Being new to this board, maybe this thread has run before. Anyways, after reading all the posts about values put on globes & petro stuff, I began to think about how I got started into collecting & what is priceless to me. About 35 years ago a neighbor farmer was about to junk a 5 gal Fry which was very complete. At that time I had never seen a visible pump. It fascinated me. He told me I could have it for the taking. That was my very first pump. I restored it completely. Then 20 years later when he was selling the farm and cleaning out some sheds, he gave me a call on New Years day & asked if I wanted something else to go with the pump. I went to his place & he had the original globe that came with it. The globe was put in an old "summer kitchen" building and junk got piled on top of it. It turned out to have one perfect lens & one cracked one. The globe was found under a pile of steel plow shares! Anyways, the globe was and still is a very unusual one. It has no brand name, but says "The New Premium Gasoline at Price of Motor". Making a long story short, this combination which adorns the entryway foyer of our house is priceless to our family. I've restored many pumps over the years but this one & it's globe is very special to us!
I remember sitting in the back seat of my family's '59 Ford station wagon on a rainy night and looking up at a Conoco globe atop the pump. I was probably 4 years old. In 1982 a customer gave me that very globe.
Over the next 10 or 12 years I picked up 2 or 3 more globes, but I didn't consider myself a collector. The thing that really turned me into a collector was a 25 cent quart of Sinclair Extra Duty oil my wife picked up at a garage sale. Karen bought that can so I could use the oil but she didn't complain when I put it on a shelf in the house and said it was cool and proclaimed that I was going to collect a few more cans to display with it.
After all these years I still have the Conoco globe, and its Conoco Ethyl counterpart that came from the same station. I also still have that Sinclair can that kick started my collecting obcession.
My kids enjoyed the hobby too. Jeff decided he was going to collect Sinclair while Darrel concentrated on Shell. Every weekend we would go to an auction, a flea market, or hit the antique shops in hopes of finding more petro treasures. I'd get home from work to find the new issue of Check The Oil magazine all dog eared because the boys had been reading it.
[This message has been edited by Lastgas15 (edited 01-09-2007).]
My dad and I were looking to decorate an apartment that we built and wanted to make it guy cool. We though of a 50's diner and found out about an auction that had some old signs. My dad and I went to the auction which was of the late bill voss collection. He was an avid collector here in CO. I saw a powerlube quart sell for 1000 and a minute man sign sell for $1500. My dad and I bought a few signs then I bought a pump to restore for the living room. Six months and 15,000 miles later I had 50 pumps. The rest as my wife says, is my hobby turned obsession!
Wanted Powerine, Bearcat and Powerlube Items- Lots to trade!
I will have to say that the main reason for my interest is the bond that has formed between my son and I. We both live for the "big" find even though it is much harder to even dream of than it was 15 years ago. We have enjoyed countless road trips down the gravel roads,probably any within a 100 mile radius have been gone down over the years. We both have some fantastic memories over the years.
always into hot rods and street racers.. my kids weren't... maybe thats a blessing... my natural progression was into the gas "stuff". although i always had a collection of something or other going on, i kinda' stuck to this stuff.. met alot of nice people and people that weren't so nice. just like in every other hobby. i stick mostly to the outboard oil stuff right now but that can change tomorrow....
IT WAS FALL CARLISLE 1985, WHEN AFTER BUYING A BUNCH OF HUGE CHEAP COCA-COLA SIGNS (COLLECTING SINCE 1972) THAT WHEN I WENT INSIDE TO PICK-UP THESE HUGE SIGNS, I SPOTTED A 1930 TEXACO SIGN 42" D/S PORC (YOU KNOW THE ONE) AND IT WAS $85 AND IN GREAT SHAPE. I HAD $125 EXTRA SPENDING DOLLARS, SO YOU KNOW WHAT GOT ME STARTED! 21 YEARS LATER I HAVE GATHERED A RESPECTABLE COLLECTION OF MOSTLY SIGNS, CANS, PUMPS AND MAPS! MY FAVES IN THE HOBBY!
About ten plus years ago years ago I seen an old gas pump leaning against an old building. I stopped, inquired and left my name. Old timer called back saying it wasn't his, it was his hired hand who skipped town and owed him money and if he didn't settle up he would call me back. A year later I got a call,and went back to check it out. He wanted 100.00 and I countered with 75.00. I really upset him and we parted. At this point you have to understand that even though my family was in the gas business since the 20's, I only knew the price of a gallon of gas and absolutely nothing about old anything. I researched the pump, immediately called him back to apologize and said I would gladly give him the 100.00 and pick it up if he accepted.
I still have the early Wayne 60.
I even found a globe from my grandfathers station for sale on the internet by chance being sold by my second cousins, the price went up when I called...
Morel of the story = doesnt pay to be a tight has.
This is the stuff that is priceless. Can't beat good conversation and getting to really know people.
My beginnings were back when I collected small toy trucks and vehicles. My wife and I spent many a day searching in antiques and flea markets. I always enjoyed the search, being with my wife, and the potential for the big find. At some point I was interested in accessories to put on display with the trucks. Little things turned into direction and passion of quarts eventually. I do enjoy it all and have started a small collection of signs and now a globe. Recently my father and I after many a year of divided lives, have reconciled and we have a new found shared interest and that has been the icing on the cake.
Well, it all started for me when i was about 11. My step-dad was having a 30 foot by 30 foot room added to the back of the house as a gameroom for us. Immedietly after, he had to go and buy 2 old Mills slot machines. On the way we kept stopping and stopping at all the big antique malls and he loved the old coca-cola and soda advertising since he remembered it from when he was a kid. Then, came came the 3rd or so last aisle we hadnt been down, an entire aisle rented by 1 guy filled with gas and oil stuff and it was packed full of it(malls somewhere in the middle of VA and NJ) and that aisle was at least 100 feet long and it was like seeing Jessica Simpson naked in person. Ok, well it wasnt that nice of a looking aisle but thats what started it.
After going in all those antique malls, me and him would go to all of the antique malls within a 3 hour radius of our house every weekend. I enjoyed cause it was in a way an adventure. But then one day I showed him the world of ebay which was about 3 years ago. Sad to say, we havent been to a antique mall since...
[This message has been edited by MrMoneyClips (edited 01-09-2007).]
Good topic for discussion.... I dont know how, or when, exactly that I got the bug. I moved out to the country at the end of 1999. Just down the road from me is a tall Tok 39. Every day I drove by that pump thinking that it would be cool to get it and restore it. Why I picked an old gas pump, I'll never know. After talking with the keeper, she told me that there was one down at the old sawmill that her family owned. Well, one pump led to another, a Tok 39A, as the search for doors for the G&B 96 led to the discovery of a 36B. It was all downhill from there. A gas pump from our hay supplier, two 36Bs from a customer, (see "The thrill of the hunt") http://www.oldgas.com/shoptalk/ubb/Forum4/HTML/001230.html
the Front Range Gas Bash, a COTM feature, http://www.oldgas.com/shoptalk/ubb/Forum4/HTML/001159.html
a few oil cans from Wes Worsham, (where has he been lately?) maps, e-bay, a bunch of stuff from DB, e-bay, auctions, Scott Wright, a road trip to Iowa Gas...... AAAAHHHHHHHHHRRRRGGGG!!!! DID I MENTION E-BAY?????
Wes and Tara are on their honeymoon. I doubt that he's thinking about oil cans and gas pumps right now. At least I hope he's not!
I have enjoyed this post, so thought I would add my story. Started working summers, pumping gas and washing windows at a Flying A station down the street from my home in the mid 60's. Started collecting small toys and roadmaps in the late 50's, once I learned how to beg and cry until I got them. Lost interest in the 70's and early 80's. Picked up the hobby again when I started racing fulltime in the late 80's. Been collecting off and on ever sense.
OMG!!!!!! I forgot that he said January!!!!! Wes.... My brother... I love ya' Congrats..... Hope you're havin' a blast!!!!!
Twelve years ago(?), I bought an old Seven Up sign and a Pepsi thermometer at an auction in Bells, Texas for $50 apiece.
I was very green at the time. I'd scour the backroads looking for stuff...
One time I drove 3 hours (one-way)to a far corner of the state because an elderly lady in an antique shop told me she saw an old Coke sign still hanging on a closed down drugstore. Of course, there was nothing on the drugstore once I got there. BUT there was a porcelain Shamrock sign, still in the pole, right square in the middle of the town. That sign made the trip worth it...
I started when I was about 11-12. My family had a place down at the beach in NC, and we would typically take rural highways to get down there. On the way were numerous old stations with old pumps, etc (all gone now). Also on the way was Wayne Story's place. For some reason the old pumps, etc really caught my eye. My dad wasn't into collecting at all, but we decided to stop at Wayne's place at my insistance on the way back up one time. I bought a 30's Texaco 42" sign from him as my first petro purchase ever and I was hooked. Being a kid, I usually had to save up my money for the occasional purchases, until I got my first job around 14-15. I got my first pump when I was around 14. I'm 25 now, still collect on a bit of a budget, but luckily its not quite as tight as it used to be! Met lots of great people in this hobby. I was probably one of the first people on ebay (stuff used to be crazy cheap on there), but there's no substitute for going to the shows or auctions.
I started collecting about 5 years ago. We bought a old farm house in the country & I wanted to do something with the attic. I got signed up on Ebay & started looking at signs. I told the wife lets make the attic a small rec room & decorate it with some old signs. I have alway liked the look of old signs & thought it would be cool so she said ok. Well I started out buying 1 & 2gal oil cans & small tire rack signs. Then the signs got bigger & the attic got a little more stuff in it & so on. Needless to say the attic is for storage & I now have to much petro to put up there. Like any other collection you pick up other petro idems of differant kinds. I now have over 300 signs,about a dozen pumps,9 lubsters,100 oil cans,14 globes & the other odd & end stuff that goes with it. My wife will tell me once or twice a year "you need to sell some of that stuff you have it everywhere. It is in the barn,your pole bulding,chicken coop & basement." So I tell her it dont cost a dime sitting there so deal with it. Plus I dont smoke,drink or do drugs so this is what I do & enjoy. She does like it even if she complains about it "she has let it slip out more than once LOL". I have a old barn that I want to redo & make the old hay loft a rec room & the downstairs a shop. It is plenty big enough to display my collection & have room to add more. Well this is how I got started & that is all I have to say about that. HAGD Brad Ralston
I got started collecting Coke Machines and signs in 1997 after wanting to rebuild some family history (My grandfather owned a Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in WI from 1934-1989). Collected Coke stuff for years and 4 years ago bought a 59 Vette, then of course started looking for a 1950's Gas pump to put next to it. Got my first Pump this past year and now have 3 Bennetts. Next looking for some signs for the new garage/shop that will be built this spring to put the Gas Oil Stuff in. Coke stuff is still the favorite and it's in the gameroom in the house.
A couple friends at work were collecting gas pumps about 15 years ago which peaked my interest. I called a cousin who was a farmer and he said he had a pump in his dump come and get it. I got it home turned out it was a Wayne 60, I was hooked. That year the three of us picked up about 50 pumps mostly at scrap prices. One friend needed money so I bought alot of his pumps the other one moved away so I ended up with alot of those pumps also. At present I've got 38 restored pumps in the barn. I just started my 50th restoration which is a Erie 10 Cadet. Lonnie Hop's articles on collecting globes on a budget in Check the Oil started me on globes. I thought maybe I would get 10 or so, 160 globes later I have to say I'm addicted to pumps and globes. Richard
It's always fun to here the different stories about how a collection got started.
I have always been interested in cars, mainly American, and you always come across "related" stuff...
I got started about 7 years ago. I saw a little paper model of a gas station, 1:43 scale, at a car swap meet. The model was built like a wall with two pumps in front of it, very simple.
I thought a real "wall" would be cool to have outside my house, since I haven't got room for a complete building.
I started collecting for this, and this only, but you all know how it goes...lots of other stuff finds its way to the collection.
Now, I have about ten different pumps, some signs, cans and a couple of globes.
Well, I finally built that "wall" during last summer, and will post pictures as soon as the pumps have gotten some paint on them.
Well...it started out for me in meeting my eventual wife at church. Her dad, Vic opened Vic's Place or Vic's '66' as it is now known in 1991. I started to work for him in 1997 building repo gas pumps for a huge restaurant contract they had gotten. Just from being around the old pumps/signs/
globes/etc I soaked up enough knowledge to figure out what was hot. On the weekends, I started hitting the backroads & antique malls and immediately had success finding stuff. My mother was killing it on ebay with Beanie Babies, so I decided to put a porcelain coke button that I had found in an alley near my house up for auction. I had given like $40 for it and it went for $240! Needless to say, I was hooked on ebay. The following year, I quit my job and ebay'd full-time supporting a wife & 2 kids for about 30 months. In 2001, Vic asked me to come back and manage the catalog part-time (he was building a new house and needed the freedom) but I was still able to "junk" half the time. The following year, I bought the company and am in my 5th year as owner. Along the way, I've picked up some things (mostly local flavor) that I won't turn loose of ever. I also developed an affinity for double-bubble clocks. I have twice built a collection of 35-50 clocks, but have twice liquidated, once to pay for a baby and once to buy a piece of land. I just picked up an A&W the other day, and so another collection starts!!
In the late 90's, I was looking for something different to do. Couldn't afford to do an old car. Finally got around to restoring pumps/lubesters beginning in '05. Later found out my Grandfather had the White Eagle gas station in Little River, Kansas in the 20's 'n 30's. Slowly, I will pick up some White Eagle things. Found a complete driveway sign and cast base a year ago--had a resto done--WOWZURS. Having another White Eagle sign done now. Planning to do a pair of G & B 176's in White Eagle motiff--both have orig. blue cylinders. Otherwise I like Wayne 70s, Tall Tok 39's, G & B 96's.
Ive always liked old stuff. I bought a house built in 1791 20 yrs ago and my Tok 300 came with it. Ive been meaning to fix it up, but first came restoring the house, then three kids, and a disabiling illness.
A guy stopped by 2 summers in a row offering to buy my pump and I told him, no, Im going to fix it up and keep it. It has always bothered me that some people will let good stuff rot on their property rather then sell it to someone who can restore it and make it whole again. I realized that maybe I was becomming one of those people, so got off my butt and started my first ( yes,hooked already i think) pump restoration
I hope you enjoy this long Chronicle that I wrote 4 years ago and updated today.
Pump Jockey Chronicles
I’m now 64 years old and look back with fondness and wonderment at my “beginnings” in the Gas Station game.
The Happy Days made famous on TV really did happen…1959 and the summer before my senior year at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. Most of my friends were surfing and having a great summer since most of them were from wealthy families…very wealthy families, unlike my own. There were the Von der Ahe’s (Von’s Markets) Ralphs (Ralphs Markets), Kern’s (Kern’s Jelly’s) Lupton’s (editor of the local newspaper) and many many more. If I wanted to drive I had to work. I had a new girlfriend, yes, another one. Her mom talked to the owner of the large Shell station at the busy corner of Hollywood Blvd. and LaBrea and I soon had a summer job. This was located just two short blocks from the Chinese and Egyptian theatres. I started out pumping gas but quickly learned to Lube & Oil and became an expert. I think I had as much fun as my friends at the beach. I learned a valuable trade that could be used all through my life, or at least for the next few years. All my Service Station jobs were for Shell and proved to be my main source of income and kept me in gas and dating money for the next couple of years. I had a ’50 Merc, a lead sled, but I though it was pretty cool. Of course I had to put glass paks on it and 3 carburetors but it was still a Lead Sled. Slow but great for dating…big back seat.
Hollywood, as you can imagine, was just like you see in the movies. We had both movie stars and prostitutes come into the station. The “working girls” loved to tease and flirt with a rookie like me and of course I loved it. Lana Turner was a regular customer and, as I remember, very nice. One Sunday morning I came to work and found the street behind the station closed and a minimum of 20 police cars everywhere. The night before, Lana’s daughter, Cheryl Crane, had shot and killed Johnny Stompinato. It was always assumed that Lana had done the deed but Cheryl took the heat since she was a minor. The famous Sunset Strip was only two blocks away so we had many teens and their dates stop by for “a buck’s worth of gas”, 5 gallons at that time. Cruising was in and the police didn’t bother anyone. Brown’s famous ice cream parlor was a block away. My future wife had lived only blocks away but that’s another story for later on.
Back to the station. It was shiny and new. The best and newest of everything. We of course had Full Service no matter how much you spent. That included gas, check the oil, wash the windows, all of them, and check the tires. We also loved to look into the windows for what we hoped was a look at some nice legs or what filled a great angora sweater.
Too quickly summer ended and it was back to school but…another Shell station beckoned. This one in Van Nuys. The owner sent me to Shell School where I became a certified customer attendant. This was too far from home so I changed to another Shell station. This one in North Hollywood two block from my house. I went to school, ran track and then to the station at night and weekends. This station was in a small neighborhood, one that would not support a station today. A trick we loved to do was to yell to someone that their front license plate was falling off while they sat at the signal. We would run out, duck down as to tighten the plate, creep around behind the car and run back to the station where we would watch the driver sit through more than one signal waiting for us to lift up and give him the ok. Most times they would look over at the station and laugh but not everyone. This is the station where my Lube & Oil skills turned into tune up’s and brake jobs. Tire changing was always a chore as we had only hand tools at this time. Today’s fancy changing and balancing machines were as foreign as a computer would have been back then.
I had a ’55 Chevy at this time. I decided one day that it needed a big cam and solid lifters. I spent the better part of one day, along with some friends, doing something I had never done before. After all was done we fired it up and everything was great. Off I went for a test drive only to realize, as the hood flew up, broke the windshield and flew over the car, that I had forgotten that the hood latch was attached to the grill surround which was still sitting at the station. Another great memory was the people who would bring their late model 50’s Chryslers and Studebaker’s in for lube and oil on Sundays. These were fast V-8’s at this time but had terrible brakes. We would finish the jobs and take the cars for a “test drive”. The brakes would go away almost right away but we never crashed and never got caught. I won’t mention the hole that was drilled from the lube room looking into the lady’s room.
Well it’s off to Pierce College still working at the station at night and weekends. First day of school, in walks this beautiful blond. I was immediately taken and told my best friend sitting next to me “I’m going to marry that girl”. Needless to say, I did, and 45 years later we are still happily married and she’s still my sweetheart. Only later did I find that she lived only blocks from my first job. Think of all the time I wasted dating other girls.
I only made it through 1-1/2 semesters of college when I joined the Army Reserve. Off to 6 months active duty at Fort Ord, California near Monterey. I finished boot camp and special training but still had 3 months until I was released to my reserve unit. My job was in the Mess Hall serving the officers at the Monterey Language School. Right outside the gates was, you guessed right, a Shell station. I of course got a job evenings and weekends to make some extra money. This interfered with my trips home to see my favorite girl but it did work out. I got out of active duty in September 1961 and Mary Sue and I were married October 1st. I started an insurance training job and we immediately got pregnant. How are we going to afford to live??
I had 5 ½ years of Army Reserve training remaining. When I attended my first meeting the Major in charge realized that the Army Cook training they had sent me to was a BIG mistake since I had all of my Shell training on the outside. I was put in charge of the Motor Pool where I rose from a private retiring almost 6 years later as a Sergeant E-6. I worked 8 hours at the insurance job with a 45 minute drive each way; yes we did have traffic back then in Los Angeles. I got home, ate a quick dinner, and off to my next job, at the Shell station, this one in Van Nuys. I would work until 11:00, head home, sleep until 3:30 and we would both get up, get into the car, Mary Sue in the backseat, folding newspapers while we delivered the Los Angeles Times.
Since we now find it hard to stay up past 9:00, it’s hard to believe we used to regularly stay up past 11:00 every night.
One evening while I was at my second job a man came in and asked for a can of gas. Back then we gladly filled the can and made only a $1.00 charge until the can came back. This at least paid for the gas. The man returned a while later giving me back the can and said thank you and that he had not been able to start his car and off he went. Finally 11:00 came and I turned off the lights and the pumps, brought in the oil racks and paper towel racks, closed and locked the big doors and made ready to lock up. As I bent over to put the money in the floor safe I felt a gun in my side. It was the man who had borrowed the gas can. He told me he wouldn’t hurt me and waked me to the rest room where he told me to stay for 15 minutes. I heard the telephone ringing because I was normally home by 11:10 living only two blocks away. My wife was worried. I got my nerve up and left the restroom, answered the phone, told her what had happened and called the police. Of course we didn’t have 911 in those days so I had to dial a number with shaking hands. The man was caught about a month later and I had to go to two police line up’s where myself and others identified the “gas can bandit”. I have no idea what ever happened to him but I do remember that my boss collected much more on his insurance than what was lost. I guess it’s ok to say that now after 40 years I think the statue of limitations is over.
Every Wednesday night a man came in and filled his car as well as that of another car driven by a very attractive lady. It was always interesting because he lived only a few blocks away and his wife came in every week and she was NOT the same Wednesday night lady.
In 1962 my father in law and brother in law were going to financially back me in the purchase of my own station. I look back now and thank God I didn’t follow though with the purchase. We moved to Carpinteria, CA (near Santa Barbara) in 1965 where I became a partner in a very successful insurance agency where I remain today.
My time working for Shell and the people I met during that time have helped mold my life. I learned much more than how to change oil, repair tires and brakes and do tune up’s. I learned to interact with people and always be polite. Of course those early days led to my eventual love for collecting Gas Station Memorabilia leading to what I have now. I have a gas island with a country store building, 6 pumps, many outdoor signs ad two garages filled with an assortment of almost 200 picture signs. The unfortunate thing is my two sons didn’t “catch the bug” but who wants to compete with your sons for the NEXT GREAT FIND.
Great story Ray. It brought back a lot of memories. I seemed to follow your steps just a few years later, just down the street at Graham's Chevron in La Habra. I cant even remember all the names of the actors & actresses, but I think Jesse White might have been my favorite. Remember him? The out of work Maytag repairman.
now, thats a great story Hotcidr
My grandfather was the plant electrician at Barnsdall Refinery, Barnsdall Oklahoma for 38 years, my father put himself through college working there in the summers, they lived one block from the Refinery. In the mid 1980's my father decided he wanted a Barnsdall globe......that turned into addiction, now over 1000 pieces of Barnsdall.
Along the way w/ my dad, I decided to collect small Oklahoma oil Co.'s to accompany the Barnsdall. There was one defining moment when I was 14 (1986), I bought my first sign one block away from our church in Nowata, OK (off a barn). A Conoco Minuteman (condition 8.5) for $20 sold it 18 months later for $550.....AFTER THAT IT WAS ON!!!!
Jim Patton (Jr.)