Pizzo’s Petroliana

Small Things In Petroliana


For this month I would like to talk about the small things in petroliana.

Most of the gas and oil companies gave out many different kinds of freebies or promotional items to a lot of their customers, kind of like an incentive to ensure that they would return. Some of these things included keychains, Small Collectible Oil & Gas Memorabiliawatch fobs, and many other things. Because there are so many items for each company it is hard to say that you are done collecting. The Oilzum watch fob is a very rare item to find because Oilzum is such a sought after and collectible company. Things like this don’t come to market very often, and I am proud to own this one. The Mobil pegasus key charm is one of the more common smalls on the market and one of my favorite the company had. Small Collectible Oil & Gas Memorabilia

Some other items that are included in the “smalls” category are things that the station attendant would have used to do his job. An example of that is a dipstick with the oil company’s logo or the gas stations name. These were used to check the fuel before the gas gauge was invented. Another item includes the badges and name tags the attendant would have worn on his uniform, they would have looked like the Mobil ones in the picture.

Small Collectible Oil & Gas Memorabilia Small Collectible Oil & Gas Memorabilia
This is what fellow collector Hubba Floughton from Seattle WA has to say about smalls, “I have been collecting gas and oil memorabilia for about 25 years and have accumulated a bunch of smalls. At first, I would sell the littles at swaps and gas bashes but for the past year, I have been holding onto them and making these displays. It came about because I ran out of room for pumps and signs and I think these collages of smalls look neat. Its like mans version of scrapbooking. I basically use shadowboxes I find at thrift stores and mount the items in with a dab of silicone.” The photos of the shadow boxes are some of the displays he has done with the items that he has saved.

Small Collectible Oil & Gas Memorabilia
The small white box is one that I have put together of some smalls I have gotten. 

Timeline History of the Gulf Oil Company


So for this month I decided to do a timeline history of the Gulf Oil Company which is my fifth favorite company. They started in 1909 and are still around today, many of you may see them and go to their stations but around here I only know of one gulf oil change place.

Gulf Oil Company No-Nox Gasoline

Gulf Oil Company No-Nox Gasoline

1909-1919: When the company that was to be known as Gulf was born in 1901 with an oil discovery in Spindletop, TX, the primary commercial fuel was coal. By 1903, the age of the machine had arrived and it was now up to the gas industry to keep up. Gasoline development, into which Gulf invested millions, responded to advances in automotive technology to make the modern car possible. Within a dozen years of Spindletop, Gulf scored notable firsts with the world’s first drive-in service station, complimentary Gulf road maps and over water drilling at Ferry Lake. In 1917, the Gulfstream went into World War I service, along with the rest of Gulf’s tanker fleet.


Gulf Oil Company Motor Oil

Gulf Oil Company Motor Oil

1920-1949: Gulfpride – the World’s Finest Motor Oil was manufactured and first marketed in 1928 and by the early 1930’s, Gulf was a major U.S. Corporation. In 1949, William Larimer Mellon, a founder and active head of Gulf for 45 years, died at 80, just 17 months after his retirement, as the company moved into eighth place among the largest manufacturing concerns in the United States.

1950-1974: As Gulf entered its second half-century, the needs became more diverse and technologically ever changing. By 1960, it was clear that Gulf’s growth rate during the 1950s had been twice that of the United States as an economic entity. During the 1960s, Gulf mounted vigorous exploration, production and marketing programs including several new refineries, petrochemical and polyethylene plants, they also constructed six oil tankers, a joint development with the Holiday Inns of America (I had no idea this even happened) and the re-design of the Orange Disc to make it more clearly identifiable.

Gulf Oil Company Gasoline

Gulf Oil Company Gasoline

1986-2009: In 1986 Cumberland Farms acquired the naming rights to the Gulf Oil brand from Chevron to be used in eleven northeast states. But it wasn’t until 1993 that Gulf Oil Limited Partnership was formed after Cumberland Farms entered a joint venture with Catamount Petroleum LP. In 2005, Cumberland acquired the company in full and brought in CEO Joe Petrowski, who charged the company with re-inventing the brand. Since then, a renewed commitment to the Gulf brand has been established with the introduction of new minimum standards and image requirements.

Jan. 12, 2010: Present On January 12, 2010, Gulf Oil acquired all rights, title and interest to the “Gulf” brand in the U.S. This acquisition enabled Gulf to expand its use of the Gulf brand throughout the U.S. for the first time since it acquired certain rights to the brand in 1986. Under the leadership of Gulf Oil President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Sabia and Gulf Oil Senior Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Rick Dery, thousands of service stations proudly fly the Gulf colors, carrying on the tradition of a quality product line and friendly service. Gulf Oil Limited Partnership, now based in Framingham, MA is a wholesaler of refined petroleum products. Gulf distributes motor fuels through a network of more than 2,000 Gulf branded gas stations and service stations, as well as heating oil, diesel fuel and kerosine. Visit gulfoil.net.

License Plate Toppers for Gas and Car Companies


Let’s get on top of things this month and talk about license plate toppers. So many of these were created for gas and car companies and there is a lot of them out there to talk about so let’s talk about two. Most of you have probably seen the common ones like the Shell Oil Co. with the three flags across it, and the mobil drive safely with the Pegasus, here’s a little detail on them both.

License Plate Toppers
First off let’s start with the shell topper, the three flags on it are mariners code for “I am giving way” but in the motorist code they mean “I will share the road.” That was what one of their advertising items said, these were only handed out to the people who were part of the share the road club. All of the shell toppers that are on the market are all original.

Second is the Mobil Pegasus topper this is the most common of the Mobil toppers and is also the most reproduced of them and they are easily identifiable if you know what to look for. These License Plate Topperstoppers are very sought after by a lot of the gear heads to put on their old cars. There is also a book you can buy that has every Pegasus topper in it including the reproductions.

A lot of the states used these also, they were primarily to advertise their larger cities to attract more visitors. Some of the insurance companies used these as well. You may have seen the most common one from State Farm with the old car on it, or the other common one from AAA with the state or city you lived in. Another common one is the Goodrich Silvertown Safety League that’s the one with the red reflector in the middle.

License Plate Toppers
Some of the more scarce ones are the Tydol man, and the Kendal two fingers logo, Cites Service Koolmotor, Hancock oil, and Fleet Wing. There are some that would have been a salesman sample or an idea made for the companies but never produced more than the sample. These can be very hard to find because of it being a one-of-a-kind piece.