Gas globes are spherical glass signs that sat atop gas pumps in the first half of the 20th century, advertising a specific oil company or brand of gasoline. Generally made from a ring of metal with a lens mounted on either side, they were produced in various shapes (like the Shell clamshell) and innumerable designs.
The purpose of gas pump globes was brand identification for drivers at a distance. Lighting wasn’t as good on gas stations as it is today. Sometimes all a motorist could recognize driving by was the gas pump itself lit up, and the globe glowed so they'd know what brand of gas was available. Post World War II, pumps started getting smaller, and by the 1960’s, it was unusual to have a globe.
Gas pump globe designs tended to be simple, limited to a small handful of solid colors because of the silk screening process used to create them.