Colorado Fuel and Iron: Culture and Industry in Southern Colorado

Scatter Tags

One interesting advertising item used by the coal industry throughout the United States from the 1920s into the 1950s was the scatter tag.  These cheap cardboard or foil covered cardboard tags were quite literally scattered in loads of stoker coal as an advertising gimmick.  Most generally they were circular in shape, but they were also in triangular or rectangular shapes. 

Above are two examples of the ones used by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.  They were made of thin cardboard and were approximately 1 ½ inch in diameter.  Known examples were issued before 1936 as evidenced by the company name.  The CF & I scatter tags were printed in two colors.  The three devils carrying coal buckets and the words “Diavolo Coals” were in red and the remainder of the design was printed in black.  Some variations have a red circle surrounding the outside of the scatter tag.  At one time, the Fuel Department was organized into four different districts: Trinidad, Walsenburg, Canon, and Crested Butte. It is probable that each district had its own scatter tags.

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