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    

Vintage 1950's Blue Sunoco 200 Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 21" Porcelain Metal SignVintage 1950s Tokheim 39 Phillips 66 Gas Pump Service Station Lighted Garage UsaVintage 1950s Tokheim 39 Shell Gas Pump Service Station Lighted Garage ClassicOld Enamel Sign Shell Motor Oil Dye Cut Can Vintage Garage Gasoline Petrol Pump-Old Enamel Sign Sternol Motor Oil & Grease Vintage Garage Tin Can Petrol PumpOld Enamel Sign Shell Motor Oil Gasoline Vintage Garage Tin Can Petrol PumpVintage C.1960 Gulf Super Marine Gasoline Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignOld Enamel Sign Shell Motor Oil Dye Cut Can Vintage Garage Gasoline Petrol PumpOld Enamel Sign Jackdaw Motor Oil Manchester Vintage Garage Tin Can Petrol PumpAntique Authentic 19thc American Indian Stone & Wood Pump Drill & Fire StarterOld Enamel Sign Redex Motor Oil Gasoline Vintage Garage Tin Can Petrol PumpVintage C.1960 Gulf Kerosene Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignVintage C.1960 Gulf Diesel Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignOld Enamel Sign Sternol Motor Oil & Grease Vintage Garage Tin Can Petrol PumpVintage 1950's Sinclair Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 14" Porcelain Metal SignVintage Porcelain Mobil Gas Aviation Gas Pump Plate Sign Pegasus SoconyEco Air Meter With Water Gas Pump1930's Shell Gasoline Porcelain Pump Plate Sign Die-cut Mobil Sinclair Dx Deere Rare Vintage C1930 Gas Price Single Sided Embossed Metal Sign-visible PumpVintage Dunlop Bicycle Pump Bsa,raleigh,rudge,triumph,Vintage 1950 Atlantic White Flash Gas Pump Plate 17" Porcelain Metal Sign~niceVintage 1950's Sinclair Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 14" Porcelain Metal Sign~niceTexaco 15" Heavy Porcelain Metal Sign No Reserve Gas Pump Oil Texas Ford ChevyOrig Cities Service Koolmotor Gas Pump Globe Lens High Test Anti Knock GasoleneOld Enamel Sign Mobiloil Oil Dye Cut Can Vintage Garage Gasoline Petrol PumpVintage Skelly Gas Pump Globe - White Glass Body - No Cracks Or Chips -excellentMohawk Gasoline Motor Car Oil Gas Vintage Porcelain Pump Plate Lube Sign Hood Tire Gasoline Motor Car Oil Gas Vintage Porcelain Pump Plate Lube Sign Porcelain Sunray D-x Petroleum Products 8 3/8s Inch Pump SignMobilgas, Pegasus, Vintage Gas Pump Globe Lens, Capco, Glas Body Globe, Old Enamel Sign Silvertown Motor Oil Gasoline Vintage Garage Tin Can Petrol PumpWhite Rose Gasoline A Motor Car Oil Gas Vintage Porcelain Pump Plate Lube Sign White Rose Gasoline Motor Car Oil Gas Vintage Porcelain Pump Plate Lube Sign Indian Gasoline Porcelain Gas &oil Pump SignVintage Texaco Sky Chief Milk Glass Gas Pump Globe Sign Oil MintyVintage C.1960 Gulf Super No-nox Gasoline Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignPhillips 66 Gasoline Motor Car Oil Gas Vintage Porcelain Pump Plate Lube Sign Vintage C.1960 Good Gulf Gasoline Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignOld Enamel Sign Sternol Motor Oil Gasoline Vintage Garage Tin Can Petrol PumpVintage 1950s Deep Rock Service Station Gas Visor Cap Oil Can Pump GarageVintage Original Delta Gasoline Porcelain Gas Pump Sign No Reserve!!Vintage 1950s Metal Ac Fuel Pump Flanged Oil Sign Gas Service Station Gasoline 1Musgo Motor Oil Gasoline Porcelain Sign Gas Oil Pump Mobile Texaco Pegasus1950's Tokheim Harley-davidson Theme Gas PumpVintage 1948 Pure Oil Premium Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 12" Porcelain Metal SignStandard Oil Red Crown Porcelain Gas & Oil Pump Sign Dated Ad 1954 Ir-1-48Heavy Rubber Fetish Gas Mask Latex Hood+3l Rebreather Bag+gag W/ Pump+twin HosesVtg Pegasus Mobil Gas Gasoline Glass Globe Insert For Service Station PumpRare 1930's Vintage Texaco Porcelain Gas Pump SignVintage 1960's Sunoco Gas Pump Evans Cigarette Lighter Gilbarco Air Meter Gas Pump Not Eco Air MeterVintage C.1960 Gulf No-nox Gasoline Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignHusky Gasoline Motor Car Oil Gas Vintage Porcelain Pump Plate Lube Sign Route 66 California Heavy Porcelain Metal Sign~11-3/4"x 11" Gas Pump Oilstation Sinclair Gasoline Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Dino Original Station Advertising 50s Red Crown Gasoline Oil Thick Heavy Porcelain Sign Used Vintage Pump Plate Atlantic Motor Oil Gasoline Porcelain Sign Gas Oil Pump Mobile Texaco PegasusOriginal Tokheim Roller Gas Pump Nozzle *gas & Oil Vintage 1956 Gulf No-nox Gasoline Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Metal SignVintage 1950's Good Gulf Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 11" Porcelain Metal Sign