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    

1950's Vintage Original Use Gulf Tires Pam Advertising ClockVintage Rare Kendall License Plate Topper, 1950's, 1940's, 1930's Gm, Gas, Oil Used Gulf Porcelain Sign 19.7" Old Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump CanVintage Gulf Oil Porcelain Sign Double SidedVintage Gulf Gulflube H-d Motor Oil Full Nos 1 Quart Metal Can Gas PetrolianaOld Gulf Porcelain Sign 19.7" Racing Oil Gas Station Advertising Enamel Pump CanVintage Original Gulf Oil Gulf Gleam Liquid Gloss Can No Reserve!!Gulf Household Oil Can Handy Oiler Tin For Gun Reels Home Etc.Old Gulf Lighter Fluid Brown Bottle Art Deco Gulf Oil Co. Gulf Gas Pump Desk Model,new,14" Tall,metal,real Metal Screen,well Made Display.Gulf Heavy Porcelain Metal Sign 11 3/4" Gas Pump Oil Station Gasoline Garage Vintage Gulf New No - Nox Porcelain Pump Plate Gas Oil Sign Advertising Warning Bigfoot Area Embossed Metal Sign Vintage Look Shop Camping Man Cave HuntVintage Original Tapered Dixie Pump SignGulf Oil Porsche Racing Race Embroidered Hat Steve Mcqueen Lemans Mclaren Ford Gulf Mobil Shell Texaco Sinclair Champion Spark Plugs Non Porcelain Sign Gas OilVery Nice !!! 1950s Vintage Gulf Supreme Motor Oil Old 2 Gal Tin CanOfficial Gulf Gas And Oil Round Embossed Metal Sign Vintage Look Garage Man CaveGulf Gas Pump Desk Model,new,14" Tall,metal,real Metal Screen,well Made Display.Official Gulf Gas And Oil Vintage Style Round Metal Sign, Man Cave Garage!!Gulf Gas & Oil Arrow Usa Embossed Metal Sign Sales Service Dealer Shop Man Cave12 Different Gulf Crude Oil Samples Exploration Wells North Dakota Wyoming Utah1926 Rand Mcnally Texas Road Map Rare Vintage Gulf Refining AdVintage Hadson Gulf Gas Cigarette Advertising Lighter Works Double Sided **nr**Lot Of 3 Athearn Central Flow Hopper Oil Train Cars Gulf, Dupont, Shell In BoxesHuge Round Gulf Service Sign Oil Pump Fill Station Stp Sohio 76 SunococoolGulf Porcelain Gasoline Pump Plate Oil Service Station Advertising Sign **shop Rate Metal Sign Garage Man Cave Auto Shop Gas Station**Chevron Gasoline Usa Embossed Metal Sign Sales Service ShopAmerican Flyer Gulf Logo For #773 Oil DerrickGet Your Kicks On Route 66 Metal Sign,garage Shop,office, Man Cave Garage.Antique Vtg 1930s Gulf Oil Can Leather Keychain Gas Baltimore Md Service StationFirestone Tires Tire Service Sign Oil Pump Fill Station Gulf Sohio 76 SunococoolGulf Original Map Rack And Tour Guide HolderStp The Racer's Edge High-viscosity Super Formula 53 Metal Sign Man Cave Garage!Dubai 1966 Oil Exploration In Persian Gulf Imperf Souvenir Sheet F-vf Mnh ScarceGas Embossed Vintage Look Usa Metal Sign Sales Service Oil Dealer ShopGulf Gas & Oil Service Station Embossed Mancave Garage Metal Sign Junk Drawer Lot - Knives, Gulf Oil, Coca-cola, Pins, Key Chains, EmblemsStp Super Formula 53 Oil Usa Embossed Metal Sign Sales Service Dealer Shop**look**ford Led Lighted Sign**garage-man Cave**bar**gas Station**speed Shop**Gulf Gas Station Flags - Set Of TwoGulf Gas & Oil Dealer Service Embossed Metal Sign Vintage Look Pump Garage ShopAsk For Valvoline Motor Oil Usa Embossed Metal Sign Sales Service ShopVintage 1950s Midgetoy Semi Truck Gas Tanker Gulf Oil Rare!Lot Of Four Gas And Oil Company Packs Of Marble Sohio Gulf Mobil Phillips 66 Vintage Gulf Oil Sewing Kit Needle Case Thimble Cross Bros Garage Northfield Vt Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Metal Thermometer *gm Dealer Sales Service*garage*Original Slide Freight Tldx Gulf Oil Co. Covered Hopper 5561 In1969 At Topeka KsAmerican Racing Authentic Hot Rod Wheels Since 1956! Round Embossed Metal Sign!!Holley Carburetor High Performance Tin Sign Embossed Man Cave Garages Ford ChevyGood Gulf Vintage Metal Enamel Pump SignOld Vintage Gulf Oil Gas Receipt Clip Holm Swenson Distr. DetroitLot Of 4 Gulf Oil Dealer Crayon PacksIf You Can't Fix It With Duct Tape Metal Sign* Garage Shop*office*home*man Cave Gulf Oil Gas Sign Gasoline Old Vintage 1960's Advertising Antique Gas Pump Sign1950s Vintage Gulf Saphire Motor Oil Old 2 Gal Tin CanGulf Large Thermometer Oil Gasoline Petroleum Collectible Texaco Mobil SinclairLot Of Two Gulf Oil Company Packs Of MarbleGulf Oil Company Office Desk Lot Pen Ruler