as common as other styles of New Haven Railroad playing cards. This is a presentation boxed double deck.
New Haven Lady's Compact The New Haven Railroad ordered special cosmetic compacts from Evans during 1955 which were presented by the president's office to the wives of important shippers and other VIPs. The compacts may also have been presented to women who bought the first Ladies Day Fare tickets for Wednesday shopping trips to New York City. These compacts were well constructed of chrome or nickel plated brass and featured a mirror and powder well under a trap door. They featured a white painted NH logo on the lid which was engraved into the metal using a milling machine, an expensive touch to be sure!

PAST IMAGE PAGES

April 1998: System Timetables

March 1998: Pre-War Advertising Brochures

February 1998: New Haven Railroad Freight Service Advertising from the 1950s and 1960s

January 1998: The Snow Trains

December 1997: Hotel Montclair Advertisement ca. 1939


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