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The Goodyear Blimp Sign Offers Tires, Gas, Oil, and Service

Motor Tires Inc. opened a brand new Goodyear tire store at West 2nd Street and South La Brea Avenue, in Los Angeles, CA, in 1931. During this period most Goodyear tire operations in the area that offered gasoline displayed one or more of the Goodyear Blimps symbols over the gas pump island.

The Company launched is first blimp (non-rigid airship), the “Pilgrim” in 1925, and the symbol soon caught on in the public’s eye. In the early 1930s airplanes, dirigibles and zeppelins were very popular and since that time the tire maker has had a small fleet of them.

Motor Tires Inc. being an independent, offered four different pumps and brands of gasoline at this location, left to right are, Shell “40,” Gilmore “Blu-Green,” Union, and “Motor Tire.” An oil dispenser is in the middle of the pumps. In addition, it was a fully equipped facility that offered the following services: brakes, lubrication, tire vulcanizing, battery and electrical repairs.

Under the image of the complete facility that follows are three more enlargable photos showing the interior bays of the service facility that had just opened. The building has not survived and today a parking garage is on the site.

You can view over 175 more old service stations here. The photographs are courtesy of the USC Libraries.

Motor Tires Inc. 1931

  • Motor Tires Inc. new Goodyear tire store at West 2nd Street and South La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.

Brake Adjusting Machine 1931

  • The brake service shop with a Johns-Manville “Brake-O-Meter” that spun both wheels on an axle and made brake adjustments more precise. In the background are, a brake drum turning machine and a brake lining riveting machine. 

Exide Batteries 1931

  • The Electrical Shop that tested, serviced and sold Exide batteries and repaired starters and generators.
  • A modern lube bay that is quite like today’s “10-minute” facilities other than it is not a drive-thru.

HyVis and Penzoil Grease Rack 1931

16 responses to “The Goodyear Blimp Sign Offers Tires, Gas, Oil, and Service

  1. I got a chuckle out of the “No Smoking” sign below the blimp, as the Hindenburg disaster was still a few years away. The battery station, all that fancy equipment, is now in a hand held device. Little, if any, safety equipment for the employees. I never remember gas stations like this in the Mid-West. Usually dirty, greasy , less than desirable places, where the crabby attendant had the blackest fingernails around, and seemed like we were always bothering them for some service. No wonder self service took off. People may not realize, but self service gas stations are a huge hassle for handicapped people, and I bet full serve would be a good deal today ( my late elderly mom had trouble getting the gas cap off, so I made her a special “wrench” to get it open) Times sure have changed.

    • You’re right, Howard! The OSHA inspector would have kittens if he walked into a shop today and saw a mechanic turning a brake drum without eye protection!

  2. I worked in a full service station that also did a rousing tire business. The full service was a good way to sell product, though we were never pressured to sell things not needed by the customer. The money was not bad and it was supplemented by what we sold. We all worked to keep the place clean and tidy. The number of regular customers reflected the way they were treated I imagine.

    I note the guy in the lab coat is giving the finger to the battery tester….LOL.

  3. Looking at HistoricAerials.com, it appears to have been located on the northwest corner of the intersection, and was there until at least 1989; by the 1994 photo was taken it had been razed and replaced.

  4. A dirigible it is indeed. The control car is at the nose and the fuselage longer than a blimp and sleeker. The era of the photo would be right for the model to have been based on a U.S. Navy airship.

  5. “NO SMOKING” and STOP YOUR MOTOR are standard Gasoline Filling Station Area California State Law Safety Signs, Blimp Model or NO Blimp Model. American Blimps or Dirigibles utilized Helium, — for a “lighter than air” lifting gas, as it is NON- flammable. Hydrogen gas was used in Germany because: (although extremely flammable, and has a higher efficiency for lifting) , — Helium’s main source (TEXAS) was controlled by the USA , to prevent its use in German Dirigibles, which included BOTH WW-1 & 2.

  6. Adirigible can be either a pressure airship or a rigid.Dirigible means steerable ,unlike a balloon.Whether blimps got their name from the sound madeby sharplly fllicking the cover is moot.There were more survivors than dead at Lakehurst,that hysterical newsreel has lot answer.

  7. Material on the battery table is baking soda to dilute any spilled battery acid. My Dad had a Sinclair station for a few years in the 60’s and that is what everyone used when performing battery maintenance.

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