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    

Hot Wheels "gulf Oil's" '67 Camaro 1 Of 4,500 In The WorldSchaper Stomper Gulf Oil Tanker Rig Tractor Trailer Truck Kenworth Vintage 1980sVintage 1960's Good Gulf Gas Station Pump Plate Porcelain Metal Sign~niceGulfpride Marine Oil Porcelain Sign Gulf Outboard Gasoline Boat Motor Pump PlateGulf Gasoline Porcelain Enamel Gas Pump Lubester Service Station Oil Metal SignVintage 1960's Gulf No-nox Gas Station Pump Plate Porcelain Metal Sign~niceGulfpride Gasoline Porcelain Sign Gas Pump Motor Oil Good Gulf Store AdvertisingVintage Texaco Porcelain Sign Gas Pump Lubster Gulf Rack Station Oil Red StarGulf Gasoline And Oil Restroom Sign Double Sided ExcellentVintage Rare Full Unopened Gulf Gulfoil Motor Oil Handy Oiler With Lead Top Hot Wheels 2016 Rlc/hwc Gulf Rocket Oil 2 Of 2 Real Riders 4356/4500Gulf Oil Banner Flag - Porsche 917 Mcqueen Ruf 24 Hr Ford Gt40 Gt2 911 Heuer1966 Zippo Slim Lighter - Gulf Oil Corporation - New!Vintage 1940's Gulf Gas Oil Advertising Thermometer Letts & Son Cortland, NyRunning On Empty 1963 Dodge D-100 Gulf Oil 1/64 Scale Greenlight 41010 ChaseVintage Gulf Gas Station Attendants Hat Cap Uniform Gas Oil Can PumpGulf Oil Flag - Porsche 917 Steve Mcqueen Ruf 356 Ford Gt40 Gt2 911 Dtm Opel M3Greenlight Hobby Exclusive Gulf Oil 16' Camaro Green MachineVintage Gulf Pride H.d. Oil Metal Quart Oil Can Greenlight 12984 1950 Gmc 150 Gulf Oil W/ Vintage Gas Pump Diecast 1:18 New!Old Vintage Gulf Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Pump Plate LubesterOld Gulf Porcelain Sign 16" Heavy Convex Gasoline Oil Lubester Rar Pump DealerGulf Gasoline Porcelain Sign Oil Pump Plate Gas Service StationVintage Gulf Gasoline Porcelain Sign Oil Gas Pump Plate Advertisement Car TruckVintage Gulf Oil Gas Pocket Advertising Tape MeasureVintage Standard Oil Co Gasoline Porcelain Sign Pump Plate Gulf Shell Oil OldSchedule: Nhl Hockey, 1974 Canada U.s.s.r. Tv Schedule, Gulf Oil W/scores - RareGulf Air Craft Engine Oil Porcelain Sign Gasoline Aviation Advertising Gas PumpVintage Gulf Lustertone Car Wax Can ~ No Reserve ~ Auto / Automobile Tin ~ NrGulf Supreme Motor Oil 2 Gallon Oil Can Cross 10k Gold Filled Ballpoint And Pencil Set-gulf Oil LogoGreenlight Hd Trucks Gulf Oil International Durastar Flatbed Green Machine Chase 2015 Ford F-150 Gulf Oil #68 & Trailer Hitch Tow 7 1/64 Greenlight 32070 BOld Gulfpride Motor Oil 1 Quart All Metal Can - Full Gulf Pride2 Vintage Garland Ballpoint Pens Advertising Gulf Oil Co Orange Safety Promo1932 Gulf Oil Ford Tow Truck Die Cast ModelGulf Oil Rally Flag - Original Vintage 1960's Racing Decal/stickerVintage Porcelain Gulf Oil "new No-nox" Gas Pump Sign Advertising Sign 1960s Gulf Oil Co. Dealer Die Cut Sign....apollo Moon Landing...kansasGulf # 1 Diesel Fuel Oil & Gas Porcelain Pump Plate Or Lubester Sign 11.75".Vintage Detroit Road Map And Ontario, Canada Map- Gulf Oil Company MapsTexaco Display Oil Can 4 Ur Repair Shop Gas Station Pump Globe Vintage StyleVintage Gulf Gasoline Gulfpride Gas & Oil Sign. Pump Plate! Lubster!Gulf Oil Flag - Porsche Ruf 356 Ford Gt40 Aston 917 956 Gt2 Mclaren LamborghiniVintage Gulf Gulfpride Finest Motor Oil Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign. Pump Plate!Vintage Gulf "that Good Gulf" Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Motor Oil SignUnknown N Scale Freight Car Gulf Oil Wrnx 14209 Tank Car 8,000 Gal, Single Dome Rare Vintage Gulf Super Plus Motor Oil Tin Can Garage Gas Station DisplayMib Minty Vintage Gulf Oil Company Mystery Second Hand Logo Men's Wrist Watch Lionel 6025 Gulf Oil Gray Tanker O Gauge TrainVintage Gulf 1969 Safety "car Chek" Guide Having Fun In Florida Gulf Oil Postcard 1930Nos Gulf Oil Thermometer, Moyer & Son, Souderton Pa, Solar HeatK-line K632-8031 Powder Blue Gulf Oil Tank Car Mint/boxAntique Gulf Household Oil Can: Part Of (11) Antique Oil Cans Group Nice Gulf Venom Poison Posters== Look Here==Gulf Fuel Oil Advertising Blotter, “feel Better Now,” Foxes Series, 1930s1960's No-nox Gulf Pump Restoration Decal Sticker Sign Gas Service Station OilVintage Gulf 1971 Safety "car Chek" Guide Vintage Gulf Gulfpride Oil For Sale Here Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign. Pump Plate!