An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Fill It Up? Four Vintage Gas Station Images

Old service station photographs have long been a favorite here as they present a view of automotive service that no longer exists. Long gone are the rubber air hose at the pump island and the bell that signaled the attendant that a customer had arrived; he would fill up your tank, wash your windshield, check the oil level, fan belt and radiator hoses, and give you directions if needed. Today, sadly this is all gone and you pay at the pump or to an attendant in a glassed-in cubical who would rather be somewhere else.

Today’s feature contains four images of gasoline stations with the locations of two of them known. If you can add any information about the others, please comment. You can view over two hundred more articles covering old gasoline stations posted here in the past.


  • This expandable photo shows a new Gilmore gasoline station that had just opened for business. The Oil Company serviced the western part of the US and this location is in an unknown city. The photo appears to have been taken just before World War II?


  • Tagus Ranch Service Station was located on the Tagus Ranch property on the southwest side of Tulare, California. Note famous Mobil Pegasus sign in this early thirties view and the old-fashioned clock above the front door. Courtesy of the Michael J. Semas collection.


  • This mid fifties view of a Sinclair Station appears to have been a photo taken to promote “Capacity Day” – apparently a fill up day featuring discounted gasoline?  


  • The P.K. Williams Nash Co. dealership was located on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. Both it and the Texaco filling station appear to be in new modern post war buildings.

14 responses to “Fill It Up? Four Vintage Gas Station Images

  1. I worked at a Humble filling station in Texas as a teenager, and we used to sit on the Coke machine, just like the pump jockeys in Taugus. It was the coolest place in town.

  2. I love the Desoto Skyview cab in the first photo. Also the ’41 Chevrolet sporting white walls is different. I also miss the days of the dealerships tied in with gas stations

    • Hi John, I thought that was a DeSoto. I believe the attendant is making like he is reaching for the “premium” ( for publicity purposes), however, I doubt the cabbie would be buying “ethyl”. I remember when I was a gas station attendant, we were told to “push” premium. ” Fill it with premium, sir”? Was the question we were supposed to ask. “Nah, a bucks worth of regular”, was the usual response.

    • As a teenager in 1956 and a car nut, I remember that every manufacturer had a 4 door hardtop in 1956. There were only a few in 1955. But 1956 was a big year for this body style. My Dad had bought a new Pontiac in 1955, but didn’t like the performance. He was a traveling salesman at the time. He came home at the end of one week with a new 1956 Mercury Monterey Phaeton. Mercury’s name for its 4 door hardtop. Of all the cars our family had owned over the years this Mercury was my favorite. Unfortunately, one night on the way home, my Dad was T-Boned in the Mercury and it was totaled.

    • The 4-door Bel Air hardtop was a “rara avis.” Chevrolet pushed them hard in their print ads, but seeing one was always cause for a second look.

  3. The ’41 DeSoto taxi is from Farwest taxi, which is a Seattle-based taxi company, then and now. Probably somewhere in Seattle, as none of the surrounding towns would have a building that tall, back then.

    Love that Nash dealership. Wonder if they owned the gas station? Was a fairly common practice back then.

  4. My Uncle Howard bought a 1946 Nash CONVERTIBLE at this Nash Store in Seattle. It was one of ONLY 6 1946 Convertibles that were delivered to that West Coast store.

  5. Sinclair appears to have sponsored a national Capacity Day as early as 1941, and with the obvious exception of WWII, they continued until at least 1963. The company awarded prizes to the service stations with the best sales on that date. Indiana Sinclair franchises held a state-wide contest, but I do not know if all states did this. There were also local contests. For instance, the Fort Pierce, Florida News Tribune reported on January 4, 1956 the following.

    “As an indication of the success which Joe Martin has made in handling a modern Service Station he outsold all other Sinclair Dealers in Fort Pierce on November 26th, the annual Sinclair Capacity Day, and was awarded a suitable trophy for so doing.”

    The Advance, of Patchogue, N.Y., on October 16, 1952, reported that there was a “Sinclair Capacity day trophy cup. Standing 22 inches high, the cup is moulded along classic lines.” The paper went on to say, “Special judges will visit each station at both opening and closing to check and verify gallonage sales for the event which will be held as scheduled, rain or shine.” Newspaper ads often included the location of all local Sinclair Service Stations.

    The Ocala [Florida] Star-Banner of November 18, 1954 stated that, “On Capacity Day, individual dealers will vie with each other in a big gasoline sales contest – the one reporting the biggest one-day gallonage increase being named the Capacity Day winner. A special award plaque and prize will be awarded to the winning Sinclair dealer.”

    Sinclair also apparently encouraged the giveaway of Sinclair-ize Winter Safety Check coupons to encourage customers to return to the station and receive a free vehicle inspection. The coupons had printed on them, “Thank you For Your Patronage on Capacity Day,” and a place for the dealer to stamp their address and phone number. A Valparaiso, Indiana ad in October, 1957 shows a dealer giving away a free six-inch long flashlight with every gas purchase (limit one per car).

    Separate from the national contests, there were local Capacity Day events that benefited local civic and charitable organizations. The profits from the day were donated to a publicized cause. In Marshall, Michigan, the profits from gas sold on October 19, 1956, benefited underprivileged children, and another Capacity Day in the same city on November 2nd used the funds to purchase two-way radios for the township fire trucks. In Whitesboro, Texas, Capacity Day was held on November 19, 1956, and the proceeds benefited the Whitesboro Girl Scouts.

  6. The De Soto taxi in the first photo is a 1940 model, 139″ long wheel-base.

    And two ’41 Chevies in the background… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *