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A Brief Pump History Lesson
#54797 Fri Aug 06 2004 10:17 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 140
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I came across this article from an online version of a Fort Wayne, Indiana newspaper The News-Sentinal. Just a brief history on the gas pump.

Gas pumps you handle yourself

Silvanus Freelove Bowser often recalled how one cold morning in 1885 he went to his Fort Wayne well to draw water for his wife.
The mist rising from the 70-foot well froze on the ropes, making the task of hauling the bucket very uncomfortable. Later, thinking about better ways to raise water from a well, the idea came to him of a simple pump that would produce a constant measure of liquid with each stroke of the pump handle. Although it turned out not to be feasible for a deep well, Bowser's self- measuring pump mechanism revolutionized the oil industry and, later, gasoline industry by making possible easy, accurate handling of liquid fuels from storage tanks.

The idea was a very popular one and a second pump company, the Wayne Pump Co., came to Fort Wayne in 1891. Competing intensely with Bowser, Wayne won the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition gold medal for the best self-measuring pump. Later, Wayne Pump produced the first gas pump with a visible dial and, in 1933, revolutionized the industry with the "computing pump." This pump was the first that automatically registered not only how much gas was being pumped, but also its cost.

Oddly, this invention did not receive the immediate acceptance that might have seemed natural. So Wayne Pump undertook a national advertising campaign to convince the public that this was the sort of pump neighborhood gas stations should have.

The catch phrase created for this campaign by the Fort Wayne advertising agency of Louis Bonsib was "Fill 'er Up" (when the computing pump stopped, the tank was filled). The campaign was a success.

A third pump company entered the Fort Wayne area in 1918 when the Iowa- based Tokheim Company was acquired by Fort Wayne investors, led by Ralph F. Diserens. Tokheim grew slowly in post- World War I Fort Wayne until it developed the extremely popular "visible globe" measuring pump (gas was pumped into an upper- glass tank to the gallon level the purchaser desired, then gravity was put to work to fill the tank of the automobile from this glass globe).

Tokheim became the leading pump company in Fort Wayne by the 1950s and pioneered in such areas as self-service equipment for gas stations and the now common financial- card reading machines that carry out the entire transaction through the customer's bank account. Today, Tokheim produces 38 percent of the gasoline pumps in the United States and is the world leader in pump control systems.


-Dave-
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Re: A Brief Pump History Lesson
#54798 Sat Aug 07 2004 10:13 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 7,791
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What the article didn't tell you is that unfortunately Tokheim is no longer a United State owned company. It is now owned by a French concern.
Jack Sim


Author, 1st & 2nd editions of Gas Pump ID book, 3rd edition is now available at www.gaspumpbible.com
Air Meter ID book also available

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