Like Gulf Oil, Texaco was founded in 1901 after a major oil strike at Spindletop near Beaumont, Texas. The company was officially incorporated as The Texas Company in 1902 and the word Texaco was first used as a brand (for asphalt, not gasoline) in 1903. The Texaco logo, a red star with a green capital “T” inside it, first appeared in 1909, but it would take another 50 years before Texaco would become the name of the company itself.

Texaco’s history is often intertwined with that of the Indian Refining Company, which The Texas Company bought in 1931. That purchase included the rights to Havoline Motor Oil, which has since become one of Texaco’s most recognized brands. Indian gasoline would be marketed until 1943 as an economy brand of Texaco. During this same period, in 1930, Texaco’s premium Ethyl brand was introduced before being renamed as Fire-Chief in 1932. A second premium blend called Sky Chief was introduced in 1938. Until the 1960s, Fire-Chief pumps were red while Sky Chief pumps were silver.

The green “T” inside the red Texaco star can help date Texaco-branded products. The earliest “T”s featured descending cross bars that turned up at their ends, as well as a pair of serifs at the base of the letter. By 1915, the “T” had taken on its more familiar shape, with the base of the letter mortised by two of the star’s inward-pointing edges. As for the top of the “T,” the bars were now fully horizontal, with stubby, descending serifs on each end. But the biggest clue to a Texaco product’s date is the letter’s outline, which was black until the late 1930s and white thereafter.

This star logo appeared on porcelain signs, tin signs, gas globes, and all sorts of promotional items, from cigarette lighters and ashtrays to ink blotters and pens. Naturally the star also turned up on the various oil and lubricant cans made for Texaco products, most of which featured a green background, the same color as the “T” inside the star.

Signs bearing the Indian brand are also collected by Texaco enthusiasts, especially the pump plates featuring an abstract figure rendered in what looks like beadwork. Other signature signs include those advertising Fire-Chief, which have a red fireman's helmet on them; Sky Chief, which are marked by a trio of red chevrons (ironically, Texaco is now a part of Chevron); and Diesel Chief and Fuel Chief, which commonly came in red and green, but rarely in yellow.

As with other petroliana, aviation and marine products are generally tougher to come by. Especially handsome, and prized by collectors, are the pump plates advertising Texaco Marine White Gasoline (Gulf also sold a Marine White brand), in which the Texaco logo was set within a ship’s wheel and the words “Marine White” were written in a script that appears to be made of white rope. Texaco also made a Marine line of china, which were decorated with a small Texaco flag.

Other Texaco related brands to look for include Havoline, whose logo featured a large red disc outlined by a white circle and a blue one; that graphic was eventually replaced by the Texaco star, although the Havoline name persisted. Caltex (a 1936 partnership with Chevron to develop oil resources in Bahrain and Indonesia) products sometimes have a red star on them, while in other cases the word is accompanied by the Havoline name and its pre-star logo. And then there’s McColl-Frontenac, which was acquired by Texaco in 1941 and sold its products under the Red Indian brand.

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]

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 Texaco 5lb Thuban Compound Texas Oil Company Tin Litho Lubricant Can Old10-1/2" X 10" Texaco Stand Up Adv Sign. ( Hard Heavy Card Board )17" X 11" Texaco Thick Hard Cardboard Stand Up Advertising SignVintage 24 Inch Long Pressed Steel Buddy L Texaco Tanker Toy Truck Shell Gasoline Clam Porcelain Sign Vintage Gas & Oil Pump Plate Service StationAntique Shell Handy Oil Can Lead Top Tin Selling Phillips 66 Texaco + Gun OilersEarly Texaco One Fourth Gallon Can With 3 Texaco Logos And Superb Colors1:18 Action Cart Indy 1999 Texaco Swift #6 Michael Andretti 1/18 Item W189941582Vintage Original Texaco Sky Chief & Fire Chief Porcelain Gas Pump Signs 3-3-65Vintage Original Texaco Insulated Motor Oil 21.5" X 11.2" Metal 2 Sided Gas SignChampion Spark Plugs Sign Porcelain Vintage Service Station Gasoline Display1/43 Franklin Mint, Classic Texaco Tanker, Mack B-61 Tractor, Look!Vintage Texaco Porcelain Sign Gas Oil Pump Plate Vintage 1961 Nos Texaco Super Caltex 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Pump PlateVintage Texaco Home Lubricant 4 Oz Tin Oil Can Lead Spout Advertising Sign 5½"Vintage Buddy L Pressed Steel Texaco Tanker Truck 1950'sVintage Texaco Porcelain Sign 1933 Gas Oil Pump Plate Vintage Texaco Diesel Chief Porcelain Pump Sign Rare Small 8" X 12" Size Metal Champion Spark Plug Service Real Porcelain Dealer Sign Heavy U.s.a.,gas,& Oil1950s Era Photo Negative Texaco Gas Station Car Globe Top Fuel Pumps A BeautyVintage Original Texaco Rest Room Key Return Sign Antique Texaco Oil CanTexaco First Gear Mack 1960 B-61 Tandem Axle Tractor W/lowboy Trailer 1:34 ScaleVintage Texaco Diesel Chief Porcelain Pump Sign Metal Garage Gas Indian Dated 62Frontier Gasoline Porcelain Sign Vintage Motor Oils Gas Pump Plate Oil PetroleumVintage 1930's Buddy L Texaco Tanker 27" Long Buddy L Texaco Tanker TrailerTexaco Porcelain Sign Orginial Dated 1930 Near Perfect Condition No ReserveVintage Texaco Diesel Chief L Porcelain Pump Sign Metal Garage Station Indian 47Original Vintage Texaco Sky Chief Porcelain Sign 1961Texaco Star Gasoline Porcelain Enamel Gas Pump Oil Service Station Metal SignVintage Texaco Diesel Chief Porcelain Pump Sign Metal Garage Station Indian RareHo Scale Train Diesel Engines Miller Santa Fe Texaco And More Parts Repair Vintage Texaco Fire Chief Porcelain6.00" Pump Plate Sign Gas & OilTp Texas Pacific Gasoline Motor Oil Porcelain Sign Vintage Petroleum Gas PumpSinclair Pole ThermometerVintage Texaco Porcelain Sign 9 Inch Gas Oil Pump Plate Ethyl Gasoline Corporation Sign 8" Porcelain Oils Gas Pump Vintage LubsterVintage Texaco Aviation Products Porcelain Pump Sign Metal Garage Station Can 2 Firechief Texaco Porcelain Pump Plates 10 X 15 Rare Antique Texaco Oil CanVintage Texaco Diesel Fuel 2 Porcelain Pump Sign Metal Garage Gas Station Indian1/43 Franklin Mint, The Ultimate Texaco Tanker, Mack Ch 613 Tractor, Look!Texaco The Texas Co Gasoline Motor Oil Porcelain Sign Vintage Petroleum Gas PumpPure Oil Gas Sign Vintage Novelty Visor Mirror 76 Texaco Esso Amoco Sunoco MobilVintage Original Texaco Rest Room Signs Matawan StyleS Scale Sn3 Brass Tank Car Precision Scale Tcx Texaco Iron Horse Road Number 78Vintage Texaco Diesel Chief Porcelain Sign Pump Plate Gas And Oil GarageTexaco Oslo Oil Tanker Ship Model 31" - Handmade Wooden Ship ModelOld Pr Of Wayne 60 70 Gas Pump Sight Glass Es GasolineVintage Texaco Gasoline 11 1/2" Heavy Porcelain Gas Oil Pump Plate SignS Scale Sn3 Brass Tank Car Precision Scale Tcx Texaco Iron Horse Road Number 791920s Texaco Port Arthur Can Oil Can Antique Antiques Filling Station Vintage Texaco "t & Star" Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate!Original Vintage Texaco Sky Chief Porcelain Sign 1950'sVintage Texaco Porcelain Steel Pump Plate 6.00" Ethyl Gas & Oil Sign 8+++Standard Oil Pump Plate, Torch Sign, Indiana, Real PorcelainFlying A Tydol Gasoline Sign 10" Porcelain Oils Gas Pump Vintage LubsterTexaco First Gear R-model Mack Fuel Tanker 1:34 Scale 19-2326 GreenPorcelain Sinclair H-c Gasoline. Pump Plate, Oil, Real Porcelain