Pillar & Ferguson: The Golden Years, Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup Hockey Picture Promotion 1934-68

By aubferg · Jul 19, 2020 · Updated Jul 20, 2020
Rating:
5/5,
  1. aubferg Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    16
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Home Page:
    Two hockey historians have self-published a book about what was undoubtedly the ultimate hockey promotion. Don Pillar of Port McNicoll and Aubrey Ferguson of Oakville are life-time collectors of Bee Hive hockey pictures who started seven years ago to pool their knowledge and put together a book that includes pictures of all 1025 Bee Hive photos that were issued along with over 400 other pictures of player lists, advertisements, packaging, other promotional items and competitive activity from such brands as Quaker Oats, Crown Brand and O Pee Chee.

    The St. Lawrence Starch Company of Port Credit Ontario issued these 5” X 8” black and white pictures in exchange for a token from a package of Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup. The promotion catapulted the brand into market leadership within five years and the company stayed with the successful promotion for another three decades until cost pressures and declining corn syrup consumption caused the promotion to go the way of the Montreal Maroons and the New York Americans. Gone but not forgotten.

    Details of the book are available at their website Home - THE GOLDEN YEARS and orders can be placed there as well. The book is only available through the website and is not available elsewhere online or in stores. While on the website, don’t forget to look for the bonus content that did not make it to the book: a downloadable, interactive checklist of every picture offered in three useful sorts.

    Another way to learn about the merits of the book is to read what others are saying about it. Writing for nhl.com, Montreal journalist and writer Dave Stubbs had this to say about it:
    Bee Hive hockey photos that inspired Howe, Hull celebrated in new book

    View attachment 354525 View attachment 354526
     
    Last edited by moderator Theokritos: Jul 20, 2020
    quoipourquoi likes this.
  2. byrone Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    126
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    Location:
    Prince Edward Island
    Wonderful book, highly recommend it
     
  3. Habsfan18 Collector/Historical Research

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    27,886
    Likes Received:
    2,992
    Trophy Points:
    232
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ontario
    Aubrey sent out my copy yesterday, and I can’t wait to get it in the mail. It looks absolutely fantastic and I know they worked their asses off putting together this wonderful 300 page book. The reviews all speak to just how much great content is included and the hard work that was put into it. Sounds like it’s an awesome edition to any hockey library, especially for those with an appreciation and interest in the history of the game.

    Please, if you can, support the authors and buy a copy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  4. Theokritos Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    9,928
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Trophy Points:
    166
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    As a European I only had a vague idea what this is about, but reading what Aubrey has provided here, it seems we're talking about hockey cards (picture cards, to be precise) that you got as a bonus if you bought this brand of Corn Syrup?
     
  5. aubferg Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    16
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Home Page:
    Yes, they were pictures that consumers redeemed packaged labels to acquire. Unlike chewing gum or tobacco cards that were available in-pack, these had to be ordered through the mail but it had the advantage of enabling the collector to specify which picture (s) they wished to acquire thereby avoiding duplication as well as the great amount of trading that went on with gum cards.

    It is difficult to explain just how fundamental these were to the development of NHL fandom in the 1930s/40s/50s but then that is the task of the book and why we wrote it.
     
  6. Theokritos Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    9,928
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Trophy Points:
    166
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    So you had to order the pictures separately. Interesting. If you say they were important for the development of NHL fandom they must have been very popular. Intuitively one would think in-pack cards would reach a much bigger audience. Was there some kind of promotion coming with the bottles to tease customers into ordering NHL pictures?
     
  7. aubferg Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    16
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Home Page:
    No tease...and no on package mention for over two decades....just sponsorship on a highly listened to sports broadcast that was broadcast nightly with a longer version on Saturday nights before Hockey Night in Canada. There was a modest amount of newspaper ads...usually when the Stanley Cup was won. It was a much simpler time then and word of mouth was very effective too.
     
  8. Theokritos Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    9,928
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Trophy Points:
    166
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    I see. That would be an effective way to promote it.

    Do we know how many pictures were ordered each year?
     
  9. aubferg Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    16
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Home Page:
    Absolutely no idea how many pictures went out in a year. Until this book we did not know with confidence how many unique images there are. A company executive was once quoted as saying at the height of the promo they were shipping 2500 envelopes per day But based on the number of labels submitted there is no way to know how many pictures that represents. Some people scrounged garbage cans and solicited neighbours and extended family (Gordie Howe is the poster child for this ) and would submit 30 labels at one time...others like me were less industrious (and less patient) and submitted each individual label as it was acquired because a can of corn syrup lasted way too long.
     
  10. Theokritos Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    9,928
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Trophy Points:
    166
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    That underscores how groundbreaking your work is. I was about to ask how we even know the pictures were fundamental for the development of NHL fandom if we don't know their actual numbers, but 2,500 envelopes/orders per day is an impressive figure in its own right.
     
  11. Theokritos Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    9,928
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Trophy Points:
    166
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    Now that I think about it, 2500 envelopes would equal 2500 people ordering pictures. That's a staggering number.
     
  12. cupcrazyman Stupid Sexy Flanders

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    14,729
    Likes Received:
    638
    Trophy Points:
    169
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leafland
    Scored a big stack of these at a flea marlet on the last day.
    Only paid $100
     
  13. Theokritos Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    9,928
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Trophy Points:
    166
    SB Cash:
    $ 300,000
    New feature upcoming today. As always, this one remains linked in the first post of the Book Feature sticky.
     

Share This Page

Presented in Association with the Society for International Hockey Research
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "358c248ada348a047a4b9bb27a146148"