Gulf Oil was founded in 1901, the year the Lucas Gusher erupted at Spindletop near the east-Texas city of Beaumont on the Gulf of Mexico. The oil strikes in and around Beaumont signaled the beginning of a Texas oil boom that also created companies like Texaco, Humble (later renamed Exxon), and Shell.

Though associated with Beaumont, Gulf is also claimed by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The northeastern was the home of its largest investor, William Mellon, and in 1913, Gulf opened the first drive-in service station there at the corner of Baum and St. Clair streets. When that station opened, Gulf was not yet using its familiar orange globe with the word “GULF” emblazoned on it in large, blocky, capital letters. Instead, the signage promised “GOOD GULF GASOLINE,” a slogan that was used until the middle of the 20th century.

Almost from the beginning, road maps with the Gulf name on them were produced for motorists. Naturally Texas maps were among the first, but by the 1920s, when the orange Gulf logo was finally ubiquitous, road maps were printed for other states where Gulf gasoline was sold, as well as major metropolitan areas.

Ink blotters also got the Gulf branding treatment. These thick, rectangular sheets were widely used until ballpoint pens took over from fountain pens after World War II. Gulf ink blotters promoted various Gulf products, including Good Gulf and No-Nox Gasolines, Supreme Motor and Auto Oil, a pesticide called Gulf Venom (later renamed Gulfspray), and a heating oil called Gulf Solar Heat.

Porcelain and tin signs are favorites of Gulf petroliana collectors. Early signs from the 1930s and ’40s have parallel blue lines or solid tints on the white sections of the lettering to create shading and give the brand's name drama and dimension. Later signs lacked these shading devices, and even more recent signs did away with the white outlines altogether. On those signs, only the first letter of the word Gulf was capitalized, while a white band extending across the circular logo like a belt differentiated the blue letters from their orange background.

Variations of these logos appeared on oil and gasoline cans, oil bottles, and gasoline pumps. The circular Gulf logo lent itself perfectly to the shape of the globes that used to crown gas pumps, while shields on the sides of these pumps advertised “That Good Gulf Gasoline” and “No-Nox Ethyl,” one of the first uses of the No-Nox name.

As with other brands of gasoline, Gulf signs and other advertising pieces created for aviation and marine uses are less common than those created for service stations, simply bec...

More common are promotional items with the Gulf logo on them. These range from still banks to belt buckles, coffee mugs to shot glasses, golf balls to marbles. In the 1960s, Gulf hired the Canadian comedy duo of Wayne & Shuster to give voice and face to its “We Hurry” advertising campaign. One of the products that resulted from the campaign were Converse-like canvas high-top tennis shoes, which had round Gulf logos on them where the Converse logo would normally be. Proving that even a multinational petroleum conglomerate could have a self-deprecating sense of humor, the company made pins with the words “We hurry” at the top and an upside-down Gulf logo below.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Primarily Petroliana

Primarily Petroliana

Jim Potts’ site for petroliana collectors, featuring image galleries and community features such as a discussion … [read review or visit site]

Alan Chandler’s impressive collection of early British and European petroliana, including galleries with beautifu… [read review or visit site]

Petromobilia Switzerland

Petromobilia Switzerland

Alex Wyler’s site is mostly in German, but the collection and images speak for themselves. You’ll find old gas … [read review or visit site]

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Ralph and Carol Falvo's excellent collection of automobiles, petroliana, jukeboxes, soda, and general store items. … [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 1960's Gulf Porcelain Gas Station Sign With Pole, Texaco, Standard OilOld Shell Porcelain Sign Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump Can Emailschild Vintage 40" Porcelian Gulf Signs (2 Signs)Old Gulf Porcelain Sign Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump Can EmailschildOld Shell Porcelain Sign Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump Can EmailschildVintage Porcelain Sign Gulf Sign Gulf No Nox Gulf Refining Vintage Metal SignOld Stp Porcelain Sign Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump Can EmailschildRare Round That Good Gulf Gasoline Sign (porcelain)Vintage Original Gulf Oil Co Gas Station Pump Island Paper Towel DispenserOriginal Gulf Super No-nox Pump PlateVintage Good Gulf Porcelain Gas Pump SignIce Truck Stop Route 66 Sign Cold Drinks Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look GarageVintage Gulf Gasoline Porcelain Pump SignRules For Dating Sign Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Garage Tools Ford Chevy Dad'sEmbossed Metal Sunoco Vintage Look Sign Oil Gas Gulf Valvoline Shop Man CaveNo Speed Limit Sign Embossed Metal Vintage Look Rat Rod Mancave Ford ChevyGulf Oil 16 Gallon Can DrumLarge Chevrolet Super Service Sales Metal Sign Gas Can Door Push Chevy Ford GmcAntique Traffic Motor Oil 2 Gallon Metal Can Gulf Oil CorporationRat Fink Caution Sign Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Garage Tools Ford ChevyVery Nice 1950s Vintage Gulf Sureme Motor Oil Old 2 Gal. Metal Can Rare Gulfpride Aviation Series D Gulf Full One Quart Metal Oil Can 1940'sMetal Gulf Thermometer Gasoline Gas Oil Can Auto Shop Sign Motor Mopar Harley Vtg American Flyer Engine #282 Tender Gravity Gulf Oil Freight Cars CabooseAntique Gulf Authorized Dealer Agency Porcelain Sign Old Automobile Gas OilVintage "that Good Gulf Gasoline" 10-3/4" Metal Gas Station Sign Plaque Plate Ny1950's Gulf Gasoline & Motor Oils Tin Friction Tanker Truck-walt Reach/courtlandEmbossed Cheers Metal Sign Comedy Man Cave Shop Rat Rod Dodge Ford Chevy Mopar ZTexaco Motor Oil Can Metal Gas Sign Oil Pump Fill Station Gulf 76 SunocoBig Boy Burgers Sign Embossed Metal Vintage Look Garage Gas Oil Rat Rod Cafe Old Antique Style Gulf Pride Oil Porcelain Look Gas Station Dealer Pump SignOfficial Gulf Gas And Oil Vintage Style Round Metal Sign, Man Cave Garage!!Rare Vintage 1950's Gulf Gulfpride Outboard Motor Oil Quart Can Not Mobil TexacoIcee Frozenated Fun Flavors Sign Cold Drinks Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Frisco Railroad Sign Gas Oil Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Train Station TracksQuaker State Motor Oil Raised 22" Vintage Look Metal Sign Oil Gas Man Cave Shop Rare 1915 Zerolene Standard Oil Transmission Lubricant 5 Pound Can Gulf Shell1907 Antique Gulfoil Domestic Lubricant Gulf Glass Bottle Garage AdvertisingOriginal Gulf No-nox Pump PlateTexaco Motor Oil Can Metal Gas Sign Oil Pump Fill Station Gulf Sohio 76 SunocoRepo Gulf Oil/gas Station Arrow Sign, Metal Embossed, Made To Look Old, 18",coolVintage Gulfpride,gulf Motor Oil Can.Intermission Metal Sign Lobby Snack Theater Cinema Movie Drive In Vintage EmbossShop Rate Metal Sign Auto Shop Vintage Gas Pump Rat Rod Classic Car Swamp Cooler1950's Gulf Gas Oil Nash Automobile Clifton Auto Service Ashtray Clifton NjPolly Gas Raised Metal Vintage Look Sign Gas Oil Garage Hot Rod Shop Gulf SunocoVintage Look Metal Texaco Gas Can Shop Oil Gulf Polly Gas Man Cave GarageVintage 1949 Gulf Oil Co. The Orange Disc, Rare 50th Anniversary Issue,Go Away U Turn Metal Sign, Auto Shop, Hot Rat Street Rod Ford Chevy Mopar Harley"use...gulfpride The Worlds Finest Motor Oil" Porcelain Gas Sign Gulf Gas And Oil Metal Arrow Sign Vintage Look Great For Any Garage Gas Station.Gulf Oil Gas Filling Station Sports Bar Weathered Metal Garage Car Show SignEmbossed Metal Standard Oil Gas Vintage Look Sign Gulf Valvoline Shop Man CaveRed Top Axle Grease Gulf Oil Corporation Can- VintageThe Twilight Zone Sign Tv Series Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Garage Gulf Oil Gas Price Sign 1920's Original Gas Pump Sign Rare Rare Rare!!Frisco Railroad Sign Gas Oil Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Train Station TracksVintage Gulf Oil Advertising Thermometer Service Station Gas Pump 1960-70'sVintage 1949 Gulf Oil Co.lubrication Of Passenger Car Automatic Transmissions Lionel Gulf Oil 3 Dome Tanker #9313 Limited Edition Series New/original Box