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 That Good Gasoline Metal Gulf Oil Company Car Adv License Plate TopperGulf Mobil Shell Texaco Good Year Non Porcelain Tire Rack Sign A-m 1960 Rare!!!!Vintage Original Gulf Oil Double Sided Porcelain 'clean Rest Rooms' SignHot Wheels Rlc 2014 Gulf Oil Volkswagen Vw Drag Bus Real Riders!Vintage Gulf Oil 10 1/2" Round Porcelain Gas Pump Sign That Good Gulf GasolineVintage Gulf Oil Can Rack. New Old Stock1960s Gulf No Nox Gasoline Porcelain Enamel Gas Pump SignVintage C.1960 Gulf No-nox Gasoline Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignSunoco Oil Gas Embossed Metal With A Vintage Look Great For Garage Shop, Office.Very Early Gulf Supreme Auto Oil Gallon Can With Gulf Auto Record Picturing CanN-gauge Micro Trains 3-pack Gulf Oil Tanker Set #blw 2000-5 *sealed*Gulf Gasoline Motor Oil Porcelain Sign Gas Sign Gulf Oil Bottles (x6) -- Metal Carrier; Metal Spout W/ Cap; Fill To Line Arrow Vintage Gulf Oil Tin Cans Lot Mixed 1958 Vintage Gulf Household Oil Old 4 Oz Tin Oiler CanDayton Lighted Clock Dealer Store Gas Station Sign Original Clock Rare Working!!Vintage Gulf Oil Embossed Lighted Gas Station Pump Island Sign Mint In Box NosGulf Gulfpride Gulflex 5 Quart Motor Oil Can Gas Station Display Not Mobil ShellLot Of 2 Vintage Gulf Gulfpride Aviation Series D Oil CansHo 1:87 Scale One Pair Vintage Tempo Gulf Oil Hokx #56555 Tank Cars C-7Used Gulf Porcelain Sign 19.7" ! Old Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump CanPennzoil 12" Embossed Round Metal, Motor Oil Garage Gas Vintage Style Ford ChevyVintage Gulf & Fisk Oil Cone Top Metal Brake Fluid Cans 12 Oz Vintage Gulf Gulf Good Porcelain Gas Pump Plate Sign Vintage Gulf Oil Gulfspray Quick Action Late 1950's ? Pesticide Can 1 GallonNew Vintage Gulf Gulfpride Motor Oil 1 Qt Metal CanVintage 1970 Gulf Oil Logo Zippo LighterVintage Gulf Anti-freeze Summer Coolant Oil Tin Can 1 Gallon Gas StationVtg. Gulf Oil Can Shaped Match Box " Ask The Pro From Gulf "Vintage C.1960 Gulf Specials Car & Home Metal Gas & Oil SignUsed Gulf Porcelain Sign 19.7" Old Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump CanGulf Mobil Shell Texaco Sinclair Porcelain Gas Pump Plate Sign Contains Lead!!! Vintage C.1960 Gulf No-nox Gasoline Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignRules For Dating " My Daughter " Fun Embossed Metal For Any Daddy's Man Cave!!!. Gulf Supreme Motor Oil Porcelain Sign Gas " Sunoco " Oil Gas Embossed Metal, Vintage Look Great For Garage Shop Mancave!!!Good Gulf Gas Porcelain Advertising Sign Oil & Gas Sign Gas Station Pump PlateGulf Gas & Oil Glass Insert SignUsed Gulf Porcelain Sign 19.7" ! Old Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump CanOfficial Gulf Gas And Oil Round Embossed Metal Sign Vintage Look Garage Man CaveGrease Monkey Engine Oil 3d Metal Decor Gasser Drag Strip Race Hemi Rt Usa Gas Mobil Gas Station Key Box Sign, Gas And Oil Can, Texaco, Gulf, Sunoco, Phillips Vintage Gulf Electric-motor Oil Handy Oiler Rare 2 Fl.oz SizeGulf Gas And Oil Metal Arrow Vintage Look Nice For Any Gulf Gas Garage Station.Vintage Standard Can Insect Spray W/ Ddt, Oil Company, Surface Spray, 1 PintFord Tractor Implements Vintage Sign Texaco Gulf John Deere Gas And Oil Mower Warning Crazy When People Touch My Tools Embossed Metal Vintage Look!!!!!!!1950s Gulf No Nox Gas Pump Steel Enamel Sign, 10 1/2" X 8 1/2" Vintage Gulf Oil Company Gulfspray Quick Action Mid 1950's ? Pesticide Can Vintage Gulf Oil Ink Blotter~no Nox Stops Knocks1974_1sted_arabian Gulf Oil Kuwait Bahrain Qatar Abu Dhabi Oman Uae Saudi ArabiaTexaco Gasoline Oil Metal Decor Chevy Ford Mopar Usa Race Fuel Hemi Texas Gas Original Vintage 1960's Gulf Oil And Gas Company Service ShirtGulf Oil Company Gasoline 3d Metal Decor Chevy Ford Mopar Usa Race Gas Newman RtVintage Gulf Oil Handy Oiler Household Oil Can Gas Station Collectible Gulf Gas & Oil No Nox Gasoline Gulfpride Thermometer Metal Sign Shop Man CaveGulf Gas And Oil Arrow Embossed Metal Sign Vintage Look Ford Chevy Dodge DealerGood Gulf Gasoline Motor Oil Porcelain Sign Gas Sign Gulf Oil Can. . Gas.oil.can.collectible.old.antique.service StationVintage Gulf Oil Fountain Pen Ink Blotter 1950 's