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 Motor Oil Porcelain Double Sided Flange Sign, PetroliniaOriginal Porcelain Texaco Motor Oil Porcelain Sign With Pouring Oil From Can48 " Vintage 1960's Gulf Oil Gas Station Lighted Sign Texaco, Standard OilRare Texaco Handy Oiler Oil Tin Can Long Spout W Original Box Advertising SignOriginal Atlantic Gasoline Ethyl 30" Porcelain Sign No Reserve!1957 Texaco Fire Chief 22" Porcelain Gas Pump Sign Not Shell,esso Oil No ReserveVintage 1947 Texaco "fire Chief" Gasoline Gas Pump Metal Porcelain SignVintage 1961 Texaco Oil North Dakota Toy Tanker Motorized Ship Model Box WorksWarning Bigfoot Area Sign Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Garage Rat FinkHuge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Led Vintage Texaco Motor Oil Double Sided Porcelain SignFlying A Gasoline 10" X 10" Porcelain Pump Plate Sign Original Texaco Porcelain 6ft Gas Station Sign Double SidedTexaco Airplane Die Cast Crop Chevron Air Express Motor Oil Gas Sign Mobil EssoTexaco Fire Chief Porcelain Sign1947Vintage 1966 Texaco Outboard Lubricant Boat Motor Gas Oil Metal Sign AdvertisingTexaco Porcelain Gas Pump Plate Sign 1950 Sky Chief Porcelain SignFender Guitar Sign Electric Stratocaster Case Sunburst Strings 3-d Metal Mobil(4) Vintage Texaco Green Porcelain Gas / Service Station / Barn Lamps / LightsNice * Vintage Texaco Sky Chief Gasoline Old Gas Pump Porcelain SignOriginal 1955 Texaco Skychief Marine Porcelain Pump Sign Metal Texaco Motor Oil Gas Can With Spout Gas Station Garage Tools Hot Rat RodAbsolutely Beautiful Original Texaco Sky Chief Porcelain Pump Plate Vintage Texaco Home Lubricant Oil Tin Can Handy Oiler Lead Top 4oz UnopenedAntique Texaco Gas Station Lollipop Sign HolderTexaco Sky Chief Porcelain Sign 1964Gulf Thermometer Motor Oil Gas Pump Texaco Petroleum Globe Mobil Sign Metal CanVintage 1960 Texaco Tanker Truck With Box8 Texaco Motor Oil Can Rack Gas Pump Outboard Aircraft Engine Sign Globe MobilTexaco Truck Die-cast Gas Oil Chevron Chevy Ford Mobil Globe Pump Metal Sign CanVintage Porcelain Texaco Motor Oil Golden Poor Double-sided SignOld Frontier Sign Rarin' To Go On Pedestal Sunset Gasoline Sunrise Motor Oils Porcelain Gas Pump Sign TexacoHuge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Red8 Texaco Motor Oil Can Rack Gas Pump Outboard Aircraft Engine Sign Globe MobilTilt Texaco Marlboro Mclaren M23 1/24 Formula One Plastic Model KitOriginal Texaco Gasoline Motor Oil Pump Single Face Porcelain Sign Advertising Texaco Botoga Olso 32" Ship Model - Handmade Wooden Tanker Ship ModelTexaco Fire Chief Gasoline Sign 1940 PorcelainDale Earnhardt Sr #8 Main Texaco 1956 Ford Lionel 1/24 Scale Cwc "caution Flying Tools" Metal Sign Vintage Garage Shop Chevy Ford Gas Oil Metal Texaco Motor Oil Gas Can With Spout Gas Station Garage Tools Hot Rat RodOld Original Porcelain Texaco Skychief Gas Pump SignVintage Texaco Outboard Motor Oil Sae 30 Porcelain Enamel Ad Sign BoardFranklin Mint Model Classic 1950 Texaco Tanker With Mack B-61 TractorMetal Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline Arrow Sign Petroleum Motor Oil Gas Pump MobilTexaco Chevron The Tanker Texaco New York W/ Cert.Big 30" Good Quailty Round Metal Texaco Gasoline & Motor Oil SignSs Texaco North Dakota Oil Tanker Antique Vintage Toy Boat Ship Plastic 1961Texaco Aviation Porcelain Sign Gasoline No Reserve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Holley Carburetor Advertising Sign Vintage Look Chevy Ford Dodge Garage Rat RodFord Mustang Emblem Hood Ornament Desk Sign Pony Shelby Boss Truck Mobil TexacoRusty Vintage Texaco Sign 42 Inch Double Sided ? Two Signs ? With Bracket Rare Vintage Lot Of 3 Oil Cans, 5qt, Texaco, Kendal & SinclairPair Of Texaco Star Restroom Signs Service Station Rest Room Sign Gasoline OilTexaco Truck Die-cast Gas Oil Chevron Chevy Ford Mobil Globe Pump Metal Sign CanLarge Vintage Style Metal 3d Entrance Welcome Sign Open Business Store ReplicaAction Rcca #28 Davey Allison Texaco Havoline 1:24 Dirt Late Model 1/5000 Warning Bigfoot Area Sign Embossed Metal Sign Sasquatch ? Stay On Marked Trail Road Runner Coyote 3d Metal Sign Super Bird Plymouth Petty Dodge Mopar Chrysler