Gas station patrons born around my time or later have probably never encountered a legitimate gas pump globe in action. But for years, these beauties adorned the top of vintage gas station pumps across the country. Each one was designed to advertise something, usually a brand of gas or an oil company, but sometimes automakers as well. They were everywhere from the early days of 20th century motoring, but began to disappear by the 1960s, as high-quality lighting and large signage was easier to obtain. What I have here is a gallery of some of the most attractive gas pump globe designs I've come across. I can't vouch for which ones of these are authentic or just reproductions, but the point here is to appreciate just how much style and thought went into something most motorists took for...
I can't even remember the last time I stopped by South of the Border, one of the premier tourist traps on the U.S. eastern seaboard. I'm thinking it was probably the mid-'80s, on a drive between New Jersey and Florida for one of my many summer vacations in the Sunshine State. It is, to say the least, an odd site on the highway between North and South Carolina. Here's a photo of how it looked on approach during the 1970s. Click for a larger version. Plenty parking in rear! Notice, if you will, a few vintage gas station signs -- namely an old Shell logo and the American torch logo, the latter of which has since been supplanted by the Amoco brand. There's also a sign for Phillips 66, which is as unchanging as ever.
Ask anyone who was of driving age in the United States during the 1970s, and they likely remember well the two major oil shortage crises the country faced. The first oil shortage crisis, which lasted from October 1973 until March 1974, was set off when the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, or the OAPEC (consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia), proclaimed an oil embargo. This was reportedly in response to the U.S. supplying Israel with arms following the 1973 Yom Kippur War. On October 16, 1973, OPEC announced a decision to raise the posted price of oil by 70%, to $5.11 a barrel. In the United States, the retail price of a gallon of gasoline rose from a national average of 38.5 cents in May 1973 to 55.1 cents in June 1974. President Richar