Petroliana, or antiques related to gas stations and the oil business, is a collecting area focused on advertising, with key subcategories being gas pumps, gas-pump globes, oil cans, road maps, signs, and major names like Mobil, Texaco, Standard Oil, Phillips 66, Shell, Sinclair, and Esso.
In the early days of automobile travel, service stations were unfamiliar and often poorly lit at night. So lighted gas-pump globes and other oil company signage were key to reassuring and drawing in motorists. And since pumping gas was a new experience, early pumps allowed motorists to see if the gasoline was clean (through a small glass window), and later to watch the price as the gas was pumped (a major innovation).
Collectors also seek items associated with regional oil company brands like Signal, Gilmore, and Wilshire, not to mention an endless variety of giveaway promotional items, including ice scrapers and plastic "lollipop" thermometers featuring the names of these bygone oil-and-gas companies and service stations.