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 Ford Anti Freeze Can, Non Sinclair Mobil Texaco Vintage C.1940 Texaco Motor Oil Glass Bottle Jar Can Sign W/spoutTexaco Skychief Porcelain Sign, Vintage Original Gas Pump Plate, Tokheim 1947Texaco Metal Flange Sign Vintage Porcelain Gas Sign Pump Oil Service StationVintage Texaco "diesel Fuel 2" "green" 18" X 12" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign!! Nr!!Vintage Ford Shock Fluid, Non Sinclair Mobil Shell Texaco Wayne 80 Martin Schwartz Gas Pump High Top, Mobil, Texaco, Union 76, Tokheim1950s Buddy L Texaco Tanker Pressed Steel Toy Truck--24" Long1952 Vintage Texaco Insulated Motor Oil Old Double Sided 22 X 11 Inch Metal SignTexaco Firechief Porcelain Sign, Vintage Original Gas Pump Plate, Tokheim 1947Vintage Mopar Trans Fluid Can, Non Sinclair Texaco Mobil 4 Singer Oil Can Handy Oiler Set, Non Mobil Sinclair Texaco Vintage Texaco Motor Oil "clean Clear Golden" 1 Gallon Metal Oil Can See Pics Vintage Cadillac Crome Cleaner Can. Non Sinclair Mopar, TexacoTexaco Diesel Fuel 2 Porcelain Sign Garage Service Station Chevrolet Ford DodgeVintage Texaco Furfural'd Film Motor Oil 16" X 9.5" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Nr!Vintage Texaco "diesel Chief L" 18" X 12" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Pump Plate NrVintage Mopar Handy Oiler, Non Sinclair Mobil Shell TexacoVintage Mopar Oil Can, Non Sinclair Mobil Texaco ShellDanbury Mint 1956 Ford Texaco Truck 1:24 ScaleVintage Steel Buddy L Texaco Tanker Truck +2 Steel Tonka Jeeps And Boat TrailerVintage Texaco "diesel Chief Diesel Fuel" 18" X 12" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Nr!Highway 61 1947 International Kb5 Fire Truck Texaco #53001 1:16 In Box Jm 46fVintage Texaco "aviation Gasoline" 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign No Reserve!!1940's Vintage Porcelain Texaco Outboard Motor Oil Enamel SignTexaco Old Porcelain Sign 20" Heavy Convex Gasoline Oil Lubester Gas Station Vintage Texaco Petroleum Products 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Pump Plate NrFirst Gear Texaco International Kb-10 Tractor W 30' Trailer 19-2822 1:34 Sj 42fVintage Texaco Petroleum Products 9" Porcelain Gas & Oil Lubster Sign Pump PlateVintage Mopar Auto Polish, Non Sinclair Texaco Shell 1963 Original**rare**texaco Fire Chief Porcelain Gas Oil Sign Pump Plate. Nice!Mopar Flat Tire Repair, Non Sinclair, Texaco, Mobil, Shell Mopar Lock Oil Can, Non Sinclair Mobil, Texaco, Ford Vintage Mopar Oiler Can, Non Sinclair Texaco Mobil Vintage Original Bell Motorcycle Helmet Display Sign – Nicely Constructed UsaRare Vintage Texaco Advertising Pocket Stick Match Safe Holder With StrikerHavoline Wax Free Oil Porcelain Sign Garage Station Chevrolet Texaco Indian FordHuge Lot Of Household Vintage Oil Cans Gulf, Marathon,sinclair, Shell, Texaco, Trico Windshield Wiper Blade Lighted Sign. Non Sinclair Texaco, Mobil Vintage Texaco "gasoline" 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Pump Plate No Reserve Texaco Diesel Chief Porcelain Pump Sign Garage Service Station Ford ChevroletTexaco Gasoline Sign Porcelain Vintage Oil Gas Pump Rack Plate Lubester 30s Texaco Gasoline Porcelain Sign Vintage Oil Gas Pump Rack Plate Lubester Vintage Texaco Steel Restroom Sign W/key Holders And Door Sign.Vintage 2 Gallon Texaco Valor Tin Metal - Oil - Can - Nice GraphicsFord Vintage Lock Lubercant Oil Can, Non Sinclair Mobil Texaco Texaco Gasoline Porcelain Enamel Gas Pump Oil Service Station Logo Metal SignVintage Texaco Gasoline Lubester Porcelain Sign Vintage Gm Lock Lubercant, Non Sinclair Mobil Texaco Shell Original Vintage Texaco Fuel Sign Fire Chief Sky Sinclair Gulf Union 76 PhillipsPhillips 66 Handy Oiler Glass Bottle, Non Sinclair Mobil Texaco14 Hardly Oilers Lot, Military Oilers, Non Sinclair Mobil Texaco Service Stations Man HatNice Vintage Texaco Home Lubricant Oil CanVintage Texaco Gasoline Porcelain Sign Gas Pump Rack Lubster Gulf Can Oil Shell Pair Of Duplex Marine Engine Oil Quart Cans--oil City Penn--no ReservePhillips 66 Handy Oiler, Non Mobil Sinclair Texaco ConocoVintage Texaco Porcelain Pump Plate SignLot 3 Vintage Zippo Tape Measure: 2 Texaco And 1 CadillacVintage Cities Service Gas Station Porcelain Sign Gas Pump Plate!