Historical Facts Of This Item.
The first hurdle in developing the modern gasoline pump was recognizing that such a thing was needed. Early in the century, when cars were still rare, gasoline was essentially a nuisance for petroleum refiners, a byproduct of kerosene distillation that had to be disposed of somehow.
It had a variety of minor uses: as a solvent and as a fuel for lamps, stoves, and engines. Automobiles were somewhere near the bottom of the list. Customers who wanted to buy gasoline would go to the back of their local hardware, general, or grocery
store, wait for the proprietor to pour the required amount from a barrel or tank, and then carry it away in a leaky metal canister.
As automobiles grew more common, the danger and inconvenience of this method became evident. Sylvanus F. Bowser of Fort Wayne, Indiana, took the first step toward safe gasoline sales in 1905 by adapting a kerosene pump he had designed twenty years earlier. Bowser’s “Self-measuring Gasoline Storage Pump” consisted of a
fifty-gallon metal tank enclosed in a wooden cabinet with fume vents. A hand-operated suction mechanism pumped gasoline directly into the vehicle through a flexible hose, with each pull of the lever dispensing a preset amount.
For easy access the unit could be set up in front of a store or at the curb. Jake Gumpper, a stove-gas supplier who became Bowser’s first salesman, dubbed the arrangement a “filling station.” Other companies quickly brought out similar apparatus.
Using a pump instead of a simple gravity-operated spigot made it possible to put the tank underground, which was safer, took up less space, and reduced contamination and evaporation. Pump makers soon added gauges to measure the amount dispensed. These changes were not always in the consumer’s interest, since unscrupulous dealers could adulterate the unseen gasoline or overcharge by rigging the dial.
The answer was to let the customer see what and how much he was buying. As early as 1901 John J. Tokheim of Thor, Iowa, patented a pumping unit with a domed glass cylinder on top. The product being dispensed—kerosene, machine oil, or
gasoline—would first be pumped into the cylinder, which was marked with a volume scale.
After the quantity had been verified and any water had separated out, the liquid would be released to flow by gravity into the customer’s container. In 1906 Tokheim introduced a model specially designed for gasoline. It was six feet tall, weighed 135
pounds, and came in red or black enamel with gold trim.
TOKHEIM’S INVENTION SOLD POORLY AT first, but the idea behind it caught on. In 1912 the Gilbert & Barker Manufacturing Company of Boston brought out its T-8 model, with an etched-glass advertising globe on top, a dial indicator for precise measurement of the amount dispensed, a hand-operated quick-discharge piston that could deliver fifteen gallons per minute, and an access door with lettering that read FILTERED GASOLINE.
Over the century’s second decade American automobile ownership exploded, and similar pumps from scores of manufacturers could be found wherever there were cars. Pump companies developed a new design, with a ten-gallon glass holding cylinder mounted on a six-foot steel pedestal. The cylinder was marked for volume, making the questionable dial gauge unnecessary. Both types retained the illuminated advertising globe on top.
Hand-pumped dispensers with visible tanks persisted into the 1920s, growing steadily more decorative. Since most gasoline was sold by independent dealers stocking little-known brands, a reliable, well-designed pump could be a selling point for wary customers.
Recognizing this, pump makers advertised directly to motorists. During the 1920s, though, gasoline sales started to become more centralized, with vertically integrated
corporations replacing the previous hodgepodge of jobbers and retailers. Instead of buying anonymous gasoline from a repair shop or curbside pump of questionable reliability, a driver could pull into an attractively designed filling station (in the modern sense of the term), often run by a national oil company.
Trustworthiness began to reside more in the brand of gasoline than in the pump. Big refiners dyed their gasoline with distinctive colors toestablish an identity. By the end of the decade, more than 90 percent of gasoline would be sold at stations built
for the purpose.
IN 1923 THE FIRST ELECTRICALLY OPERATED PUMP came out, greatly reducing the elbow-grease requirement. Two years later Erie Meter Systems abandoned visual measurement and inspection entirely in favor of an electric dial that registered gallons and fractions with small and large hands, as on a clock.
The next big advance came in 1933, when the Wayne Oil Tank & Pump Company of Fort Wayne introduced its ingenious “variator,” a mechanical computer. The variator displayed the amount dispensed with revolving number wheels and simultaneously calculated the price, eliminating the need for any familiarity with arithmetic by either party to
the transaction. Drivers could finally buy a dollar’s worth of gasoline without resorting to long division.
Other companies tried to replicate the device, but Wayne defended its patent fiercely, and eventually all the major American gas-pump makers licensed its technology. By the end of the 1930s, revolving wheels were tabulating gasoline sales at almost every service station in America.
The venerable Tokheim Corporation introduced electronic measurement in 1975, and today microprocessors allow such innovations as debit-card pay terminals with video display screens. Nowadays one gas pump looks much like another, and consumers place much more emphasis on price than on the brand of gasoline, let alone
the manufacturer of the pump.
Gone are the days when pump makers prepared elaborate advertisements that could in perfect seriousness direct motorists to “Stop here—it’s a Bowser.”credits to Michael Karl Witzel .
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Gilmore, Mohawk, Gibble and Polly battled for business at individual service stations. Within a decade of the war's end, most of these companies would be gone, swallowed by a handful of oil corporations. Their mascots, promotional stunts and theme songs would fade from memory. If Fine Art Historical Restorers Like Scottsdale Art Factory we not around to insure this history is kept alive for all to enjoy.
Wilshire Oil Co ( Polly Gas) Siegbert (Siggi) B. Wilzig (March 11, 1926 – January 8, 2003) was a survivor of the Holocaust, oil tycoon, commercial banker and assistant to Nobel Prize winner writer Elie Wiesel. He triumphed over the worst possible conditions, and became a self-made millionaire.
Siggi Wilzig was born in 1926 in Krojanke, West Prussia. The Wilzigs were an old German family with heritage dating back 500 years in the country. In 1943, the entire family was moved to Auschwitz because they were Jewish. Siggi, then 16, had already spent 3 years doing forced labor. One of his Brothers was beaten to death by the Gestapo while the family was living in a Nazi controlled Ghetto with other Jewish families. Upon coming to the camp, Wilzig lied to Nazi guards, stating his age to be 18, not 16. This was his only chance for survival, as he was deemed old enough to work.
At Auschwitz, 59 members of his family were killed over a three-year period. After only two days at the concentration camp, his father was also killed. Siggi had to I.D. his Father from a pile of corpses, His Mother and grandmother were sent straight to the gas chamber, while his grandfather and one of his brothers were beaten to death, while two others were killed by Nazis guards just two days before the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp was liberated. Twenty times Siggi Wilzig faced the cold stare of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele during the selection process, and each he narrowly escaped death.
Although he had previously worked in the supply warehouses, nicknamed Canada by survivors his last four months in Auschwitz were spent working in a laundry, where the clothes of murdered Jews were washed and redistributed to the Germans. Wilzig was the only child in his Jewish school class of 1,500 students to survive the Nazis' genocidal efforts. In all he spent 11⁄2 years at Auschwitz and 6 months in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.
On May 5, 1945, Wilzig — whose forearm bears the number the Nazis tattooed on him, 104732, was rescued from the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Mauthausen, Austria, by the U.S. Army. He was grateful of his American rescuers that he spent the next two years assisting U.S. Army Intelligence and The Office of Strategic Services (OSS)in tracking down Nazi Guards and Gestapo operatives responsible for so many deaths. he immigrated to America in 1947, weighing only 90 pounds, with nothing in his pockets and knew no one. His first job was shoveling snow in the Bronx after a heavy blizzard that winter.
In the 1950s Wilzig held odd jobs including working as a bow-tie gluer and presser in a Brooklyn sweatshop, a traveling school notebook salesman and a furniture store manager. He met Naomi Sisselman, nine years his junior, and the two were married in a civil ceremony on New Year’s Eve 1953. The couple had three children over the course of their marriage: sons Ivan and Alan and daughter Sherry.
In the early 1960s, he played the stock market and invested his meager savings, along with money borrowed from his father-in-law. He made smart investments, buying up cheap Canadian oil and gas stocks. One stock that particularly caught his interest was the Wilshire Oil Company of Texas. Along with his colleagues, Wilzig made a large investment in the oil and gas producer and was elected a member of Wilshire’s boards in 1965. Six months later, at the age of 39, he was elected President and Chief Executive of the company.
During his tenure, the Wilshire Oil Company ( Polly Gas ) acquired a large interest in the Trust Company of New Jersey, a consumer- and small-business-oriented bank. Thus with his shared interests, Wilzig became a bank Director in 1969 and was elected Chairman and President just two years later. Since 1971, the bank's assets have grown from $200 million to more than $4 billion. Wilzig retired as president and chief executive in 2002 and was succeeded by his son, Alan. He remained chairman until his death. The bank, now based in Jersey City, remains an independent bank, retaining oil and gas interests, and was still controlled by the Wilzig family for many years. At the end of 2003, nearly a year after Wilzig’s death, the bank was sold to North Fork Bank for Stock
Philanthropy In addition to his business interests, Wilzig was very active in humanitarian and philanthropic affairs, particularly those related to the Holocaust. In 1980, he was appointed as a founding member of the Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington. He was the first Holocaust survivor to lecture at West Point, where after his lecture to the cadets, he received a standing ovation and applause. When Nobel Prize winner Holocaust author Elie Wiesel was appointed to head the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council by President Jimmy Carter, he asked that “Wilzig be the first person to serve with him.” Siggi was also founding director and fellow of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University. In recognition of his contributions to the United States and for serving humanity while honoring the heritage of ancestors, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1998.
Siggi’s successes enabled him to support a number of charities, He also supported the Jersey City Medical Center, a free treatment center for immigrants that now bears the Wilzig name, as well as served on the Board of Directors of the Daughters of Miriam Home for the Aged and the Jewish Home and Rehabilitation Center. He even raised over 100 million in Israeli bonds, due to his hard work he was awarded Prime Minister's Medal of the State of Israel.
Siggi Wilzig died in 2003 due to his several year battle with multiple myeloma. He was 76 years old. He is survived by his wife, Naomi, his sons Ivan Wilzig and Alan Wilzig, his daughter, his brother, Erwin, and two grandchildren.