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The 1950s

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During this decade, America was growing at a remarkable pace – as was State Auto. The Great Depression and war years were soon in the rear-view mirror, while State Auto looked ahead toward the rapidly expanding auto industry. Here, Americans took to the highways and bought more insurance than ever before.

1950 After a hiatus during WWII, The Pein Tree once again began monthly publication.

1951 Founder/President Robert Pein reported that State Auto wrote more policies in 1951 than in any previous year in its history: nearly 300,000 premiums exceeding $15 million.

1954 As Pein began to resign some of his duties, Paul Gingher was named executive vice president of State Auto. Construction of the home office was completed, and the Christmas decorations returned for the first time since 1942. State Auto held its first "press party" at the Seneca Hotel in downtown Columbus, a media-only preview of the Christmas lights – a tradition that continues to this day. Also, in 1954, State Auto took on a bigger advertising presence in Ohio by sponsoring the "Midwestern Hayride." The show, which grew from its Cincinnati-based roots, became a centerpiece of State Auto's advertising for a number of years.

1955 State Auto underwent major product expansion, adding fire insurance and inland marine coverage to its offerings in Ohio and other states.

1956 Gingher was named president of State Auto; Pein assumed the position of chairman of the board – a title he retained until his death on December 22, 1956. Pein’s death, so close to Christmas, was poignant, considering his love of the holiday season.

1958 In one of the most dramatic changes in the company’s history, State Auto became affiliated with the Dixie Fire and Casualty Company and the Southern Home Insurance Company, both of Greer, SC. The acquisition helped to geographically spread risks and diversify business lines. State Auto expanded into the states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

 

At left: A late 1950s view of State Auto's home office, looking west along East Broad Street toward downtown Columbus, Ohio.

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