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    

Antique Vintage Wayne 615 Visible Gas Pump 10 Gal. Estate Fresh As FoundWayne 615 Visible Gas Pump--no Reserve!!!Eco Air Meter Model 97 Ser. Station Air Pump2 Antique "texaco" Glass Gas Pump Globe Lenses Set ~ Original!! Nice!!Vintage / Antique Eco Tireflator Air Pump On StandEco Air Meter Vintage/antique Gas Pump SignVintage Advertising ( Flying A ) Gas Pump Salt And Pepper Shakers Lot 2Vintage 1946 Texaco Fire-chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignVintage Original 15" Metal Gas Pump Globe Holder/ringVintage Husky Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate Lubster Nr!!Vintage Gas Pump Globe Steel Ring Original Estate Find Unknown MakerVintage 1961 Sinclair Diesel Gas Pump Plate 14" Porcelain Metal SignAntique Gilbarco Gas PumpNos Old Mend Rite Tire Repair Flange Sign Gas Oil Not Neon Vintage Pump Trade Vintage Dixie Gasoline 11 1/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate! Lubster Nr!Vintage 1950's Atlantic Imperial Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 12" Embossed Metal SignShort Antique Gilbarco Gas PumpVintage Gas Pump Opw Brass Nozzle Canvas Hose Antique U.s.r. Co Service StationOilzum Gasoline Sign, Porcelain,vintage Oil Gas, Pump,rack, Plate, LubesterVintage Mobil Mobilgas Special 12" Porcelain Pegasus Sign Gas & Oil! Pump Plate!Texaco Diesel Chief L Porcelain Pump Plate Sign ~*~estate Find~*~ Antique Visible Gas Pump Handle **solid Brass** 13 LbsPelikan 1954 Fountain Pen Brown Brown Stripe Gold Filled Trim Pump FillerVintage Mobil Mobilgas 11 3/4" Porcelain Pegasus Sign Gas & Oil Pump Plate! Nr!~*~estate Find~*~ Antique Visible Gas Pump Handle Vintage 1950 Texaco Fire-chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignTydol Gasoline Vintage Porcelain Gas Oil Pump Lubester Lube Rack PlateVintage White Rose Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate LubsterOriginal Porcelain Esso Extra / Humble Oil Gas Pump SignVintage Standard Red Crown 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Pump Plate! Lubster Vintage 1940's Ethyl Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 9" Porcelain Metal Sign~niceVintage Conoco Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate Lubster Nr!Near Mint 1950s Vintage Gulf Gulftane Old Gas Pump Plate Porcelain SignVintage Sinclair Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Lubster Pump Plate NrVintage Richfield Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Lubster Pump Plate!Vintage Fire Chief Texaco Gas Pump Plate Rare 3/40 PorcelainVintage Signal Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate Lubster Nr!Gilbert Barker 176 Visible Gas PumpVintage Pontiac Authorized Service 11 1/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate!Vintage Indian Motorcycles 12" X 8" Porcelain Gas & Oil Lubster Sign Pump Plate!Vintage Pennzoil Safe Lubrication 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Pump Plate NrVintage Pure Oil Company 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas Sign Pump Plate Lubster Gasoline!Vintage 1950's Atlantic Imperial Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 17" Embossed Metal SignVintage Johnson Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate Lubster NrVintage Smith-o-lene Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas Oil Sign! Pump Plate LubsterVintage Sinclair Gasoline 14" X 12" Porcelain Oil Sign! Pump Plate Lubster +dinoVintage Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline Porcelain Pump Sign, Dated 3-6-46Vintage Buckeye 800 B Brass Gas Pump Nozzle Handle Drink Hires Root Beer Soda Fountain Countertop Syrup Dispenser With Pump Vintage Shell Service Station Gas Pump Porcelain Sign Plate Nr Mint Oil LubesterVintage Supertest Canada 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate Lubster NrVintage Humble Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate Lubster Nr! Vintage 1933 Texaco Gasoline Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Vintage Mobilgas Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Vintage Tokheim Gas Pump Nozzle HandleClearvision 519 Visible Gas PumpDanbury Mint Mobil Gas Station Clock. Vintage Gas Pump Service Station.Original Antique Gulf Gas Pump Porcelain Signs (not Reproduction) Both (2)Vintage Clark Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign!! Lubster Pump Plate Nr!Sunoco Gas Oil Service Arrow Embossed Metal Sign Sales Dealer Pump Shop