Gas stations have evolved greatly since their inception in the late 19th century. Back then, there weren’t convenience stores or motels to go along with the pumps. In fact, it’s pharmacies who first sold gas, and they did it as a side project. The history of gas stations is rich and inspiring, as you can see from these incredible vintage gas stations.
1. S.F. Bowser Model 102 “Chief Sentry”
The Chief Sentry was manufactured in 1911, introducing the secure clamshell cover that inspired later versions of the pump. Back then, Fort Wayne, Indiana was the place to be if you owned a car, because the gas pump stations mushroomed all over; it took a bit longer for the rest of the world to catch up.
2. Pumps at Laurel Garage in Britain
These are the oldest working pumps in the United Kingdom, and they are all found in the Laurel garage located in Ramsbury, Wiltshire. Working since the 1950s, they look old, too. But they still work perfectly.
3. Shell Gas Station at Gilmore Museum
This is how a service station from the 1930s looks like in color. Though it’s a recreation, it has complete accuracy, from the tools to the restroom and even the price—you can see a gallon of gasoline going for an unbelievable 18.5 cents. If we had time machines, right?
4. Gas Station with Phillips Pump
This is a route 66 filling station with retro gas pumps along with other memorabilia. It is over 50 years old and nowadays exists as a museum. If you want to see how middle 20th century looked like, head over to Springfield, Illinois and see the station for yourself.
5. Curbside Pump
Spitler’s Auto Supply was another company that rode on the popularity of early gas pumps. Based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, it was a curbside pump, which was the norm before drive-through stations came along.