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    

Wayne Gallon Gas Visible Gas PumpVintage Prestone Gas Pump ThermometerOriginal Conoco Porcelain Gas Pump PlateVintage Advertising Service Station Eco Tire Meter Air Pump Bell / Bottle OpenerVintage, Brass Gas Pump Nozzles, Buckeye Banana Nozzle, Visible Gas Pump1940 Texaco Skychief Visible Gas Pump PlateVintage 1940's Tokheim Gas Pump With Original Texaco Signs - Model 39Antique Brass Gas Pump Milwaukee Valve Co Permadisc Multi-speed Nos Vintage Texaco Fire Chief Gas Pump Advertising Salt & Pepper Shakers In BoxDiecut Shell Aviation Service Porcelain Oil /gas Pump Or Tank Plate 15"x5" Size.Mobiloil "metro" Oil/gas Sheild Porcelain Pump Plate. Pegasus. Heavy, See Pics.Original Brass Buckeye Gas Pump Nozzle Fig 800 B Service Station Oil PetroliumColeman Quicklite Lamp Lantern Handy Gas Plant Stove Air Pump Works GreatTexaco Diesel/gas Chief Smaller Size Porcelain Pump Plate 8"x12" Almost Mint.Time Super Gasoline / Oil Porcelain Pump Plate 14"x9.5". Mint Condition. Xmas !!Vintage Original 1970s Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline Pump Am Hiraoka Radio Mint Tokhiem 36b Gas Pump Face Pans Antique Old VintageOriginal Conoco "royal" Gas Pump PlateVtg., Dinky Toys, Miniature Visible Gas Pump W/ Original Rubber Hose, 1930's 40sOriginal Pair Of Contains Lead Porcelain Gas Pump SignsShell Motor Oil/gas Porcelain Pump Or Lubester Plate. Stick Man Graphics 8"x12"Vintage Original Esso Gilbarco Gas Pump Salt & Pepper Shakers Standard Oil No RVintage Opw 1a Fil O Matic Gas Pump Hose Nozzle Handle Sinclair Oil & Gas Porcelain Pump Plate 11.75" Diameter. Dino Graphics.xmas GiftHarley Davidson 1930's Die Cast Wayne Gas Pump/bankShell Drag Free Motor Oils Porcelain Pump Or Lubester Plate. 12"x8"8" Ethyl Gasoline Corporation New York Usa. Porcelain Visible Pump Plate.Atlantic Gasoline Porcelain Pump Plate 11 3/4" Gas/oil/dieselGasboy Gas PumpSet Of 3 Timex Collectible Small Clocks Gas Pump Jute Box Old Time RadioKnappco K-831 Gas Dispenser Nozzle Gas Pump Service Station Used- Free S/hAmerican Gasoline Porcelain Pump Plate 11 3/4" Diameter. Great Eagle DesignVintage Eagle 35-f Handi Grip Pump Oiler 1 Pt. Vintage Antique Water Oil Gas Hand Pump Transfer Ideal For Man Cave Vintage Lucite Top For Gas Prices On Old Gas Pump As Os Bit NeatTexaco Gas Pump Covered Box 1999 Nib 5 Inches EnescoRare Clark Oil & Refining Co. 1980 Annual Corporate Report Gas Pump Station LogoUnion Oil Company Porcelain Convex 12"x12" Gas Pump Plate. Usa, Sheild Design3.25" Tall John Deere Die Cast Miniature Gas Pump Collectibles Trucks SignsB/a Gasoline/ Oil Not Motorcycle Porcelain 11 3/4" Pump Plate.Good Gulf Oil/gasoline Porcelain Pump Plate. 11.75" Diameter. Interlocking G's.Vintage 1970's Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline 17 1/2" Plastic Toy Gas Pump3 Vintage Advertising Gas Pump Station Items, Quaker State, Schrader Guage, DinoClark Oil 1975 Annual Corporate Report Gas Station Pump Logo Vintage EmbossedClark Oil 1974 Annual Corporate Report Gas Station Pump Logo Vintage ChristmasVintage Porcelain United Motors Service Oil Gasoline Pump Plate Gas GarageVintage Gas Pump Nozzle Holders 2Original Mcdonald Brass Gas Pump Nozzle With Hook VisibleRoar With Gilmore Reproduction Gas Pump Bank Has Some Aging Missing Top PieceGearbox Texco Miniature Gas Pump Replica MetalMd27-084 '47 Sexy Gal Promos Vintage "norwalk" Gas Pump Selector 4"x5" Orig.negMd27-082 '47 Vintage "norwalk" Gas Pump & Econ-o-range Gas 4"x5" Original Neg.Md27-083 '47 Sexy Gal Promos Vintage "norwalk" Gas Pump 4"x5" Original Neg.