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 Texaco Marine Motor Oil Can-rare Graphics Dinky Toy Petrol Tank Wagon 'texaco' 25d Type 2Pair Authentic Conoco Filling Station Men And Ladies Restroom Enamel Metal SignsVintage 1962 Porcelain Texaco Diesel Chief L Gas Station Pump Sign No Reserve Original 1954 Porcelain Texaco Diesel Fuel 2 Pump Plate No Reserve Wen-mac Texaco North Dakota Battery Operated Tanker Ship-unused-1961-orig. Box!Vintage Texaco Porcelain StarVintage Double Sided Porcelain Texaco Motor Oil Flange Sign. Texaco Gas And OilVintage Original Texaco "no Smoking" Porcelain Gas Station Sign 23" X 4"* Nice Vintage 1966 Texaco Outboard Motor Oil Gas Station Sign Not Motor Oil CanVintage 1970s Old Texaco Antique Gas Station Pump Transistor Radio Exterior PumpVintage 1950's Texaco Marfak Lubrication Grease Oil 30 X 18" Enamel SignVintage 1950s Rayon Jersey Bud's Texaco M Athletic Gas Station Team Athletic Vintage Wind Up Tin Toy Train Set American Flyer Hiawatha Texaco Oil Christmas Vintage Red 1950s Buddy L Texaco Tanker Truck Moline Pressed Steel CoCox .o49 Texaco & Babe Bee Model Airplane Aircraft Glow Engines (3) Total Nice1957 Texaco 4 Dot Zippo Lighter Nib UnusedAntique Small Texaco Motor Oil Gas Pump Sign,the Texas Company,vintage StationSinclair Dino Service Gas Station Lock Box Steel Key Storage Cabinet MechanicVintage 1940's Texaco Marfak Lubrication Grease Oil 30 X 18" Porcelain SignVintage 1960's Texaco Petrox Gasoline Gas Pump Plate 12" Metal Sign~nicePorcelain Texaco Sky Chief Gas Pump Sign, 18"x12"" Original, No Reserve 1954C.1930s 1 Quart Texaco 574 Oil Can The Texas CompanyDads Garage 3d Embossed Metal Deco Father Dad Chevy Ford Mopar Chrysler Hemi UsaVintage Buddy L Pressed Steel Texaco Tanker Truck Oldsmobile Rocket 8 3d Metal Decor Chevy Ford Mopar Usa Race Fuel Hemi Gas Car Vtg 50s Buddy L Texaco Pressed Steel Toy Tanker Truck Original Nice Estate CarEarly Buddy L Gmc 550 Cab Private Label Texaco Tanker Tt Truck V Rare 50's NiceAntique Brass Texaco Visible Gas Pump Lock Padlock Wb Wilson Bohannan W / KeyAntique Brass Texaco Visible Gas Pump Lock Padlock Wb Wilson Bohannan W / Key7 Vtg 50s 60s Texaco & Havoline 1 Qt Quart Oil Can Lot Old Gas Pump Station FullVtg 40s Registered Texaco Dealer Service Rest Room Non Porcelain Sign Orig FrameDanbury Mint 1/24th Scale 1956 Ford Texaco Pickup-with Box-Texaco Skychief Porcelain Gas & Oil Pump Sign 1960's Texaco Fire Chief Helmet - Rare Collector QualityVintage 1920s Original Double Sided 30"x30" Texaco Motor Oil Porcelain SignTexaco Service Gas Station Lock Box Steel Key Storage Cabinet Mechanic KeysAntique Brass Texaco Visible Gas Pump Lock Padlock Wb Wilson Bohannan W / Key1950s Texaco Fire Chief Gas Pump Original Porcelain SignVintage Texaco Motor Oil Can - 1 Quart Texaco Fire Chief Porcelain Oil & Gas Pump SignTexaco Service Sign Gasoline Service Station Garage Oil Change Gas & Oil1955 Texaco Sky Chief Pump Porcelain Sign Panel Petrox Gas 0il Sign 22" X 12 "Franklin-mint-mack-texaco-tanker-truck-1:43-scale-die-castTexaco Gas Pump Globe Light1952 Texaco Evans Brass Lighter Nib 4 Vtg Early Gulf All State Amoco Texaco 40s 50s 60s Household Oil Can Lot Gas NrVintage Lot Of 29 1940s-60s Era Gas Station Road Maps,sinclair,texaco,crown,moreAfx G-plus Texaco Marlboro F1 Ho Slot Car 1733-850 Original Blister 1978Texaco Touring Service Metal Map Holder For Gas Stations1984 Texaco Diecast Bank #1 In Series - 1913 Ford Model T Van By ErtlTexaco Heavy Porcelain 9" Metal Sign No Reserve Pump Oil Service Star StationTexaco Sign Letters Neon Nos Sixteen Foot Lighted Original Large 1980's 1999 Ford F-series Holmes 440 Wrecker Matchbox Texaco Collection Die-cast 1/24Vintage 1950s Texaco Zippo LighterWarning I Get A Little Crazy When People Touch My Tools 3d Metal Decor Rat Fink Cities Service Utility Oil 4 Oz. Can Tin 1950's Vintage 1964 Texaco Inc Motor Oil Can 5 Five Gallon Gas Advertising Can Clean!!!Black T Texaco Sky Chief Porcelain Pump Plate Sign 18"x12" Usa - OriginalGamble's Stores Household Machine Oil 4 Oz. Can Tin 1950's