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    

Sinclair Hc Glass Body Globe, Gas Pump, H-c, Vintage OriginalPorcelain 1930's-40's Gas Station Gas Pump Island Light Shade Gas Porcelain 1920's-30's Sunoco Motor Oil The Distilled Oil Pump Gas Station Sign Vintage Original Gas Pump Globe Metal BodyWashington Chief Gasoline Oil Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Texaco IndianVintage Gas Pump - Mobil Oil Old Gas Station Porcelain Sign, PetromaniaVintage Rare Circa 1915 Spherical Milk Glass "gasoline"gas Pump Globe~super NiceMobil Diesel Porcelain Sign Gas Pump Original Black Border Mobil Diesel Porcelain Sign Gas Pump Porcelain Gargoyle Mobil Oil Sign Texaco Gas Pump SignVery Rare Original Cllipper Gasoline Airplane Oval Gas Pump Globe Vintage Bowser Tall Gas Pump No ReserveVintage Original Gas Pump Globe Metal BodyVintage 1959 Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignVintage Gilbarco Air Meter. Not An Eco Air Meter. Old Gas PumpsVery Rare! 1946 Mobile Mobiloil Porcelain Pump Plate Pegasus Sign Gas Oil Globe C.1928 Chein, Texaco Filling Station 'free-air' Pump CartVintage 1959 Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignMobil Maine Porcelain Sign Gas PumpDredge Motor & Pump Honda Off Keene Wx15ax2 Mine Sluice Gold Nugget DewaterPorcelain - - Flying A - - Gas Pump / Truck Door - SignHeavy Rubber Fetish Gas Mask Latex Hood+3l Rebreather Bag+gag W/ Pump+twin HosesGulf Gas Pump Sign1930's Wayne Pair Vintage Gas Pumps With History Restoration Project No ReserveOld Mobil Oil Arctic Pump Badge Porcelain Gilbarco Mobil Vintage Gas Pump Restored 1940's - Fully Restored!Nice * 1940 Vintage Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Old Gas Pump Porcelain Sign Other Makes Antique Gas Pump National Simplex Clock Face Semi RestoredVintage 1960 Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignVintage 1954 Standard Red Crown Gasoline Gas Pump Porcelain Sign Super Clean!!Gas Pump Globe15 Inch. Round Very OldOriginal Milk Glass Shell Gas Pump GlobeMagnolia Gasoline Porcelain Gas Pump Sign TexacoSinclair Gasoline Gas Pump Globe 100 Octane Power-xMobil Gas Porcelain Sign, Pump Plate, No Reserve!One Mobilgas Special Pegasus Glass Lens Pump Sign Gas Oil Globe Mobil GasVintagetydol Flying A Gasoline Porcelain Pump Plate SignVintage Gilbarco Gas Pump Aviation White Eagle, Fully Restored!Vintage Standard Oil Gas Pump Crown Rare Blue Original Topper Globe OilVintage Gulf Oil Lighted Round 21" Gas Pump Sign, Dualite, NrStandard Oil Gasoline Flame Logo Porcelain Gas Pump Plate Sign Mobilgas Pump Sign Porcelian Rare Gilbarco Gas Pump @@@look@@@Rare Script Top Sunoco Dynafuel Gas Pump Top M&sNos Nr Mint 1960s Vintage Sinclair Gasoline Old Gas Pump Porcelain SignMatchless G80cs Motorcycle Camshafts Late Norton Oil Pump Type G80cs 18cs Hs ShAntique Fry 71 Visible Gasoline Pump, GravityPorcelain Mobilgas Pump Plate 19471945 Texaco Sky Chief Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Mobilgas Special Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Vintage 1960's Porcelain Texaco Gas Pump Sign Sky ChiefVintage 1940's Sinclair H-c Gasoline Gas Pump Metal Advertising Bank SignPair Of 1940's Gas Pump "contains Lead" Porcelain Sign "tetraethyl"Standard Oil White Crown Pump Badge Porcelain 1951Vtg 1963 "anco" Gas Station Pump Island Display Wiper Blade Service Kit Tool BoxVintage Visible Gas Pump Cylinder Glass Gas Tank 37 X 10 InchesStandard Oil Red Crown Pump Sign, Porcelain, 1954, Nice And Original 12"x15"Vintage 1960's Gulf No-nox Metal Gas Station Pump Plate Sign Not Motor Oil GcMatchless Ajs Twin Motorcycle Large Cap Oil Pump G12csr G15/45 31 G12 G11 G15 G9Vintage Sinclair Gas Boy Gas Pump