The first gas pumps were built in the 1880s by the Bowser Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, followed in 1898 by pumps that could pull fuel from an underground tank. As the automobile's popularity soared in the 1920s, service stations sprang up everywhere and the gas pump became a key promotional medium.

The early pumps were 'visible gas' pumps, with a clear glass cylinder, usually 5 or 10 gallons on top of the pump, so you could see what you were getting, or if the gas was dirty (a big problem at that time). There was a manual pump you’d pull back and forth to pump the gas out of the underground tank into the cylinder, which was 8 or 10 feet tall. From there the gas flowed by gravity down the hose into the car.

Next came the electric pump, but people still wanted to see the gas, so they had a small cylinder, called a sight glass. These pumps had a clock face that kept track of the gallons, and then the seller would have to compute the cost in their head. Finally they came out with computing gas pumps, which would tell you the cost too.

Some of the most collectible pumps are the early ones with the cylinder on top and the old clock face that keeps track of just gallons. Also in demand are the computing pumps from the 1930’s into the 1950’s, but in the 1960’s they modernized them, making them more boxy and plain. Pumps from the 1930s in particular have a lot of great art deco styling (and are very tall).


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    

Antique Gas Pump Glass Cylinder Vintage Tokheim Gas Pump Handle Nozzle No. 963 Solid Brass 16" LongVintage Un-restored Original Texaco Gas Pump Fuel Station Vintage Old Sinclar Dino Antique Rare Gas Station Pump Transistor In Box Radio Vintage Erie Gas Pump Clock Face Dial Pair Antique Original Service Station PennFry Mae West 10 Gallon Visible Gas Pump Original PumpErie Visible Gas Pump Gallon Markers 10 Gallon 1933Martin & Schwartz Gas Pump Clock FaceAntique Brass Gas Pump Nozzle Visible Or ?Old Gas PumpFry Mae West 10 Gallon Visible Gas Pump Original TopDanbury Mint 1956 Texaco Sky Chief Tokheim Replica 1:8 Scale Gas PumpVintage Old " Amoco "antique Rare Gas Station Pump Transistor In Box RadioOriginal Gulf Porcelain That Good Gulf Gasoline Round Pump,plateRoar With Gilmore Antique Style Gas Pump Beverage Dispenser, Reduced Price!Vintage Opw Dover Corp 811 Gas Station Fuel Pump Handle NozzleVintage Milwaukee Valve P-2040 Brass Gas Pump Handle~fuel Nozzle~tokheim~wayneReal Photo Postcard Rppc General Store Gas Pump Main St Strattanville Clarion PaFry Mae West 10 Gallon Visible Gas Pump Original Back Door... Wayne Gas Pump Padlock With 2 Keys Lock Springs OpenVintage 9" Mobiloil Pegasus Porcelain Pump Plate No Reserve Vintage Milwaukee Valve Co. U 17 Brass Gas Pump Nozzle Handle SsbSinclair Gas Pump LensFry Mae West 10 Gallon Visible Gas Pump Original Back DoorVintage Brass Gas Pump Nozzle Permadisc Multi Speed Milwaukee ValveVintage Opw 811 Gas Pump Aluminum Nozzle Skelly Gas & Oil Products Pump Decal 11" By 13" Tall OriginalFry Mae West 10 Gallon Visible Gas Pump Original InsidesVintage Gas Pump Liquor Dispenser ! - Atlantic White Plus GasolineVintage Sinclair Gas Porcelain Gas Oil Pump Plate Vintage Tiolene Motor Oil Porcelain Gas Pump Plate No ReserveVintage Sinclair Gas Pump Advertising Radio Real Photo St Nazianz Wi Wisconsin Postcard Auto Repair Garage Gas Pump Bz4056Sinclair Dino Heating Oil Truck Soap , Vintage From Old Gas Pump Station Promo Rare Vintage Sew-on Patch Mobile One 1 Gas Station Pump Jacket Pegasus 3 Inch Gas Pump Mini ClockThree Contains Lead Gasoline Pump SignsCollectible Texaco Skychief Vintage 1950's Look Gas Pump Ornament W/dalmatians Hess Pump Topper Panel Only" Gilmore Gasoline " Wayne Gas Pump Replica By: GearboxVintage Texaco Fire Chief Star Gas Pump Dime Coin Bank Gasoline Red Old Style Wolf Head Motor Oil Metal Gas Station Pump Automobile Tin SingCadillac Premium Gas Pump 1/24th Scale Misp 1950's Type Tokheim By Gearbox Chevy Truck & Car Salt & Pepper Shakers On Gas Pump Base Nice U511Antique Style Gas Pump Liquid Dispenser