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Filtered Gasoline: 1920

Filtered Gasoline: 1920

Washington, D.C., 1920. "Nation's Business." A photo made by Harris & Ewing for that magazine, giving an unusually detailed look at the gas station (and gas pump) of a century ago. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.


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Steel Drum

That barrel shaped thing behind the gas pump is a Specification 10B steel drum, the predecessor of the more familiar straight sided steel drum in use today.

It was probably dispensing lube oil, and the quart pot on top reaffirms that. Larger oil buckets are sitting on the ground next to it.

Back to the future

Two thoughts:

1) reminded of Amoco's "Final Filter" ads, in the 1960/70s, that took note of an in-line filter installed just behind the nozzle.

2) I thought "self-service" emerged during the 1970s. Apparently this approach was in use during the build-up of the service station infrastructure.

Solid Driver

Clearly a utilitarian ride, double plates testifying to jurisdictional complexities in Greater DC, fenders displaying results of intimate contact with its surroundings.

The visible gas pump, if in the same condition today, would almost surely be worth more than the car would bring under the same conditions.

Good to the last drop!

It looks like our motorist has emptied the reservoir on the gas pump and is now draining the last of the fuel from the hose, although he might shake the nozzle once or twice just to get the last few drops before returming it to the dispenser.

Ta heck with the gas station

It has nothing to recommend itself except the gas pump. The architecturally wonderful ones had a few more years to arrive. I'm trying to figure out what the structure behind it is. Looks like it must be part of some kind of heating system but it's so odd looking.

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