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    

Vintage 16" 1950s/1960s Texaco Gas Oil Service Station Sign Red Porcelain Star Vintage 1957 Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline / Gas / Oil Porcelain Pump Plate Vintage 1950's 60's Texaco Gasoline Fire Chief Price Number Tin Gas Pump Sign Aaa Approved Porcelain Sign Hotel Garage Service Station Auto Club Camp GroundVintage 1960's Buddy L Toy Texaco Gas StationBuddy L Texaco Truck & TrailerOriginal Gas Pump No Sign Or GlobeTexaco Handy Oiler Mccoll-frontenac 4 Oz Oil Can Tin Sign Imperial Quart Canada1946 Porcelain Texaco Oil Round 8" Gas Pump Plate SignVintage 1955 Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal Sign Buddy L Texaco Fire Chief Fire Engine--new Old Stock--original Box--Sky Chief Porcelain Gas Pump Sign TexacoVintage 1950's Buddy L Pressed Steel Texaco Tanker Truck-*great Condition* "texaco" 1 Quart Motor Oil Tin Fair Cond Very Rare Item Oil PetrolOriginal Porcelain Gas & Oil SignVintage 1933 Porcelain Texaco Gas Sign - Free Ship! First Gear 1949? International Kb-10 *texaco* Tractor Trailer Tanker Truck Mint Humble Oil Porcelain Sign Restroom Keep It Clean Sign Texaco Texas AdvertisingRare Colonial Diesel Gas Globe Lens Not Gulf Sinclair Texaco Pure Oil LenseVintage 1963 Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 18" Porcelain Metal SignCox .049 Texaco Model Airplane EngineVintage Texaco Home Lubricant Oil Tin Can Lead Top Never Opened NrTexaco Gasoline Porcelain Sign Pump Plate Gas Oil Vintage No Reserve 10-33Texaco Sign Restrooms Are Locked For Your Protection Tin Texas Advertising Vintage Texaco Aircraft Engine Oil Porcelain Enamel Sign 12 X16 InchesFranklin Mint Texaco 1950 Mack B-61 Tractor Tanker 1:43 TruckVintage Early Rare Texaco Motor Oil Cup Grease Wooden Oil Can BoxCox Texaco .049 Engine No. 4506 Special Duration Engine NibTexaco Fruehauf Plated TankerVintage Texaco Sky Chief Porcelain Sign....gasoline Oil - Made In Usa 3/1/52Vintage 1940's Rare Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Curved Porcelain Pump SignVtg Nos 5 - 66 Texaco Outboard Motor Oil Quart Tin Metal Can Full Nice1960's Vtg Hi-flier Paper Kite Advertising TexacoAwesome Porcelain Texaco Sky Chief Supreme Gasoline With Petrox 3-10-61Vintage 1947 Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Porcelain Pump Plate Sign Dated 3-10-47Vintage Old Rare Texaco Motor Oil Gasoline Flaying Porcelain Enamel Sign BoardTexaco Tow Truck - Refurbished TonkaFirst Gear 1/34 #19-2926 Texaco International 4400 Jerr-dan Tow Truck W/ BoxesTexaco Service Station From The '60s Model Rc 1/24 ScaleVintage Hubley Texaco, Dinky Toys Hudson, London Toy No. 14 Master Deluxe CoupeVintage Texaco Improved Quart Oil Can All Metal Nice CanN Scale Mtl 65072 Tux #6811 #6853 39' Single Dome Tank Car Texaco 2 PkVintage Texaco Diesel Chief Porcelain Sign 3-2-65Vintage White Texaco Fire Chief Porcelain Sign 1958Vintage Old Rare Texaco Motor Oil Reg. Tm. Round Porcelain Enamel Sign BoardVintage Texaco North Dakota Toy Tanker Ship With Original Box Texaco Oil Can..quartHarley Davidson Gas Pump Ornaments/ Texaco/ Vintage 1920's - 1930's Original Texaco Ford Motor Oil Can Handy-grip Can$100 Texaco Chevron GiftcardTexaco Diesel Chief L Porcelain Pump Plate Can Texas Highway Tractor Seed GarageVintage Danbury Hoard 1st Edit Rare 9 1/2"1956 Texaco Sky Chief Tokheim Gas PumpMtl Micro Trains N Scale Weathered 39' Texaco Tank Tanker Car 65072Tyco Peterbilt Semi Truck K-mart / Texaco Racing Mint Condition2 Canadian Texaco Havoline 1 Imp. Qt Motor Oil Tin Cans Mccoll-frontenacTexaco Vertical Sign Service Station Mechanic Gas Pump Motor Oil GasolineVintage Community Oil Co Texaco Products Flashlight Advertising Oil Gasoline GasFirst Gear 1/34 1955 Diamond T Diecast Texaco Oil Co. Delivery Stake Truck Vintage 1950`s Round Texaco Household Oil Can With Long SpoutChevron Texaco Gift Card Gas $100