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Friendly Service: 1942

Friendly Service: 1942

May 1942. "North Platte, Nebraska. Gas station." Flavors on tap from this ten-pump petro-pub include Distillate, Mobilgas, Diesel Fuel, Kerosene, Hi-Lite, Ethyl and Metro. Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Ethyl's Sister

"If you run out of gas, get Ethyl! If Ethyl runs out, get Mabel!" Groucho Marx in Duck Soup.

Friendly Inn

Steaks a Specialty

There's an arbitrary fuel grade

"Distillate" might be kerosene or jet fuel, however in the context of this timeframe, "Tractor fuel," or if you had a 26/27 Model T with a hot plate carburetor, a plausible motor fuel. Many tractors had two fuel tanks, Gasoline for starting, and once the engine was warm, you ran the less costly Kerosene or Distillate.


I find it strange I seem to smell this picture. Looking at it vividly brings back the memory of the various fuels that were present when I was a child. With so many vapor recovery pumps, today's gas stations are so bland.

I demand a recount

I see eight pumps and three water spigots.

[There's a pump under each of those ten lights. And there are four spigots. - Dave]

Fill her up with Ethyl

How often did I hear that phrase uttered by my father? The uniformed attendant obediently did so, and also washed the windows and checked the oil.

Mobil Chess

Seems like a high octane chess set, with imposing Pawns marching on the camera (or in a staggered defensive line). There's even a Knight making its move, up in front of the large Rook (aka Castle).

Fidgety sentiment

The vertical words with the shadows behind each letter look like they've had too much caffeine. Meanwhile the art deco lines and the glass block are to die for but the lampposts look like something from War of the Worlds.

Where's the wash bay?

1941 Plymouth Deluxe two-door sedan needs a bath!

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