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]

Petroliana.co.uk

Petroliana.co.uk

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 1940's Gulf Gulfpride Motor Oil 2 Sided 23" Metal SignCustom Gulf Oil Tanker - Tonka/structo - RefurbishedVintage Texaco 1930's Original Milk Glass Gas Pump Globe For 13 1/2" LensesGulf Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Advertising Gas Good Oil Minty Mobil Antique VtgVintage Gulf Oil 26" Lighted Sign Petroliana Old Gas Oil Vintage 1950's Gulf Rest Rooms Gas Station 2 Sided 18" Porcelain Metal SignsVintage Original Gulf No Nox Oil Gas Porcelain Pump Plate SignVintage 1957 Zippo Lighter Gulf Crest Gas Station Pumps Sign Oil Town & Country Polly Gas Die Cut Tin Metal Sign "vintage Look" Gasoline Oil PumpOriginal Near Mint Mid Century Vintage Gulf Lustertone Car Wax Gulf Oil Tin CanVintage Pure Truck Stop Sign Gas Oil Diesel Fuel Parts Cabinet Advertising RareGood Gulf Gas Porcelain Pump Sign,filling Station Oil Advertising Barn Decor Car1936-1960 Gulf Tin Brake Fluid Can Vintage Zippo Lighter 1983 W/box Gulf Oil Hooker Headers Metal Embossed Tin Metal Sign Gas Oil Vintage Look Vintage 1qt Gulf Gulfpride Marine H.d. Fiber Motor Oil Can, Sae 30, EmptyVtg 20s 30s 5 Gallon Gulfpride Motor Oil Metal Can W/handle Gulf Advertising GasGulfpride Gas Station Service Gas & Oil Service Motor Oil Station SignWe Dont Call 911 Cut Cast Iron Sign Chevy Dodge Ford Garage Bike Shop Man CaveHo Scale Lot Of Used Train Cars Gulf Oil Fire Car Plane Transport Flatbed Etc Early Gulf Oil Sign, 2 Sided Flange Mounted Porcelain Sign ,look Rare Gulf SignGulf Gas & Oil No-nox Gulfpride Service Station Thermometer Sign New Free ShipVtg Mechanical Pencil Gulf Oil Advertising Floaty Vintage J.r. Young W. Va. Rare2 Gulf Friction Tape Boxes & 10 Gulf Thread Tin Containers Nib Nos Antique GulfMetal Gulf Gasoline Gas Oil Sign Pump Parts Motor Gauge Vintage Parts Harley RsStp Oil Tin Metal Sign Oval Vintage Look Gasoline Gas Gulfpride Ford Chevy First Gear 1/34 Gulf Oil Diecast 1957 International R-200 Gin Pole Truck UsedVintage Gulf Oil Hydraulic Brake Fluid Tin Can Sealed. Nos Nib Never OpenedVintage 1qt Gulf Gulfpride Marine H.d. Metal Motor Oil Can, Sae 30, EmptyOfficial Gulf Gas And Oil Round Embossed Metal Sign Vintage Look Garage Man CaveNeat Vintage 1945 Gulf Oil Calendar With References To The Baseball World SeriesBlair Line Ho Or N Scale #1523 Gulf Oil Billboard Sign Kit - NibMetal Gulf Gasoline Gas Oil Sign Arrow Pump Vintage Look No Nox Gulfpride Can Vintage Gulf Oil Cantransistor Radio Gas Station Promotional ItemCast Iron Welcome Friends & Family Sign Western Design Stars Bar Man Cave ShopHo Intermountain 10,000 Gallon Tank Car - Gulf Oil Corp Official Gulf Oil Company Round Embossed Metal Sing !!!!Gulf Gas And Gulfpride And Oil Vintage Style Round Metal Sign, Man Cave Shop!!2 Vintage Original Gulf No Nox Oil Gas Porcelain Pump Plate S Sign SOriginal Good Gulf Porcelain Gasoline Pump Plate / SignAmerican Flyer S Gauge #925 Gulf Oil Tank Car Fred Cady Decal #50 To Do The 1968/69 Ford Gt 40 Gulf OilGulf Oil-orange Disc Circular Patch--newAwesome Route 66 Metal Street Post Road Sign 19x9" Gas Oil Station Pump 76 GulfLate 1940's Vintage Gulf Gulfpride Motor Oil Can Vintage 4oz New Gulf P.a.c Fuel Oil Tank Additive Metal Can. Full, L@@kVintage Gulf Gas/oil Company Political Tie PinsGulf Moth Proofer TinPorcelain Replica Vintage Gulf Gasoline SignVintage 1/2 Gallon Gulf Oil Lighter Fluid CanGulf Oil Company Oliver Tractor Calender Not Porcelain Sign Or SoconyFirst Gear Gulf Oil 1953 Kenworth Bull Nose Truck 1/34 ScaleLarge Gulf Oil Basketball Show BagLot Of 47 Gulf Oil Gas Warren Petroleum Farm Aids Tractor Hp Vintage Print AdsRare Vtg Gulf Porcelain Metal Gas Oil Thermometer Sign, Vtg Gulf Thermometer WowVintage Gulf Oil Mechanical Pencil With Oil In One EndVtg Gulf Plastic Sign 1960's 5" Wide Petroliana Gas Station AdvertisingLot Three 3 Vintage Toy Gas Oil Gasoline Pumps--tootsie Steel & 2 Gulf PumpsVintage Gulf Oil Tide Schedule Booklet For Boston And New York, 1962Vintage Gulf Marine Products Embroidered Patch - Gas Motor Oil Company Item !!!