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Service Station Series – Six Gallons of Regular for a Dollar

This “Pleasant” Gilmore Service Station was selling six gallons of “Higher Gravity” gasoline for a dollar, which today appears to be a very low price for fuel. Back in the late-1920s when today’s lead image was taken the cost of this fuel per gallon was 16.6 cents.

With inflation over the years added in it would cost $2.29 a gallon of fuel which is about 40 cents a gallon less than the average price of gas today in the US. The cost may appear to be cheap now with today’s higher gas prices, although only year ago it would have sold for about the same price per gallon.

The Service Station and a Miller Tire shop operated by E.F. Ransom were located on the same lot at 621 North Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena, California; today the site contains a parking lot and shopping center. The combination of the two service facilities side by side probably results in more sales for both operations.

View over 250 photos of vintage gasoline stations in the Service Station Series. Share with us what you find of interest in the expandable photographs courtesy of the Pasadena Public Library.

15 responses to “Service Station Series – Six Gallons of Regular for a Dollar

  1. For many years Dodge Brothers made a “C” cab commercial truck starting in the teens. Someone though it was a good idea and transformed a 1926-1927 improved Ford into a look alike by jettisoning Ford’s top and giving it a Dodge Brothers style top and sides. Nice job.

    • This truck conversion is almost too nice to be anything but a professional coach. It is what was commonly known as a “Canopy Express” (highly collectible!). Many were made (even by factory truck divisions) clear into the early 1950s. Most, however, were done on older light pickup trucks by simple amateur conversions of adding corner posts, top rails and lots of canvas.

      You can see a roll-up/down canvas canopy on the side of the truck bed which is open (suitable for display of vegetables and produce for residential neighbohood shopping on corners or up/down local streets on a route.) Pull the canopies down all away around for travelling to produce mart and out to the job sites for sales. There would usually be a large produce weighing scale near the rear corner and some bags on board for the customer’s purchases from the attendant/driver. These rigs were all over Southern California peddling very fresh produce practically right to the housewives’ doors. Most rigs were also equipped with a distinctive loud bell, vacuum whistle, Bermuda Bell (ding dong), or even an old brake drum to signal they were in the neighborhood on their usual weekday route. The attendants were usually wonderful folks earninig a good living.

      The Altadena Grocery Co. has their signage on the door. Altadena is a nice residential area just a bit east of Pasadena in the foothills area. It is home to Santa Anita Park (horse racing in the best traditions) established by “Lucky Baldwin”. It is our only major horse racing track left in L.A. area. The Preakness race is an annual big event.

      I find it fun to see the truck driver casually leaning out of his seat to have a conversation with the tire shop man at work (jack already under the axle). It appears to be a brand new tire just being unwrapped for the job. The wheels and tires are pretty substantial on this little truck.

      Tire man has got his work cut out for him with his tire irons and a big rubber mallet to get the old tire off, then slip in a good inner tube after getting new tire onto the rim and more work with the irons to get the outer bead onto the rim without pinching the inner tube. Whew! Then re-inflate and mount that baby onto the axle. He might even be able to change the tire without dismounting the wheel! Done! (“balance” ? Schmallence!) Next!

      • Small mistake here Rich. Altadena is located north west of Pasadena. It’s Arcadia that is located east of Pasadena. I lived in Arcadia from 1953 until 1989. During race track season it was an absolute bear trying to cross Holly Avenue which was a main artery out of the track at closing time.

  2. Gilmore Gasoline was founded by Arthur Fremont Gilmore, a man from Illinois who moved to Los Angeles in 1870 to run a dairy farm. While drilling a well for his cattle around the turn of the century, he struck oil. Gilmore lasted as an oil company until the end of World War II, and it still exists as a land holding company (the Original Farmers Market is still owned by the A. F. Gilmore Company).

    Boyce-ite was a Gilmore line of gasoline introduced on June 1, 1925. Within four months the blue-green treated gasoline was dispensed at 125 stations in Los Angeles and 12 in Fresno per the Madera Mercury of 20 October 1925. The additives were intended to prevent carbon deposits and were patented by Boyce & Veeder Co. of Long Island, NY.

    Prince Albert, as usual, was in a can.

      • Gilmore also participated in the Indy 500 from 1932-39 and ’41, sponsoring the winning cars in 1935 and 1937. The 1934 Gilmore Special was at the Concours d’Elegance in 2016 and photographs were displayed here in September of that year.

        • My avid baseball fan Dad, raised in Brooklyn, drove us in our ’56 Chevy to Gilmore Field to watch the Hollywood Stars play, a great ‘old style’ place. I guess he also drove there in his previous 48 Chevy as well, but I don’t remember that. LA was a great place for looneys like Arthur Gilmore, a lot of fun!

  3. I have just googled Prince Albert since I was not sure if it was snuff or tobacco….,going for a lie down.These shots would make a diorama par excellence.

  4. There is an automotive museum in Hickory Corners (Central Western Michigan) called the “Gilmore Museum”. It is a fantastic facility with many buildings and lots of wonderful cars on display. Well worth a visit if anyone is interested. They have a grass common area where several events are held in the summer. I plan to go again this summer. Check out there web site for details.

  5. “Lots of Gilmore” , here , but let’s not forget the Pan-Pacific Auditorium, a favorite place, same area, that every year, had a variety of Automotive related events that were very popular! (Too big & important, to Old Car history — to not mention).

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