Discovery!!! The Story Begins, July 1931.
Did you check inside the walls???
Wayne Henderson often says to me, “You know, we have no idea what’s out there.” The statement is only partially true as the hobby has discovered and documented several thousand different globes and other collectibles. So we do know a lot. But he is right, mainly speaking about the new discoveries we find each and every week in this fascinating hobby of ours. The statement, though, takes on new meaning when the artifact is hidden inside a wall!
Here is another great story about a globe that is lucky to even exist. It is lucky to have been found. It will now have a permanent home in a collection where it will be much appreciated. We are elated that the best example of this globe was brought forward into the 21st century.
The date is July, 1931. Gill Glass Company makes a very rare Texaco globe for the day’s run of glass advertising pieces required to be produced. They made a lot of globes that day, but not very many of these. The reason being was that one piece globes were being phased out, being replaced by the more durable three piece glass versions. Yet today they, by Texaco’s request, made just a few more of these rare globes. We will never know why.
The globe, after it was made, is immediately crated and shipped to a Nash Automobile car dealership in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. The globe must have arrived safely, and placed inside to be later perched atop one of the old pumps outside the dealership. We have realized that in those days many car dealerships sold gasoline and many great discoveries have been found in old car dealerships. Many great rare globes, signs, pumps and even cans continue to surface in these old buildings. Two of the four known Standard chimney capped Crowns, as well as the only known Red Crown chimney cap from Standard of Indiana were found in such places.
But that day and the many days that followed, albeit not many days, the globe never made it outside. Only a little more than a year later, in 1933, the old Nash dealership was undergoing renovations or redesigning, and rooms had to be changed and new spaces created. That rare Texaco globe never made it atop that gas pump. Luckily, it never made it to the city dump either! Yet, it seemed to disappear.
The year is now 1998, and a Raleigh, North Carolina demolition team has been contracted to destroy the old building. The owner, we’ll call him Bill, has an eye for old collectibles. He has several old cars on his property and has found many great rare antiques doing what he does best. Today would be no exception.
As one of the inner walls of the old dealership began to collapse Bill yelled for his crew to halt. He wasn’t sure what he was looking at. The artifact shouldn’t have been there but for some reason it was. Preserved inside the wall for the last 65 years was the rare Texaco Ethyl one piece, red background version, one of only about six known. But this one was never used! He grabbed the piece, along with a local old porcelain street sign and brought them home. The Texaco piece sat inside his office until he got tired of looking at it.
The date is now July 8th, 2008. I got the call late that morning. I was extremely busy as we were leaving for our annual Garden City/Mrytle Beach trip very early the next morning. The lady on the other end of the line wanted to know if I wanted to buy this Texaco globe. She was calling for her boss. All she said was that it was Texaco. Texaco globes are very common, so I didn’t get too excited. When I asked where she lived she said this was her boss’s globe and his business was in Raleigh, North Carolina. I told her I was interested mainly because I would be going right by there on my way down south and could pick it up. Ironic, isn’t it? I asked her some more details and when she said it was a Texaco Ethyl my interest started to peak. She had to call me back later with more details. I was thinking it was either a one piece Texaco Ethyl, not that rare, but neat, or a rarer Texaco three piece, a prettier and more expensive globe. When she called back later, I asked if she could feel the letters as she said she could not find any screws at three or nine o’clock. She could feel the raised letters, so now I had it narrowed down exactly, so I thought. I said I would like to buy it, but I was leaving at 5 AM and had to go to the bank today. I couldn’t go to the bank tomorrow, as I was leaving too early. She told me exactly what they wanted for the globe. It’s nice when you don’t have to negotiate, which is rare these days. She still had to locate her boss, who was on site somewhere. Time was running out and it was nearly three, two hours before my bank closed for the day. They wanted cash and didn’t want to ship it, and I didn’t want it to slip away while on a busy vacation. I finally asked for a photo, though I knew what Texaco Ethyls looked like. When I got the photo I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. They had the rare red background Texaco Ethyl one piece globe. You could tell it had never seen a gas pump. Time went by. It was now 4:30 PM. My bank was closing in thirty minutes! I called back and they were still unable to locate the owner! Bill, the construction boss and owner of this globe, finally called me at ten minutes until five and he agreed to the transaction. I rushed out the door in a terrible lightning storm determined to get to the bank on time.
I made it to the bank just in time and the next day drove to Raleigh excited about this rare globe. I met the owner as my family waited in the car and he shared a few great stories with me about interesting things he had found over the years. His business property was filled with old cars and other artifacts he had gathered up. He was proud of what he had.
He told me the story about the globe that I just told you. The building was an old Nash car dealership, located in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. The building had been remodeled in 1933 and the room this globe was found in was redesigned at that time and the walls changed around. “Why would someone hide the globe in the wall?” I asked him, along with the old street sign he had also found. He could not offer an answer. Maybe the person wanted to start a time capsule, maybe it was a joke or maybe he or she was too lazy to walk it to the dump sitting in back of the garage. Whatever the reason we will never know, but I thank them!
The globe is dated inside the base and says, “7-31, Gill.” This is the latest date I have ever seen on a one piece globe. The globe was made, shipped and then stuck inside a wall for about 65 years right after that. The globe is dead mint, never used. The red is extremely bright, something you never see on a one piece fired Texaco globe. “Never seen the light of day,” is hardly an exaggeration about this piece. There are only about six of these known. All other Texaco Ethyl one piece globes have the white background with black letters. Three piece Texaco Ethyls were ready to be made at this point and the one piece ones were mostly history. The globe made the journey with us safely down south and then back north. I enjoyed looking at it every day in our condo we had rented!
Yes, Wayne, you are right. We really do have no idea what’s out there, especially when they hide the pieces inside walls as we drive right by them!
Wayne and I are making great progress on the new Gas Globe CD we hope to have out within the next year or less. We are gathering up thousands of photos, all color, except for the globes found in old photos which will be black and white, of course. If anyone has any rare globes that have not been published, please let us know if you want us to use your photo for the very comprehensive gas globe guide. Our last globe books featured over 4,000 globes with 2,000 color photos. We hope this guide will have over 5,000 photos, again mostly color. This guide will be so easy to use. If you want to look up a globe you just type in the name and there you’ll see the globe with all the information about it, including a rarity guide, current value, company history, years used, etc.
The PCM website, pcmpublishing.com, has been upgraded again after a few links were found not to work. We have recently added some new articles, Bragline photos and continue to expand the Repro Alert. The current issue cover, along with several past issue covers, is always displayed along with the mailing date of any recent issues.
Please remember we no longer have a fax line so any correspondence should be called in, mailed, or e-mailed. Photos can be e-mailed for Braglines or sent by regular mail. Call 440-355-6608 9-8 EST with any questions.
A 15 inch Crown Gasoline from the Crown Oil Company, not affiliated with Standard Oil or Crown Central turned up in an old collection recently. We believe this globe was from Iowa. Also a round Cities Service 13.5 inch Koolmotor with straight yellow letters surfaced.
As some of the older collections are being sold off, items we have never seen will surface. Known to the current owner, these will become new discoveries for the hobby. Such is the case of the Superamerica globe “discovered” in a Minnesota collection last month. We have seen a very rare Kanotex Kant Nox one piece etched, though there are only two or three known. Another one is being offered in an upcoming auction this fall.
Anyone ever see a Hart and Brockmire visible pump? We never have but one is being sold in a rare collection of gas pumps in the coming weeks. If we get a photo we’ll print it.
A lot of interesting collectibles showed up at the Iowa Gas show but we didn’t see much in the way of new discoveries. One sign was missed by several people though. A very rare, one of two known, 42 inch porcelain Kanotex sign was purchased that displayed the three men in the center. Usually Kanotex signs and globes display three vertical lines. The three men only appear on the one piece Kanotex globes and these two signs!
We are still concerned about undated reproduction items being sold as they continue to turn up at the shows, eBay and other venues. Though educating the hobby is all we can do, what happens in 20 or 30 years when most of us are gone? Hopefully, people in the future will still read the articles, the books and ask questions. Fantasy pieces and unmarked reproductions are still being offered and hopefully collectors today and in the future will know what they are buying. Most collectors do know what they are buying and know with whom they should deal. Unscrupulous sellers have no place in our hobby and we must stick together to protect our collectibles, our future and our investments. We see these types come and go as they stumble through their own unethical conduct. If we can help them out the door sooner, then that would be better. This is our hobby, not theirs.
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