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Vintage Gas: Period Photos and a Texaco Sky Chief Television Commercial

Today’s feature contains a pair of images of gas stations, taken in the late-1920s and the mid-1930s. Accompanying them at the end of the post is a Texaco television commercial filmed in 1962 which will be familiar to many readers.

The lead image and an enlargeable section of it below are from Portland, Oregon and taken at a busy scene which contains a combination Roto Way car wash, filling station and repair garage. At the time the street sign read Union Ave (now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) and E. Couch St. A view of the location recently shows that the facility has not survived, but the Blake, Moffit & Towne Paper building has. Tell us what you find of interest in this scene.

The second image below shows a Mobil White Star Division filling station in Detroit, Michigan with a Mobil “Arctic” sign promoting its cold weather motor oil hanging over the gasoline pumps. The building was attached to the J.E. Johnson headquarters and may have been operated by that firm?  Both of today’s images are via Jeremy Gilmore at Petroliana.

And finally below is a Texaco television commercial filmed in 1962 to promote the Oil Company’s new “Star Chief” gasoline. A 1962 Chevrolet Impala sedan was chosen for the film that includes many scenes used in Texaco commercials of the time and includes the Company jingle of “The Man that wears the Texaco Star.”



14 responses to “Vintage Gas: Period Photos and a Texaco Sky Chief Television Commercial

  1. In the first photo, the truck next to the Model T, on the right, appears to be a circa 1926 Federal-Knight. They bought the 4 cyl Knight engine from Willys-Overland even after W-O dropped the 4 cyl Model 65. An identical truck lives up here in Michigan.

    You are doing a great job David!

  2. “Look ma, dem new computers for 1962”. You can get that same technology today on a wrist watch. Those catchy jingles will forever be burned into our heads. Seems Texaco had the catchiest. ( so who DID have the “perfect gasoline”?) Today, that jingle would have to be rephrased, “You can trust your car to the PERSON that wears the star”.( hmm, doesn’t have the same zing, sorry ladies)
    In the top pic, the poster on the building “The Jazz Age” came out May 6, 1929 and classic grease monkey with baggy greasy overalls.

    • From that era I remember a MAD magazine parody ad showing Fidel Castro (with the big Red Star) posing as the Texaco man.

  3. This may sound strange to some, but when I was 3-4 years old (Mom told me this; I didn’t recall)
    I apparently had the Texaco jingle memorized word for word from TV. Mom said I toddled around the house singing it!

  4. in pictures 1 & 2 you see a classic Natural Gas tank which used the gas pumped into it to provide both: Reservoir and Line Pressure by the ability of the tank to rise and fall with supply & demand. No doubt that the Boilers for the Car Wash & related Chassis Steam Cleaning of vehicles is ‘Nat- Gas’ powered.

    As to the picture of the “lone” gas station: — Please note the absence of — (“absence” should be in “caps”), — responsible “setback” from the building behind it!: Reason? Fire hazard! Service stations can burn as easily as a gas pump can, — if repair work is performed inside of the station. Source: Gasoline & Oil Cause: I can think of about ten reasons and a few bad “combinations”, one being: “spontaneous combustion” of soiled rags — that can level a station (without even touching the pumps)! This is as much to blame on poor city commercial planning “ways”, — as it is — the unfortunate choice of location. A “fully involved” station fire could easily burn into the next building that is “closely coupled” to it —by several ways. There is a very good reason for gasoline stations to “stand alone”. A fine example of: “Don’t do this”. “Coulda-woulda-shoulda” can be prevented. An excellent “training aid” for: City planning Inspectors , City / County Fire Department Inspectors, Product Wholesalers and Property Insurance Inspectors. Edwin W.

  5. Second photo looks like a 30-31 Model A Deluxe Roadster parked at the curb in front of the station. Looks like one of my A’s.

    • I suggest it’s a Chevrolet. The rear end housing isn’t Ford, the tail light is not round (it’s oval like a Chevrolet) and the rear window is too wide for a Ford.

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