Guess What’s Sitting atop that Gas Pump?
I have touched this topic many times over the years but in light of recent items discovered, that we cannot explain, the subject continues to stay fresh.
There is no doubt not a week goes by in this hobby where some unknown brand, variation, different style, etc., of some gas pump, gas globe, sign, can, map or whatever shows up in our hobby. For Wayne and me, trying to stay on top of everything new or different that is found, is simply, an impossible task. I do attempt to stay current on new gas globes found as much as possible, but there are so many being discovered in old photos these days. Signs, cans, gas pumps, again, we try to stay current on these new finds but, honestly, that duty is easy to fall behind on. So we rely on stories from others, oldgas.com website, pictures our readers send us and tell us about and other sources.
Recently, Wayne sent me a photo of a very early Richfield West Coast Gas Station, station number 16 to be exact, and asked what I saw atop the gas pumps in the photo? My first response was, “Who doctored up this photo? That’s impossible!” Wayne told me he went over the photo several times and the photo was authentic and assured me it had not been photo shopped, doctored or altered in any way. Well, what were we looking? This early 1920s West Coast service station had gas globes on top of their pumps with the logos of the early pre-eagle multi colored shield logo of which only a few of the metal frames are known to exist. No big deal, eh? But these West Coast gas globes were not metal framed globes at all. These were clearly one piece, most likely etched but possibly early fired versions! Now, to West Coast (as well as any collectors), this makes no sense. How many West Coast companies used one piece globes like Gilmore, Polly, Rainbow, Signal, Chevron or Union (not Canadian Union - we have seen one piece Canadian Union globes)? We haven’t found one yet! What are these Richfield globes and why one piece? This photo just doesn’t make any sense to us at all.
There was another photo floating around the hobby several months back showing a very large and strange looking Texaco Gasoline and Motor Oils globe, no chimney cap, on top of a very tall gas pump that was also unique. The globe looked to be at least 25” to 30” tall! These pumps and globes were obviously custom made for this location and we can only surmise that the Richfield globes in this photo would be the same.
I am having a gas pump restored for myself right now that the hobby has never seen. Unusual and unique gas pumps are not really that rare in the hobby and strange finds turn up nearly every month. When it is finished I’ll get everyone some photos. I probably mentioned this before but it’s an early pipe organ pump like you’ve never seen. In the upper skins is a rotating drum that turns displaying “To Car, To Storage,” and other writing. The casting below the glass cylinder has a built in window to view the gasoline, which according to the pump guys seems quite rare or even unique. Anyway, the pump was found on a vineyard/farm here in Ohio and I can’t wait to see it finished.
Check out another discovery from Wilshire Oil Company!!! You West Coast guys will go crazy on this one. We thought we knew the four known Wilshire globes: Polly, Economy, Radio Gasoline and the tombstone Economy super rare one. Meet number five! This globe was still on a gas pump on a farm in California just a couple weeks ago, visible pump to boot! See the photo the new owner provided. What a great looking globe; this new discovery surprised us. Wayne and I expect to find a Wilshire Ethyl Gasoline globe and perhaps others from this company as decals of Wilshire Ethyl globes and other decals are abundant in old photos.
About ten years ago Wayne commented to me that there may be more unknown items out there than we can imagine. At that time that statement seemed more than impossible. Ten years since that remark we have discovered over 1,200 more globes, hundreds of new signs, cans, gas pumps, maps, etc. So now the statement may be true. Is it still true today?
Where will it all end? The answer is, it won’t. That’s what makes our hobby fun and exciting. Good hunting!