Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fuel-injected Ephemera

How do you view gas stations (or for those of you who are a "certain age" - filling stations)?  Do you view pumping gas as a chore, or is a trip to the gas station an opportunity for you to discover new ephemera?

You can probably guess how I feel about them.  :D
Here's what our 1973 Montego looked like - same color and everything!
Image from the Ford Motor Company
Ever since I can remember I have loved the gas station!  Since I grew up in the Seventies, I have distinct memories of oil embargos and the gas crisis.  The embargo happened right after my dad bought our brand new 1973 Mercury Montego, which got about 8 miles per gallon.  We still had that car when the gas crisis hit six years later.  My dad carpooled for a good portion of that car's life.
When we did fill up the car it was ALWAYS at a Standard station.  My dad had been a card-holder there since the Forties.  I never saw us fill up anywhere else, unless we were on vacation (and vacations were very rare).  When I was in the car with my Grammie, though, that was a totally different experience.  She drove a Mercedes and used the "full service" option, which still existed then!  I remember feeling like royalty having someone else do all the work.

Even as a kid I noticed little differences in other cities.  When we'd go to southern Illinois with my Grammie to visit my great-grandpa (her dad), I remember thinking that the Union 76 station was really cool - we didn't have those in Green Bay (I also remember thinking that the "76" had something to do with the year, since we took those trips in the Seventies).

Aside from the free gas stations maps we'd get from the gas station, I didn't collect any gas & oil ephemera as a kid.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized I wanted to hold onto this fun stuff!

Here are some of my favorite items in my stash.  The intact "flyer" is from Old Stuff Only (and it's still available!).  I'd never heard of Apco gas before I bought this but I loved the shape it's in!  I don't know what year it's from but judging by the "jet" theme and fonts I'm going to guess early 60s.

I've proclaimed my adoration for trading stamps many times, but I have an affinity for these gas station booklets.  That Sinclair one in the middle is dated 1936!  We didn't have Spur or Consolidated Stations in Green Bay growing up but we did have a Sinclair, complete with a huge fiberglass dinosaur!

When I see the Gulf logo, I am immediately transported back in time to our apartment on Morris Avenue, where I grew up.  For me, the Gulf logo signifies cookouts, not gas stations; it was the brand of charcoal lighter fluid my dad used.  :D  That's why I had to have this lot of vintage Gulf credit card slips - remember the ka-CHUNK sound of those machines?  I love that!

Because I love old logos this envelope was quite a find.  It was in a huge pile of ephemera that I bought a few years back.  The postmark is dated 1972.  There's that Union 76 logo I love so much, along with others we didn't have in my neck of the woods.  Instant appeal!

These last two items are the newest in my collection.  I can't remember exactly what year these BP collectibles came out, but I think it was around 2006 or '07.  It most certainly was before they caused one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in modern history, back in April of 2010.  Since then they've kept a pretty low profile, with the exception of those ridiculous "the Gulf is open for business!" ads they're currently running.  Sure, every drop of oil is contained.  You just keep telling the gullible public that everything is perfectly fine (sorry, but I don't buy it for one second).  Nevertheless, these will be kept in the Perpetual Ephemera Depository for future generations.

I've also made some gas station-related collages!  I do love the subject matter.  :D


  1. The paper Northrop flying wing is a great looking item. If it's based on the huge 8 jet flying wing that Northrop built, that jet dates I think from the mid to late 1940s. I don't know when the card toy was distributed.

  2. This is an awesome collection of stuff! Did you notice there's a little Esso logo on your New York map. Where was I just reading about Esso? ;) .... I think the Spur Double Value Stamp Plan is my favorite original piece here. And the little kids driving a car are officially disconcerting. ... And, as always, your collages are fabulous.