LET’S TALK PUMPS #29
Welcome to all new PCM subscribers! In this February edition of Let’s Talk Pumps we will address the subject of West Coast visible gasoline pumps and more specifically, the use of advertising globes on top of these pumps.
Last month I received a telephone call from Richard in Sacramento, California. Richard was in the process of purchasing a Boyle-Dayton Wayne Model #79, ten-gallon, hand-air operated, visible gas pump. He told me that the pump was nearly complete and in excellent overall condition, but that the globe holding ring was missing from the dome top on the pump. After some discussion, we determined that the pump had never actually used a globe holding ring, and that the only item on top of the dome was a hex head acorn (cap) nut. Next, I explained to Richard that this was quite common and that he could still add a globe holding ring and a globe to his pump if he wanted to. I further explained that globes were considered optional on many different West Coast visible pumps and that many oil companies did not use globes on their visible pumps in some Pacific and Western states.
Some of the West Coast gasoline pump manufacturers that we are talking about include: The Boyle-Dayton Company (The Wayne Company-Boyle-Dayton Division), H.J. Godshalk Co., Keesee Manufacturing Company, Lacer-Hallet Corporation, and Rheem Manufacturing Company. All of these West Coast manufacturers offered globe holding rings as options, but I would estimate that only around 50% of these pumps were ever equipped with globe holding rings and/or globes. By contrast, all or most Midwestern, Mid Eastern, and Eastern gasoline pump manufacturers equipped their visible pumps with globe holding rings.
As our telephone conversation continued, I convinced Richard that his restored pump would indeed look much better with a nice oil company globe displayed on top of it, and that he would not be hurting the future value of his pump by adding a globe to it. Richard was probably happy to hear this because he had hoped to restore the pump in Shell Oil Company colors and then top off the pump with a one-piece, reproduction Shell Clam globe or a reproduction West Coast style, 15” metal frame Shell globe.
As for the reason why many West Coast gasoline pump manufacturers did not equip their pumps with globe holding rings, I can only speculate. I would assume that these manufacturers were merely responding to the demands of the oil companies that were purchasing their pumps and to the demands of independent service station operators who were replacing old, obsolete equipment. Perhaps oil companies were trying to economize and save money by discouraging the use of advertising globes? Secondly, there may have been restrictions on the use of electricity in certain geographic areas due to the fear of fire and explosion? A third reason could be concerns of paint fading generated from the sun.
Finally, there were probably numerous height restrictions at existing filling stations due to lower canopy ceilings that were originally built for shorter, pre-visible pumps. There are probably other reasons why many of these pump manufacturers did not equip their visible pumps with the standard globe holding capabilities, but I can only speculate as to why.
As Richard and I wrapped up our conversation, I reminded him that he would have to check the pump to make sure it contained a conduit pipe to feed the electrical wiring (power) up to the center of the dome top. Fortunately, this Boyle-Dayton Wayne pump did still contain a vertical, center pipe that ran from the center casting, up through the glass cylinder, through the center of the top jar lid and into the lower area of the dome top. This is by far the most common method of feeding electricity to the globe on most West Coast visible gas pumps. This configuration was also used on some Midwestern and Eastern visible pumps such as Hayes, Clear Vision, Dart, Ideal and others. The more common method of feeding electricity to the globe on Midwestern and Eastern visible pumps, was to run a separate conduit pipe around the outside of the glass cylinder up to the dome top of the pump. These conduit pipes usually used a 90-degree curve at the bottom and top with a straight section in between. I should probably stress here that all of these conduit pipes were constructed with 3/8” or ˝”, black iron- explosion proof pipe, not the thin wall, aluminum, electrical conduit that is used in the construction industry.
To review, I think Richard is well on his way to building a beautiful visible gasoline pump and that his pump will definitely look more complete with a brightly illuminated advertising globe sitting on top of his pump. The bottom line here is that any West Coast visible pump can be outfitted with an optional lighting conduit, globe holding ring and globe.
Thanks for bringing up a great topic of discussion Richard, and please stay in touch. For now, I hope all PCM readers and pump restorers are staying warm, and please remember that the spring shows are just around the corner!
You can send your questions, photos, and inquiries to:
Time Passages, Ltd./Scotty’s Garage
P.O. Box 65596
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
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