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#127689 - Wed Jan 10 2007 08:46 AM Re: What got you started?
gasoildude Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Nov 29 2004
Loc: Oneida IL USA
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

Wanted Owens Motor Oil & Mobiloil Gargoyle.
Brad Ralston & my website is

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#127690 - Wed Jan 10 2007 08:52 AM Re: What got you started?
PopMachineShop Offline
Active Member

Registered: Tue Nov 28 2006
Loc: Rice Lake, Wisconsin, USA
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.

#127691 - Wed Jan 10 2007 10:04 AM Re: What got you started?
gatorgaspumps Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Jun 07 2004
Loc: Walla Walla, WA USA
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

#127692 - Wed Jan 10 2007 10:09 AM Re: What got you started?
fast66 Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Oct 16 2000
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Hi all,
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.

best regards,

#127693 - Wed Jan 10 2007 10:40 AM Re: What got you started?
Seth Robbins Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Thu Dec 21 2000
Loc: Guthrie, OK. 73044
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!!

#127694 - Wed Jan 10 2007 07:46 PM Re: What got you started?
tallgye49 Offline
Petro Enthusiast

Registered: Thu May 18 2006
Loc: Simi Valley, Ca, USA
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.

#127695 - Thu Jan 11 2007 08:14 PM Re: What got you started?
Vermonter Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Sat Dec 16 2006
Loc: VT
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
Wanted: Original Jenney Gas, Husky, Marathon, and Frontier Globes

#127696 - Fri Jan 12 2007 11:03 PM Re: What got you started?
hotcidr Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Fri Jul 27 2001
Loc: Carpinteria, Ca. USA
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.

Ray Seider
Carpinteria, CA

#127697 - Sat Jan 13 2007 10:41 AM Re: What got you started?
Thunder II Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Fri Jan 20 2006
Loc: On the plains of Colorado
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.
Anything Chevron

I'd rather be flying.....

#127698 - Sun Jan 14 2007 08:33 PM Re: What got you started?
Vermonter Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Sat Dec 16 2006
Loc: VT
now, thats a great story Hotcidr
Wanted: Original Jenney Gas, Husky, Marathon, and Frontier Globes

#127699 - Sun Jan 14 2007 08:44 PM Re: What got you started?
okoil1 Offline
Petro Enthusiast

Registered: Mon Feb 02 2004
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
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.)
Collect small Oklahoma Oil Co.'s 1920's-1940's. Barnsdall, Cushing, Eason, Marland, etc.

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