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    

1940's Bowser Vintage Gas Pump SunocoVintage 1970s Old Exxon Antique Automobile Gas Station Pump Transistor Radio Amoco Toy Gas Pump Vintage; Glass And Metal Wayne Gas Pump 60Restored Gas Pump 1940'sAntique Reproduction Gas PumpVintage Buckeye Brass Gas Pump Nozzle Rare! Warehouse Find Original Pepsi Cola Signs Vintage Machine Nos ReplacementVintage " Gilbarco " Calco - Meter Porcelain Gas Pump Face PlateVintage Visible Gas Pump Gallon Marker 0 - 10 Gallons Shows AgeVintage Green Sinclair Gas Pump Tin Advertising BankGreenlight Collectibles 12983 Shell Oil 1:18 Scale And Vintage Gas Pump Die CastGenuine Ford Parts Bottle Opener With Cap Catch Box Mustang Gt Super Duty F250Gas Pump Lot Original Ad GlassOld Brass Logo Padlock Lock National Recording Pump. Gas Company. With Key. N/rOld Time Vintage Nb Gas Pump Nozzle Vintage Mobil Gas Special Porcelain Gas And Oil Pump PlateRipon California, 1932 Real Photo Postcard, Main Street, Gas Pump, Cars, HotelVintage Opw Aluminum 811 Gas Pump NozzleNew Special-edition Texaco 1920’s Style Gas Pump Decorative Light Set, 20 LightsVintage Texaco Fire Chief Star Gas Pump Dime Coin Bank Gasoline Red Old Style Original Amoco Gas Pump Ad Glass, Gas Station Display, Tokheim 39, Nos, NiceStandard Porcelain W/flame Gas And Oil Pump PlateMetal Ford Parts Light Switch Cover Plate Mancave Garage Mustang Gt F150 Rator Vintage Standard Oil Service Station Gas Pump Salt Pepper W/ Crown Tops Greenlight Collectibles 12983 Shell Oil 1:18 Scale And Vintage Gas Pump Die CastSnapshot Conoco Service Station Cafe Devil's Elbow Mo Route 66 Visible Gas Pump1970's Vintage 1920's Style An American Gas Pump Liquid Dispenser + Original BoxRppc Early Texaco Gas Station Gas Pump AzoJohn Deere Gas Pump John Wayne 1930s Gravity Retired Edition Diecast Man Cave Roar With Gilmore Gasoline Station Pump Plate Car Truck Tractor Lion Gas Oil Vintage Gilbarco Gas Pump Nozzle Handle Working Complete1940s Photo Negative Sunoco Gas Station Truck Cars Fuel Pump Signs Attendants Greenlight 12983 1953 Ford F-100 Truck Shell Oil & Gas Pump Die Cast ModelsGearbox Vintage Die Cast Metal Buick Authorized Service 8" Gas Pump Replica 1996**awesome! German Panzerman Refueling His Pzkw.ii Panzer Tank At Gas Pump!!!**Roy's Mfg Miniature Visible Gas Pump Standard Brand 1980 W/ Metalic FixturesRoy's Mfg Miniature Visible Gas Pump Red Crown Brand 1980