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    

C.1929-30 Bennett Em-150 "clock-face" Gasoline Pump Vintage Rare Kendall License Plate Topper, 1950's, 1940's, 1930's Gm, Gas, Oil Vintage 1961 Texaco Diesel Chief Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal Sign1950s Vintage Mobil Pegasus Regular Old Gas Pump Porcelain SignVintage 1950's Blue Sunoco 22 X Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 21" Porcelain Metal SignTexaco 15" Heavy Porcelain Metal Sign No Reserve Gas Pump Oil Petroleum 3-30Conoco Gasoline Oil Porcelain Sign Used Vintage Pump Plate Bright Colorful Vintage 1955 Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignVintage 1950s Metal Ac Fuel Pump Flanged Oil Sign Gas Service Station Gasoline 1Rare Vintage Velvagas Ethyl Glass Lens Gas Pump Globe~original Capco BodyVintage 1961 Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignVintage Original Amoco Gas Pump Globe Lenses No Reserve!!Rare Vintage Eco Model 25 Dial Face Gas Station Air Pump Meter - Estate Find Vintage 1962 Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignBeautiful Vintage Porcelain Mobilgas Flying Pegasus Gasoline Pump SignBeautiful Vintage Porcelain Red Crown Gasoline Pump Sign50's Gas Pump Globe Steel Body Lenses Holder Topper N/r2-side 30" Standard Polarine Motor Oil Porcelain Sign Gas Pump "as Is / Rough" Original Mobil Mobilfuel Diesel Wide Glass Body Gas Pump GlobeLighted Gas Pump Globe Base Mobil Standard Cities Service Gulf No Reserve!!Vintage Texaco Diesel Fuel Chief Gasoline Sign Porcelain Gas Pump 3-6-62Rare Vintage Knappco K.c. Gas Pump Nozzle With Hose, Kb-701Original Standard Oil Red Crown Gas Pump GlobeAntique / Vintage Bennett Model 150 - Clock Face - Gas Pump - Gas & Oil FuelSunoco Racing Fuel Gas Pump Original Vintage White Cap Coal Oil 15 Inch Gas Pump Glass NosVintage Original 13.5" American Gas Pump Globe Lens No Reserve!!!Beautiful Brass Thapex Apex Inflator Bike Pump Lovely Condition Vintage Vintage Texaco Pump Plate Porcelain Sign Gas Oil Texas Car Truck TractorVintage Shell Gas Station Attendants Hat Cap Uniform Logo Patch Oil Can Pump Rare Vintage Shamrock Gas Oval Gas Pump Globe Washington Chief Gasoline Oil Gas Vintage Porcelain Pump Plate Lubester Sign Vintage Squirt Embossed Sign Soda Cola Gas Station Oil Pump 1971 Large Double Sided Aaa Garage Auto Repair Non Porcelain Pump Oil Can Sign N RPepsi Sign "no Reserve" Vintage Antique Gas Pump SignOriginal Narrow Glass Body Gas Pump GlobeVintage Mobil Mobilgas 12" X 12" Porcelain Shield Sign Gas & Oil Pump Plate! Nr!Shell Motor Oil Door Push Porcelain Metal Sign 4-3/4"gas Pump Oil Station GarageSkelly Gasoline Oil Porcelain Sign Used Vintage Pump Plate Red White And BlueOriginal Dx Power Glass Gas Pump GlobeVintage Original Atlantic Porcelain Gas Pump Plate No Reserve!!Original Porcelain Good Gulf Gas Pump Plate Sign, Good Condition, Automobilia,Vintage Atlantic Diesel Fuel Porcelain Pump Plate SignHudson Car Truck Gas Station Garage Oil Lubester Pump Magnolia Gasoline Motor Car Oil Gas Vintage Porcelain Pump Plate Lubester Sign Star Motor Gas Flange Sign Vintage/antique Gas Pump SignConoco Porcelain Pump Plate Sign ~ Gas & OilStandard Red Crown 8-51 Porcelain Sign No Reserve Gas Oil Pump So Station Petrol2 Vintage No-nox Gulf Porcelain Gas Pump Plates Sinclair H-c Glass Gas Pump Globe Lens.origional ConditionRare Vintage 12" Frontier Gas & Oil Porcelain Pump Plate SignSunset Gasoline Sunrise Motor Oils Porcelain Sign Gas Oil Pump Mobil TexacoKaiser Approved Service Frazer Porcelain Dealer Sign Gas Oil Pump Mobil TexacoOriginal 1930s Gilbarco Gb 96 Series Gas Pump Stainless Door TrimTexaco Fire Chief Porcelain Enamel Gas Pump Plate Sign 3-1-1960 Fireman's HelmetAuthentic Indian Gasoline Porcelain Pump Plate Sign Advertising - Hard To FindClark 12" Porcelain Sign No Reserve Gas Oil Petroleum Pump Station Service Sunoco Dynafuel Gas Pump Plate, SignGulf Heavy Porcelain Metal Sign 11 3/4" Gas Pump Oil Station Gasoline Garage Conoco Porcelain Pump Plate Sign ~ Gas & Oil