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Home > Hess Truck History and Leon Hess

Hess Truck History and Leon Hess

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Those little green gas station trucks which became famous

 
A Hess Station in Rensselaer County New York
 
 
Leon Hess the founder of Hess Corporation was established in Perth Amboy, New Jersey in 1933 and specialized in selling petroleum products. Later the company had expanded with growth into the refining aspect of the industry and finally a chain of gas stations located along the U.S. eastern coast line. Hess would become a significant player in post war America. Another great company known as Amerada Petroleum founded in 1919 would later merge to become Amerada Hess Corporation in 1969. This was a good fit based on Amerada’s pioneering expertise in seismic technology which allowed them to develop into a major upstream producer.
 
 
In an effort which would become part of American culture and gift giving, Leon Hess developed a high quality toy that most families could afford and more importantly children would enjoy playing with and collecting. That toy became known as the Hess Toy Truck which was essentially a miniature gas station tanker truck. His goal was to offer a fun toy which offered value and he did just that. The first truck and most famous and probably most valued today was the 1964 Hell toy tanker which sold for $1.29 with batteries included. One of the unique and thoughtful features of this toy was that it could be filled with water and it had a cool hose for emptying the tank.
 
 
This truck was an instant success and would be an important part of American culture and was released just before Thanksgiving which was this tradition still holds true today. The only difference is that now you can even order your Hess toy truck online with the ability to preorder. This was a great idea implemented in 2012. Especially for those families who don’t have access to a Hess station to able to make the purchase in person as Hess Express stations are not in every state in the US. These toys are a wonderful part of Americana and offer value as they are highly collectable and because children just want them.
 
 
From this very first 1964 Hess mac tanker b1 tanker grew the annual tradition new toy trucks but it expanded into other vehicles with the first non-land vehicle, the 1966 Voyager ship. Since then other vehicles besides trucks included Fire trucks, police cars, RV vehicle, airplanes, helicopters, motorcycles and space ships! Another illustration of its importance in American culture is the TV commercials for Hess toy trucks and that famous jingle “The Hess Truck’s back and it’s better than ever”. The Hess truck is now part of the world famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
 
 
Thanksgiving American Tradition circa 1942
 

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