SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

City Prices: 1940

City Prices: 1940

September 1940. "Grocery store and filling station at Cimarron, Colorado. This is a sheep shipping center." Medium format negative by Russell Lee. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Gas War

The 1940 price of gas at 19 cents a gallon may have been outrageous (per Vintagetvs comment below), but I remember passing through an Iowa town on a trip with my dad in about 1960.

Dad told me there was a "Gas War" going on in that town, and that automatically meant we were on the lookout for the lowest price. I spotted a station which had gas at -- are you ready? -- 19 cents a gallon! Wow.

We pulled in, and Dad told the attendant to "fill it." In those days, if you said "fill it," it was expected that the attendant would wash the windshield and check the fluid levels under-the-hood. As the attendant stepped away my dad turned to me, and I'll never forget what he said: "Just watch, at 19 cents a gallon he's not gonna wash the windshield." And sure enough, he didn't.

Germ Processed What?

From the “The Conoco Collector’s Bible” comes the claim that Germ Processing was the first motor oil additive ever used by any oil company. Germ Processing was a special oiliness (polar) additive invented and patented by British scientists Wells and Southcombe in 1918. It was made from castor oil components. In 1934, Conoco developed a synthetic version called GD-160, later called MDS. This was the material referred to as “Oil Plating” on cans and in advertisements. “Germ Processed” itself was oddly chosen as the name of their first motor oil because it was a “germ of an idea.”


The price of gas was outrageous

19 cents adjusted for inflation is $3.35, or roughly the same as today, or even a little more.

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.