The Aetna company was started in the early 1900ís in Louisville, and was primarily in the lubricant and kerosene business. As the auto became the popular form of transportation, this brought about the use of one of their by-products of refining*gasoline.
Their marketing area was centered around Louisville, and by 1949 they had a tanker fleet that went as far as 150 miles across Kentucky hauling Aetna products to jobbers, bulk plants, and independent agents. They also marketed in southern Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville.
I have a copy of the dealer magazine, ďThe Aetna OvalĒ, which features the company-owned stations in and around Louisville. They had several super service stations. These locations had large bays, large office areas, and focused heavily on T.B. A. The Aetna name was on batteries, oil, grease, and other items. They featured Kelly-Springfield Tires. A relatively obscure fact is that they marketed Pennzoil motor oil and grease right alongside the Aetna products.
Aetna was a faithful supplier of fuel oil for home heating and farm and industry throughout Kentucky.
The early Aetna signs and globes featured Mt. Aetna in the background and were red and white. In 1938 the Aetna oval became the official sign. The first signs had a green edge stripe and cream background. The letters were red with dark green shading. This color combo lasted until 1952, at which point the background was changed to white. This color scheme remained until Ashland phased out the Aetna brand in 1960.
The large oval signs all have the big block letters with both Aís slanted. My brother and I have one sign on which the last A in Aetna is reverse slanted, presumably a mistake.
To my knowledge, Aetna never had any pump plates. All the pictures Iíve seen show decals on station pumps. They did make some small signs such as ďAetna KeroseneĒ, and I also have a small Aetna fuel oil sign which was a tag for the tanks.
After visibles, Aetna used 300-500 series Bennett pumps, and later the 600-700 series. Also, Iíve seen photographs of Aetna stations around Louisville that had Wayne 70ís out front.
During the transition period from Aetna to Ashland, Ashland used 585 and 595 Bowser pumps.
I donít have any red Mt. Aetna globes or signs. I do have the dark green Capco globe, the lime green Capco globe, and the white background/red letter Capco globe. Other globes include Aetna XL and Motozip. My brother has the Aetna A-Plus, the last globe before the conversion to Ashland. He has the full set which includes Ashland A-Plus, Aetna A-Plus, and Freedom A-Plus.
My interest in Aetna comes from my father having an Aetna branded station when I was a child. He was a partner in the Aetna station located at the corner of Main and Shelby Streets in Florence, Kentucky. His partner was Al Roberts. This station was a shotgun-style building with bays on each end. The office was built on the side.
Dad got his own station, and Mr. Roberts kept the Florence station. Dadís station was located across the road from the airport, now known as the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport. It was actually a three-room house that had two large bays built on the end. There was one pump island with two pumps, Regular and Ethyl. He did service and washed many of the airport limos and other vehicles. He left the station in 1957 to farm. Both of these stations were owned by Elmo Baker, an independent Aetna distributor located in Warsaw, Kentucky.
Dadís station was torn down in the late 1960ís or early 1970ís for airport expansion. The station in Florence was converted to Ashland, the pumps removed, and it operated as a used-car lot until the 1970ís. It was then torn down to make a parking lot for the corner market.
Guide to Gasoline Logos by Wayne Henderson and Scott Benjamin
Gas Globes: Amoco to Mobil and Affiliates by Scott Benjamin and Wayne Henderson
The Aetna Oval, April 1949 <IMG SRC=\"http://img91.imageshack.us/img91/9702/oldgas22007th8.jpg\">
[This message has been edited by brownoil (edited 10-18-2007).]