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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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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.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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