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    

1950's Buddy-l Texaco Gasoline Tanker Truck With BoxVintage Nos "buy The Best Buy Texaco" 18" X 12" Porcelain? Metal Gas & Oil Sign!Texaco Service Station Rapid City S.d. Gas Oil Advertising License Plate TopperPorcelain Texaco Motor Oil SignNear Mint 1940 Vintage Texaco Fire Chief Old 12x18 In. Gas Pump Porcelain SignTexaco Motor Oil Can Half 1/2 Gallon Rare Collectible Vintage Oil Can Vintage Texaco Home Lubricant 4oz Lead Top Oil Handy Oiler Tin Can Sign Vintage Nos Texaco Aviation Tested Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Metal Gas Oil SignVintage Nos "texaco Power Chief" Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Metal Gas & Oil SignVintage Texaco Sky Chief Marine Gasoline 18" X 12" Porcelain Oil Sign Pump PlateAntique Texaco Insulated Motor Oil 21.5" X11.25" Double Sided Metal Gas Oil SignVintage Nos Texaco Ethyl 8 Ball 11 3/4" Porcelain Metal Gas Oil Sign Pump PlateVintage Nos 1939? Texcao Sky Chief Gasoline 11 3/4" Porcelain Metal Gas Oil SignTexaco Marfax Lubricacion Sign 1930's Vintage Texaco Oil Can 574 1 Quart Screw CapVintage Rare Texaco Home Lubricant Oil Tin Can Oiler Original Cardbord ContainerVintage Texaco North Dakota Oil Tanker Toy ShipVintage Texaco Coveralls & Hat Employee Service Advertising Gas Station GreenVintage 1950's Buddy L Texaco Truck Gasoline Gas Tanker Hauler Pressed Steel Lot 582: Full Length Matchcover Roadside Classic! Texaco Must See Spooner, WiTexaco 10k Tie Pin Tack 1985 & 1986 Texaco 2 Collector Truck Lot *1926 Mack Tanker & 1932 Ford Delivery Antique Metal Toy Texaco Oil Tanker Truck 5" Hubley 1930s Rare! Nice PaintAntique Texaco Gas Station & Motel Coeur D'alene, Idaho Auto Camp Postcard Old Texaco Porcelain Graphic Sign1960's Vintage Buddy L Texaco Promo Service Station, Gas Station #5301 With Box!Antique-vtg Green Telechron-ge Sinclair-dino Oil-gas-service Station-wall Clock!Texaco Mayer Ashtray & Match Holder Rare Mayer China Beaver Falls PaVintage Texaco Motor Oil 18" Porcelain? Metal Double Sided Gas & Oil Flange SignTexaco Marfak 5 Pound Grease Oil Can Very Nice ConditionVery Rare Texaco Gas Service Station Hours Door Window Sign W/ Inserts Orig 50'sVintage Texaco Marine Lubricants 24" X 12" Porcelain? Metal Gas Oil Flange SignRare Vtg-antique Gilbert Wolfs Head Oil-gas Station-pinup Girl Wall Clock-sign!!Vintage 1963 Texaco Marine White Gasoline 12" X 8" Porcealin Metal Gas+ Oil SignBuddy-l Texaco Gas Service Station 1960 1/24 Scale Danbury Mint 1956 Tokheim Model 300 Texaco Sky Chief Gas Pump Rare1950's Vintage Buddy L Texaco Gas Tanker Tractor Trailer- Pressed SteelVintage Porcelain Texaco Sign Fuel Chief 1 Gas Pump Plate Service DieselNew Neon Sign Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Motor Oil Gas Station Light Globe StarTexaco Star Oil Gasoline Sign,porcelain,vintage Gas Pump Petroleum Lubester,Vintage 1934? Havoline Wax Free Motor Oil 21.5" Porcelain Metal Gas Sign! TexacoTexaco Motor Oil Porcelain Enamel Sign 12 X16 InchesBuddy L Texaco Service Station 1960 Original Part Metal Base Platform DriveTexaco Oil Gasoline Sign,porcelain,vintage Gas Pump Petroleum Lubester,First Gear Die-cast 1/34 Scale - Texaco Tanker & Valley Asphalt TankerVintage Texaco Gasoline Porcelain Motor Oil Gas Service Station Pump Plate SignVintage Texaco Gas Station Changable Price 36" Metal Sign~complete & Nice1910 Texaco Service Station Attendant Hat / Cap Name Tag,"porcelain Emblem/badgeTexaco Toy TankerTexaco Red Star Motor Oil Flange Sign Gas Station Modern RetroVintage Buddy L Texaco Tanker TruckTexaco Early Black T Gas & Oil Porcelain Gas Pump Lubester Sign NiceRare Early Vintage Australian Como Starting Oil Lubricator Tin Texas/texaco Co"washington Chief" Vintage Gasoline Pump Plate Steel Porcelain Gas Station SignTexaco Aviation Gasoline Porcelain Button Sign Ande Rooney 11 1/4"Original Texaco Fire Chief Metal Pump Sign 3-1-57Vintage Texaco Wide Spray Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Banned In Ww2 Discontinued Vintage Wen-mac Texaco Fire Chief Helmet W/ Earpiece Speaker & Orig BoxMib Vintage Jerobee Cox .049 Glow Engine W/ Pull Start Baby Bee Golden TexacoTexaco Gasoline & Motor Oil Porcelain Gas Pump Plate Sign Station Lubester