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Gas for Fifteen Cents a Gallon: Goodrich Tires Service Station

The B.F. Goodrich and Firestone tire companies began opening tire stores with combined service and lubrication facilities in large cities around the country in the late-1920s. Goodrich opened a number of new outlets in the Los Angeles, California area in the early-to-mid-1930s probably in an effort to retain its market share during the Great Depression.

These staged promotional photos were taken by the Dick Whittington photo agency of a Goodrich service station on Elk Street in the Glendale neighborhood of Los Angeles (one of Wittington’s 1932 Ford Model “B” roadsters is used as a prop.) On the far-right-hand side of the image are a service area and next to it the lubrication facilities. The second photo below shows a Goodrich balloon tire on a special rim to suit it.

Tell us what you find of interest in this circa 1934 photograph courtesy of the USC Libraries.

25 responses to “Gas for Fifteen Cents a Gallon: Goodrich Tires Service Station

  1. The gas pumps are interesting to me. Are there both early visible gravity flow types as well as later style pumps with a dial indicator showing the amount of gas dispensed on the islands? Also, it appears that for a nickel each you could have your plugs cleaned and gapped stretching a few 100 more miles out of them before investing in a “real” tune up. The air lines coming off a tower type affair is interesting. Seems that a simple hanger or hose reel would make more sense?

    Love the photos. Keep them coming!

    • Also notice the variety of gasoline brands. The only two I can make out are the Texaco and probably Calpet on the far right. A lot of California stations had mixed brands up to the mid to late 30’s I believe.

  2. The sedan in the first and second photo with the fluted corners of the radiator shell I suggest is a top of the line Chrysler. This feature was copied from the earlier English Vauxhall. The car on the lift is a 1934 Ford model 40 deluxe (2 horns). The wheels are aftermarket.

  3. Sure looks like air, oil and water were just as important as getting gas. We didn’t see many outside “grease pits” in the midwest for obvious reasons ( they filled up with snow) but I do remember the outside lifts. They were mostly for simple tasks, oil changes and such, and the big jobs were inside. The customers were dressed so nice, whatever happened to that?

  4. I love that cute 1932 Model B Ford convertible at the pump. I wonder if it might be a V8 with the light bar V8 badge removed? A classic Ford even today. It apparently was customized with white wall 16/17 inch tires and wheels and the license plate was moved to the bottom of the grill from the headlight bar.

  5. In the first photo the car at the pump on the right is a 1926 Chrysler Imperial. The car on the lift in the 4th photo is a 1934 Ford with artillery wheels instead of the usual wire spoke ones. That is very unusual.

  6. This might seem boring, but so many times I look at photos like this and think how much men’s clothing has not changed. Pants might get tighter for a while, wider for a while, then tighter again.. lapels and ties widen and then not.. but if you compare it to women’s fashion / style the differences are stark.

    I always thought if I had a time machine and went back 100 years in a suit, nobody would know I wasn’t from that time period. Kind of cool.

  7. Fifteen cents in 1934 sounds like nothing, but adjusting for inflation, that would be about $2.85 today. So, still inexpensive, but not a give-away.

  8. Back in the 90’s, a friend sent me a picture of a ’34 Ford at the Death valley resort that somehow he acquired. It was a vehicle used for transporting guests etc. and it had those wheels. I researched this in my extensive auto book collection and discovered these wheels and a heavy duty suspension were put on taxi cabs and police cars. Good looking wheels, I think!

  9. The actual address for the Goodrich Silvertown station was 320 S. Brand Boulevard which at the intersection of Brand Blvd. and Elk Avenue. The Goodrich building is gone, and the location is now a Hyundai used car lot. This Goodrich location seems to have opened about 1933. The manager in 1933 – 1934 was J. Lee Gregg. It was at this location for less than 15 years.

    Frank Barrett mentions above E. J. Algots. This was Eber J. Algots who was an automobile electrician for many years, but he was not the station owner. Algots was born in Chicago, moved to Louisiana with his family after 1910, and after his father died, the family moved to Burbank, California. He, his brother Mortimer and his sister Zefer became partners in a dairy, and he was also a jeweler. By 1923 he was an electrician at Wynn’s Tire & Rubber Company which was a Firestone dealer (401 S. Brand).

    By 1930 Algots was an electrician in the shops of Lister-Reese which repaired railroad cars (streetcars?), but by 1932 he was an automobile electrician. He only worked at this Goodrich facility for a couple of years. By 1936 he had opened his own shop specializing in automobile electronics, but in 1939 and 1940 he was working for Kessinger Motor Service as an electrician.

    Starting around 1941 – 1942 Algots began working at Psenner-Pauff, Inc. There he repaired speedometers and possibly other electrical equipment. In 1948 he was called to testify in the trial of Caryl Chessman, a robber, kidnapper, and rapist, because a speedometer in one of the vehicles used in the commission of the crimes had been repaired at Psenner-Pauff. Algots appears to have worked at Psenner-Pauff into at least 1962. That same year he moved to Yucaipa, California, near San Bernadino, and it was there that he died in 1965.

  10. Water from the tap in the rad, wow, things have changed, but now when I think of it, I remember seeing the watering can out on the pump island.

  11. Being a former resident from age 3 , 1942 ,during WW-2 of the “Atwater” District, (built in 1925), ” of the City of Los Angeles, The City of Glendale (not in LA ) was across the S.P.R.R. Dual Tracks, that paralleled Hwy 99 , nearby. Atwater was isolated from L.A, —by the SP RR, River, Mountains, and RR Freight-yard & Roundhouse. Although it was in LA , but for most purposes, it could almost be regarded as a lower middle class “neighborhood” of Glendale! Glendale had a lot of stations, as it is a big city, itself, much beyond a “neighborhood”. The stations in Atwater had a “mix” of Glass/Gravity Fill with (2)sight gauges & the “fraction on the price was: 1/2 cents. The later rectangular Electric pumps, with “meters” for gas Had a 9/10ths cents fraction price. (Signal , Shell , Chevron & Mobil.) The comment from someone about: A tire being filled from a “gadget”, up high , was very common in all stations: it was a counter- Balanced Pipe “arm” with rubber hose extension, that was for both : Radiator water and another arm nearby, (where it wouldn’t interfere with the other arm & hose), that had a compressed air chuck (with gauge) for tire filling. One manufacturer of these “hose assemblies” (either the “fishing pole” type or the (later) “underground reel” type), was: The Forker Manufacturing Company in L.A., who did a world- wide business for these common service station components. Edwin W.

  12. Ace Zenek Knows Glendale well! Mr. Algots was the “go to” man at Psennner & Pauff , for speedo. repairs, and one of my favorite Car Parts places, as all of the Employees “knew the parts as well as the catalogs did”! Those days are over!!! I really do miss this personal touch, folks! The computer does not replace the Human brain & caring for Customers! Edwin W. Another real Treasure was all of the “junkyards” on Riverside Drive and San Fernando Road, Hwy 99. My own favorite was: ” Double Dollar Auto Parts”, that kept my Model “A”‘s and V-8’s going !!! Great for me at age 16!

  13. Those are not artillery wheels on the Ford they are chrome plated steel weels that look like wood wheels but bolt on same as stock wheels

  14. I have a 34 Ford similar with “balloon” tires (as in the picture). I am TRYING to find the center hub caps to fit the wheel… anybody have suggestions? I have three and can’t find them anywhere ..

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