In 1901, when the Shell Transport and Trading Company of London decided to choose a shell-shaped logo to capitalize on the late Victorian preoccupation with seashells, its founder, Marcus Samuel, selected a mussel shell for the job. Perhaps the choice was to allude to the shell's homophone—muscle—but by 1904, a more graphic seashell was chosen to represent the company, the scallop shell, whose fan-like yellow shape outlined in red still represents the company today.

Like the Texaco star, the Flying Red Horse of Mobil Oil, and the Sinclair dinosaur, the Shell logo is one of the most recognized symbols in all of petroliana. There are Shell signs, of course, some embossed to give the shell dimension. There are also shell-shaped gas globes and Shell-branded oil cans, be they the triangular cans from the 1920s and '30s or the conical cans from the '30s and '40s.


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