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    

Nice Vintage Gulf Gas Station Old Oil Can Rack Metal Display SignVintage C.1950 Gulf Diesel Dieselect Fuel Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignVintage Very Rare Sample Gulf Lighter Fluid Can Oil Tin Can Handy Oiler Lead CapVintage Very Rare Gulf Electric Motor Can Oil Tin Can Handy Oiler Lead Cap5 Gulfpride Metal 1 Qt Empty Cans Top Cut Out Vintage Original Gulf Cruisemaster Power Crest Battery Radio Scarce Gulf Supreme Auto Oil 2-sided Flange Porcelain Sign Gas Oil Car TruckVintage Gulf Gasoline Porcelain Sign Oil Gas Pump Plate Advertisement Garage24x24 Old Gulf Dealer Gas & Oil Real Glass Neon Sign Beer Light Lighted BackingScarce Good Gulf 17 Cent Gas Porcelain Sign Gas Oil Car Truck Texas OkGulfpride Marine Oil Porcelain Sign Gulf Outboard Gasoline Boat Motor Pump PlateGulf Oil Gas Vintage Rusty Rare Metal Thermometer 1930'sGulf Refinery Oil CanGulf. Oil Corporation Funny Weekly Vintage Comics1940Vintage Gulf Aircraft Engine Oil Aviation Can Tin Original Very Rare 1 QuartRare Gulf 1 Diesel Pump Porcelain Sign Soda Gas Oil 66 Seed Gulf Oil Household Lubricant GlassGulf Electric Motor Oil GlassGulfpride Oil Enamel Sign Gulf Refining Gas Station SignGulf Aircraft Engine Oil Porcelain Sign Gasoline Aviation Advertising Gas PumpChase Greenlight Classic Volkswagen Beetle Gulf Oil Racer 1/64 Car 29860-bRare Gulf Diesel Pump Porcelain Sign Soda Gas Oil Gas Oil 66 Seed Zippo Lighter 1950s Steel Case W Gulf Oil Logo Nice Condition All Original UsedRare Gulf Kerosene Pump Plate Porcelain Sign Soda Gas Oil 66 Seed Vintage Original Gulf Gas Pump Am-fm Transistor Radio - Nos!!!Vintage 2 Gallon Gulf Saphire Supreme Motor Oil CanGulf Gulfpride Outboard Special Motor Oil Empty Quart Can - W/cap - Nice Litho!Rare Good Gulf Pump Plate Porcelain Sign Soda Gas Oil 66 Seed Vintage Gulfoil Gulf Household Lubricant Tin Can 4 Fl OzVintage "good Gulf Gasoline" 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas+ Oil Sign! Pump Plate LubsterVintage Very Rare Gulf Gulfoil Can Oil Tin Can Handy Oiler Lead Cap1960's 2-sided Gulf Kerosene Porcelain Pump Plate Service Station Gas Oil Hot Wheels Rlc Gulf Rocket OilGulf Oil Household Oil Oiler Can1:64 Greenlight *club V-dub R4* Gulf Oil Vw Volkswagen Beetle Bug Green MachineGulfpride Gasoline Porcelain Sign Gas Pump Plate Motor Oil Good Gulf ServiceOld Gulf Porcelain Sign 20" Heavy Convex Gasoline Oil Lubester Rar Pump DealerGulf Kerosene Porcelain Sign Metal Garage Man Service Station Oil Can Lube FordVintage Gulf Gasoline Auto Oil Plate Sign Metal Garage Chevrolet Ford 1950'sGulf Gasoline Oil Advertising Clip Board H.e. & J.e. Newton Jasper IndianaWalt Disney Wonderful World Of Color Promo Brochure 1967 Tv Castle Gulf OilVintage Gulfpride H D Motor Oil 5 Qt Can1922 Gulf Refining Company Map - Supreme Auto Oil Blazed Trails In Pennsylvania Lot Of 4 Vintage Oil Can/tins - Shell - B/a Gulf & Citie ServiceVintage Gulf Valvetop Oil Opened Empty Metal Or Steel Pint Can From Estate TexasVintage Original Gulfpride Multi - G Oil Can Radio Gulf Porcelain Sign Pump Plate Advertising Gas Station Sign Store Display Sign25 Different Vintage State Road Maps, Various Oil Co's,sunoco,esso,gulf, MoreGreenlight Green Machine 1/64 Scale 1954 Gulf Oil Volkswagen Beetle Model CarLimited Gulf Oil International Durastar Flatbed Car Hauler 1/64 Dcp GreenlightPure Gas & Oil Co 1940s Pull Tab MotionCustom 1956 56 Ford Tow Truck 1/64 Scale Gulf Oil Gas Greenlight Diecast DcpGulf Oil Ink BlotterVintage Gulf Household Oil Can Tin Rectangular W/ Plastic Spout & No Cap1964 Vw Volkswagen Beetle Gulf Oil Racing Car 1/64 Scale Greenlight CollectorGulf Kerosene Flange Gas & Oil Sign Pump Plate1960 Vw Volkswagen Panel Bus 1/64 Scale Gulf Oil Greenlight Diecast DioramaVintage Antique Gulfpride Motor Oil Can- With Old Pouring Spout- Gulf1966 '66 Ford Bronco Gulf Oil Racing Offroad 4x4 1/64 Greenlight Collectible DcpHot Wheels Dairy Delivery Custom 1754 Orange Gulf Oil Gasoline Decal