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Description

Interesting pictorial map of the Death Valley area, promoting US Borax and the Twenty Mule Teams.

The map locates the routes of the mule teams around Death Valley at the end of the 19th Century, which led ultimately to a product name, radio and television programs.

20 Mule Team Borax is a brand of cleaner manufactured in the United States. The product is named after the 20-mule teams that were used by William Tell Coleman's company to move borax out of Death Valley, California, to the nearest rail spur between 1883 and 1889.

20-mule teams were first used by Francis Marion Smith to move borax out of the desert.  Smith subsequently acquired Coleman's holdings in 1890 and consolidated them with his own to form the Pacific Coast Borax Company. After the 20-mule teams were replaced by a new rail spur, the name 20 Mule Team Borax was established and aggressively promoted by Pacific Coast Borax to increase sales.

Stephen Mather, son of J. W. Mather, the administrator of the company's New York office, persuaded Smith to add the name 20 Mule Team Borax to accompany the famous sketch of the mule team already on the box. The 20-mule team symbol was first used in 1891 and registered in 1894.  

Radio & Television

The Pacific Coast Borax Company sponsored Death Valley Days, a radio and television anthology series dramatizing true stories of the old American West, particularly the Death Valley area. The radio program was created in 1930 by Ruth Woodman and broadcast until 1945. At the end of the show's run, the company sponsored a similar radio series called Death Valley Sheriff.

From 1952 to 1975, Death Valley Days was produced as a syndicated television series. One of Ronald Reagan's final television roles was as the host of Death Valley Days in 1964-65. Reagan also acted in some episodes. The show was sponsored primarily by Pacific Coast Borax Company, which later became U.S. Borax.