How Has Gas Price Signs Changed Over the Years?

If you ever watched “American Pickers,” you would have noticed that they are so much into automobile-related stuff. If they are not buying old metal containers containing oil, they’re buying auto advertising signs, oil pumps, and old gas pumps. Speaking of gas pumps, they even purchase the old tall rusty ones complete with glass globes. Gas pumps were first invented in the 19th century, with the first commercial one developed by the then Indiana-based Bowser Company in 1898. As the auto industry grew, other companies took the cue and began producing newer, better models.

New Innovations And Design

As people began to acquire new and more cars, the energy industry also blossomed, and gas pumps started popping up on every corner of the street. The early designs were extraordinarily tall and were made with a transparent glass tank at the top of the pump, making it easy to see the gas. People needed to see the gas because the first products contained dirty contaminants, which was a big problem back then.

Although initially produced in the 1880s, it was not until 1898 that the new gas pump models could draw gas up from underground tanks. If a customer wanted gas, they would have to manually pull a pump handle back and forth to fill up the glass globe. Once full, the next process of filling up an automobile with gas depended on the force of gravity which would make the gas run through the hose and into the vehicle’s gas tank.

Modern Models

The first gas pump models had simple markings on the globe to help people determine how much gas they want to pump. By the 1920s, electric pump models were introduced. However, customers still wanted to see gas, so the new electric pumps still had a clear glass. These pumps were designed in such a way that they resembled a clock face that showed both the customer and the attendant how much gas was pumped. However, they had not yet been programmed to compute the cost. Some years later, more sophisticated gas pumps that displayed the cost and the amount of gas pumped entered the market.

Modern cars came with modern gas pumps that included fancy displays like art deco. Gas stations in the 1930s were dimly lit, something that inspired pump manufacturers to include lighted dials and ornate white glass globes to lit up the top of the pump. These new features helped advertise the gas station and indicated gas price signs. The gloves also came in different sizes and shapes.

Collectible Gas Pumps

Toward the 1950s, more small and box-like pumps with gas price signs were invented, although they were not as collectible as the earliest models. Independent companies owned collectible gas pumps, and neither Texaco nor Sinclair had them. Contrary to popular perception, Texaco and others did not produce pumps. The company distributed the pumps. Ideally, distributors painted and customized the label on the pump to reflect the gas distributor. If the producing company got a new distributor, they would again paint over the pump or globe with a different color and logo of the new distributor.

Valuable Pieces Of History

Old design gas pumps are highly valuable and collectible. The glass globes are the most valuable component of the product since they are almost extinct. If you conduct in-depth online research, you would note the different models throughout the histories. And if you are into collecting outdated, valuable artifacts, you might find something interesting.