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Gas Station Series: Emerson’s Tydol Service Station

Thanks to reader Bob Melusky, for today’s feature we have five images of Emerson’s Service Station located in East Hartford, Connecticut. In addition to offering “General Auto Repairing” two grades of gasoline were available at the Station: Tydol “Ethel” premium grade and “Flying A” regular. The motor fuels and “Veedol” oil and lubricants were products offered by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey on the East Coast; Tydol was later purchased by J Paul Getty before WWII.

The pictures appear to range from the 1930s to the early post-war years; however it is not known how long Emerson’s continued to operate as a filling station and garage. In the late-1950s the building was torn down, although another old gasoline station is still located at the corner of Burnside Avenue and Mary Street in East Hartford.

22 responses to “Gas Station Series: Emerson’s Tydol Service Station

  1. Recall seeing pump jockeys smoking cigarettes and cigars while pumping gas, apparently unconcerned by the fire danger. Thus, was another era.

  2. Hope the cigar is not lit.
    That could be my dad in those coveralls.
    Another great series of pictures.
    First thing I do Saturday is spend about an hour going through The Old Motor.
    Thanks for the time and effort you put into it.

  3. Given the age of the cars in the background, I’m guessing the “NO GAS” picture dates to the days of rationing during the war.

  4. Have to wonder if the pump jockey is the same guy next to the Model A and then sweeping at the end. Last car looks like a 50’s something but you can’t really make it out. Must be a pretty leisurely workplace, what with birds taking roost.

    BTW, i’m thinking Standard Oil New Jersey became Exxon and Standard Oil New York became Mobil. Fascinating time capsule.

  5. The fourth photo (the window shot) is fascinating. First, Tony Soprano is watching you to make sure you’re not putting a car bomb in his ride. Second, the three birds clinging to the window sill are almost surreal. Finally, the Champion/Indy poster must have been from the late 1930sor the 1940s.

  6. Agree the first 3 pictures are the same guy; maybe the last also.
    They also had a public telephone complete with Bell System sign. Travelers needed to know where to find a phone before cells and forced breakup of Ma Bell.

    • Jim, I don’t believe these are of the same person. I think all four are different guys. The first man has thin hair receding on the sides while the second guy has what looks to me to be thick curly hair, the third man in a bit more hefty while the last man looks older with very thin hair. Just my observations and I could be wrong.

  7. This gasoline station was built circa 1928 by John F. Hansen. There were rooms attached to the station where he lived with his wife Johanna. She died sometime in 1930. He continued to operate this station until at least 1937. From about 1923 – 1928 he had operated another gas station on Woodland Road in East Hartford.

    The Hansen’s had a daughter named Edna. Sometime between 1928 and 1930 she married Evald N. Emerson. Evald was born in 1906 in Sweden, and he came to the United States at the age of four months. By 14 (in 1920) he was working as a laborer on a tobacco farm, but by 18 years old he was working as a woodworker at the Colt Patent Fire Arms factory. He continued as a woodworker for multiple companies until 1937. Evald and Edna lived with John during this time.

    Whether Evald purchased the station from John, or whether another arrangement was made to rename the station was made, is not known. What is known is that the station was renamed around 1937. This is the earliest mention of the station being named Emerson’s Service Station. The exact address was 1110 Burnside Avenue. When the station opened in 1930, this was at the far edge of the city, and for several years there was not an exact address and the address number changed at least once.

    From 1937 through 1943 this station was known as Emerson’s. From 1944 – 1946 the station was called Frank’s Garage, but I did not find out who Frank was. In 1943 Evald was employed by Pratt & Whitney in their Aircraft Division, and he moved out of the station’s rooms with his wife and young son John. In 1945 and 1946 he operated a gas station at 443 New Park Avenue in West Hartford, and they lived at 46 Terrace Avenue.

    By 1948 the station at 1110 Burnside had been renamed Emerson’s Service Station. It kept this name until 1953 when the name changed to the Williams & Kralik gas station. The station name changed in 1954 to W. H. Atkins gas station. Strangely, Evald was then operating a gas station at 1073 Burnside during this time. John moved out of the station rooms around the year 1954 to live with relatives. He died in June 1958 at the age of 95.

    The rest of Evald Emerson’s life is a mixture of jobs. He worked at the Wethersfield Lumber Company, he was a carpenter, and he and Edna moved to Manchester, Connecticut for several years. They returned to East Hartford in the early 1960s. Edna died in 1975 in East Hartford, and Evald died in Florida in 1985. Their son John went on to sell automobiles at Clyde Chevrolet Buick for 17 years and Bolles Motors for 15 years. He died in 1997.

  8. I think it’s the guy in the window’s sons. The guy pushing the broom is clearly the son that didn’t fit, but mom insisted dad give him a job. BTW, I read, surprisingly, there is very little danger of a cigarette ( or cigar) igniting gas fumes. It has to be a spark or flame. I don’t think a cigarette burns hot enough to ignite fumes. I saw a guy prove that once by putting out a cigarette in a puddle of gas once, not that I advise doing that.

    • Exactly. I remember flipping my cigarette butt into a pail of gas I had been washing parts in (remember when we did that?) just to prove that point. It simply was extinguished.

  9. The photo with the 1930 Model A Ford is a different garage. Note Mobillubrication over the door and the AC sparkplug sign and the Quaker State sign. The other photos are offering Tydol and Champion plugs. The Model A appears to have a WW2 license plate and windshield sticker. Note the white paint on the forward edge of the front fender on the Model A. They did this in England for blackout purposes, but I didn’t know they did it in the USA.

    • Connecticut used the two letter left-hand column and bottom tab box and CONN vertically on the right from 1937-41. From late 1941-46, the left-hand column was a number and a letter, so the plate should date before late 1941. 1941 plates had a silver tab, which I don’t think would show up that shade of grey in a black-and-white photograph, so I suspect it’s a 1940 yellow tab.

    • Interesting factoid. I’d never heard of painting the leading edges of the car white but, yes, I can see where under blackout conditions that’d help you spot an oncoming dark colored car, especially given the rain and fog endemic to Britain. Fortunately, in the States I think the only “blackout” regulations were in certain Eastern coastal areas after some German U-Boat attacks.

  10. The gas pump car is a 1938 Chevy, recognized the trunk and taillights. Had one in high school, shaved the trunk emblem and replaced the taillights with Terraplane ones.

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