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    

Tokheim Vintage Petrol Pump Texaco Globe Classic Car Garage Collectable1960s Buddy L-texaco Fire Chief Engine Truck W Org Box-25" Exc+ -vintage ToyVintage Original Texaco Gas Pump GlobeBuddy L Texaco Tractor Trailer--near Mint Original--ford--no Reserve--Displayed Tamiya 1/10 Rc F103l Chassis Newman Haas K Mart Texaco Lola T93/00 Sinclair Gas 1950's Gumball Machine Vintage Motor Oil Sign Mobil Coin Op Texaco Texaco Diesel Chief Porcelain Pump Sign Gas Oil Can Station Advertising Ratrod Vintage Oak Coca Cola Gumball Vending Machine Coke Coin Op Chrome Candy Nut Firestone Gasoline Dealer Sign,gas Station,nos,original,named Sign,1971,metal,4'Approved Barrett Brake Dokter Sign Texaco Sinclair Gulf 1961 Buddy L Texaco Gas Station Playset No 5301-w Box-1/24-gas & Oil Vintage ToyOld Original Black "t" Texaco Porcelain Gasoline Sign - Service Station - Oil Vintage Original Texaco 6ft Porcelain SignEarly 1900s Vintage Texaco Motor Oil Old Wood Advertising Box For 48-1 Lb. CansVintage Texaco Sign Tin Princeton Moline Service Gas & Oil Advertising Illinois2Vintage Texaco License Plate TopperVintage 1963 Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignTexaco Curved Porcelain Gas SignEarly 1900s Vintage Texaco Motor Oil Old Wood Advertising Box For 2 - 5 Gal CanVintage Lot Of 10 Tomy Tomica Pocket Cars Some Unpunched Texaco Truck PorscheBuddy L Texaco Gas Pressed Steel Tanker Truck 1950's Gmc Made In Usa Vintage Red1950 Authentic Texaco Gasoline Porcelain Fire Chief Gas Pump SignVintage 1950's Mobil Oil Gumball Machine Gasoline Petroleum Gas Pump Coin OpVintage 1961 Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignEmbossed Ford Genuine Parts Arrow Shop Sign Mustang Truck Shelby Cobra Mobil Vintage Original Texaco Diesel Chief (diesel Fuel) Porcelain Gas Pump Plate SignVintage Texaco Home Lubricant Gasoline Advertising Oil CanWork Like A Captain/pirate Embossed Metal Sign Man Cave Vintage Look Sailor BoatTexaco Fire Chief Porcelain Pump Plate Sign Original 03-40 Date Great Condition Rare Vintage Texaco Zippo Lighter 3 Barrel Pat 2032695 License Plate Map Of The United States Heavy Metal Sign 25" X 16"1965 Texaco Nylint Ford Econoline Service Van-11" All Org-vintage Toy Gas & OilTamiya 1/12, Texaco Marlboro M23Vintage SignsTexaco Gas Porcelain Sign CurvedVintage Texaco Motor Oil Wood Advertising Shipping Box Crate Gas Station We Don't Call 911 Sign Colt Pistol Winchester Rifle Police Siren Ammo Gun MobilVintage Texaco Porcelain Sign,1950's,the Texas Co.gas Pump,gas Station,havolineTexaco Gas Oil Paper Shop Towel Dispenser Garage Service Station Store DisplayFlying Ace Pilot Lounge Snoopy Charlie Brown Embossed Raised Metal Sign GarageLot Ho Majorette Texaco Semi Walmart Exxon Pie Allied Roadway Diecast TrucksBig 30" Good Quailty Round Metal Texaco Gasoline & Motor Oil SignVintage Original Texaco Fire Chief Porcelain Pump Plate Sign 1963 Vintage Authentic Texaco Porcelain Fire Chief Gas Pump SignVintage Original Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline Porcelain Pump Plate SignIndian Motorcycle Metal 3-d Sign Garage Harley Shop Chief Chopper Mobil BobberTexaco 5 Gallon Heavy Motor Oil Can Tin The Texas Company Port Arthur,texas Texaco -1923 Medium Motor Oil Easy Pour Can-15"-vintage Gas & Oil Sign Can1959 Petrox Texaco Sky Chief Su-preme Gasoline Gas Pump Plate Porcelain Sign ExcCarousel Texaco Vintage Gas Pump Gumball Machine Bank 21-inch3d Man Cave Sign Garage Custom Car Auto Shop Wrench Tools Motorcycle Boat Bike RLarge Chevrolet Sales And Service Metal Sign Nova Chevy Truck Camero Ss C10 Vintage Texaco Sign, Porcelain On Steel, 42.5" Diameter1950s Buddy L Pressed Steel Toy Texaco Oil Tanker Delivery TruckOld Style Texaco Gas Station Restroom Key Holder, SignTexaco Motor Detergent Motor Oil Metal Imperial Quart Can EmptyVintage Original Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Porcelain Sign1959-60 Buddy L Texaco Tank Truck No 5603 W Org Box-24"-gmc Cab 550-vintage ToyTexaco Fire Chief SignLicense Plate Automotive Vintage Metal Clock 14 X 14 Steel Not Tin Retro