The most common Whiting Brothers collectibles are the motel postcards displayed in my Whiting Brothers Motels webpage. Motel matchcovers and the highway maps are also fairly common and these and other paper items are covered in my Whiting Brothers Paper Collectibles webpage. Non-paper collectibles from the Whiting Brothers are fairly difficult to find and sometimes quite expensive. Since my personal collection is just a few items, some of the pictures used for this webpage I found on the internet.
There was a time many decades ago when credit card transactions between the customer and the business were executed by means of a mechanical embossing machine that often had suction cups for use on a countertop. Magnetic strips with account information were not yet applied to the backs of credit cards and the electronic systems of today were in the future.
The picture to the right shows one of thousands of multi-part carbon credit card charge forms that the Whiting Brothers must have used each day. To the left is an original Whiting Brothers plastic embossed name and account card. It was placed semi-permanently into the mechanical embossing machine. The Whiting Brothers station attendant or motel clerk would place the customer's credit card into the machine between guides along with a multi-part carbon form and a handle would be slid one way and then back again to mechanically emboss both the business's name and account number and the customer's name and account number together onto the multi-part form. The attendant would write in the charge amount and the customer would sign the form. One part of the form would be returned to the customer as a receipt, another part would be retained for the business's records, while another part was snail-mailed to the bank that would process the transaction. Credit card transactions were definitely low-tech back in the 1960s and 1970s and even into the early 1990s at some businesses. Whiting Brothers credit card transaction items are difficult to find today.
The desert water bag was a mainstay of long-distance travelers until the 1960s. Early automobiles had inefficient engines and woefully-undersized radiators. Engine overheating was a problematic occurance and it was more likely during hot temperatures and sustained driving, particularly uphill, as would often be the case on Route 66 in the Southwest in the summertime. Enter the "desert water bag". It was made from canvas and had a cap and a rope carrying strap. ("Canvas" is a somewhat generic name for a tightly woven cloth. In the case of desert water bags the cloth was "Scotch Flax".) The canvas allowed some water to slowly seep from the bag and the wind rushing by the vehicle would evaporate the small amount of escaping water and kept the water remaining in the bag cool for use. A filled desert water bag (or two) hanging from the vehicle provided some assurance that should the radiator overheat and "boil over", the radiator could be refilled with cool water and the vehicle could get to the next gas station where the water bag could be refilled. I recall from my youth that the most common location to place a desert water bag on an automobile was the front bumper, especially if the front bumper had "bumper guards". (Nearly all bumpers were chrome-plated then and a pair of chrome-plated bumper guards were short vertical structures that protected the front grill. Bumper guards prevented one vehicle from submarining under the other vehicle and could limit vehicle damage to the bumpers in the case of a low-speed crash.) By the 1960s automobiles had properly-sized and more robust radiators thus reducing the need for carrying emergency water on the highways. (And by the 1970s bumper guards were disappearing from motor vehicles.) Modern automobiles have even more efficient engines and even better radiators. Most modern automobiles can climb long hills on a hot day with the air conditioning running and not have overheating problems. There were a number of manufacturers of desert water bags, Ames-Harris-Neville probably being the most common, but other companies like Pueblo Tent & Awning Company ("Minnequa" brand), Hirsch Weis, Boise Cascade and Eagle made them too. Like map-makers Rand McNalley and Gousha, some of these desert water bag companies customized bags for different retailers. Below is a picture of a Westward Ho desert water bag printed for the Whiting Brothers. Scroll over the picture to see both the front and back sides. I also know that the Whiting Brothers contracted with the Pueblo Tent & Awning Company to print their name on the back side of a "Minnequa" water bag too. I assume that Whiting Brothers gasoline stations sold these bags to motorists.
There are some other gasoline-station specific items from Whiting Brothers that I have seen. I have seen wooden and mechanical pencils enbossed with the Whiting Brothers name. I have also seen automobile litter bags that were made out of heavy yellow paper. (Although made out of heavy duty paper, I do not consider litter bags a "paper collectible" in the context that collectors use that phrase today. That's why I discuss this litter bag item on this miscellaneous collectible webpage.) At least two different styles existed with two different types of printing. The picture on the left is of a paper litter bag that was once given out to customers. I remember when this kind of bag was hung from a cigarette lighter knob or door handle or window crank and would accumulate the trash of the vehicle's occupants. (Of course, the big, chrome door release handles and window cranks that protruded into the passenger compartments of our old cars have been replaced by safer flush door release mechanisms and power window switches today. You may have some difficulty finding a good place to hang a litter bag like this from inside of most of today's automobiles.) Hover over the picture to see the back side where the Whiting Brothers printed suggestions on how to use your litter bag.
Items from the Whiting Brothers motels are not common. Here are examples of an old motel room key and a room ash tray. The room key is from the "Mesa Bonita" Whiting Brothers Motor Hotel on East Highway 66 (Navajo Blvd.) in Holbrook, Arizona. The glass ash tray is from the Whiting Brothers Motor Hotel at 902 West Hopi Drive which earlier operated as the Sun 'n Sand Motel and is now the Globetrotter Lodge. I have seen a Whiting Brothers motel key fob in the larger rounded diamond shape that is more commonly associated with the old motel room keys of yesterday. (Actually many old motels, including some on historic Route 66, have never installed the modern electronic locks using the plastic "credit card keys" that are routine among modern motels and hotels today. They still use the old metal keys that are still attached to plastic key fobs.)
I've seen two interesting collectibles that could be loosely considered "jewelry." To the right is a photograph of a Whiting Brothers keychain and key fob. I once was shown a metal money clip that had a similar metal Whiting Brothers emblem on it too but I don't have a photograph of it. The owner of the money clip told me that she found it in the dirt behind an abandoned Whiting Brothers gas station. Cool! I wonder if these items were presented by the company to their employees. They don't seem to me to be the type of merchandise that the Whiting Brothers would sell to the general public.