Old gas pumps re not only a beautiful sight but they have a fascinating history and aesthetic that captures the eye of many petroliana collectors. These antique pieces have evolved over the past 130 years to become an important part of our transportation heritage. There are many factors that influence their value, including their age, condition, and unique design. With a little knowledge and research, anyone can join the ranks of petroliana enthusiasts and collect these unique antiques.
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Before the invention of the modern gas pump, people would extract kerosene from barrels at general stores and fill portable metal canisters for their vehicles. It was a messy, wasteful, and dangerous process. Invented in 1885 by Sylvanus Bowser, the first gasoline pumps were crude but they were an important innovation that revolutionized the way we purchased fuel for our cars. The early pumps were simple and utilitarian, but over time they developed more and more features to help consumers make the best decisions for their needs. They also grew in popularity due to their eye-catching shapes and bright paint colors that helped them stand out from the competition.
By the 1910s, more and more companies started producing their own gas pumps. These often featured ornate glass globes that lit up to advertise their brand, as well as lighted dials to help drivers determine how much they had pumped. Later models also started to feature more sophisticated displays that showed the cost and gallons pumped.