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Interesting Historical Facts

The first gasoline pump was invented and sold by Sylvanus F. Bowser in Fort Wayne, Indiana on September 5, 1885. This pump was not used for automobiles, as they had not been invented yet. It was instead used for some kerosene lamps and stoves. He later improved upon the pump by adding safety measures, and also by adding a hose to directly dispense fuel into automobiles. For a while, the term bowser was used to refer to a vertical gasoline pump. Although the term is not used anymore in the United States, it still is used sometimes in Australia and New Zealand.

Many early gasoline pumps had a calibrated glass cylinder on top. The desired quantity of fuel was pumped up into the cylinder as indicated by the calibration. Then the pumping was stopped and the gasoline was let out into the customers tank by gravity. When metering pumps came into use, a small glass globe with a turbine inside replaced the measuring cylinder but assured the customer that gasoline really was flowing into the tank.

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