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

Esso Extra: 1942

December 1942. "New York, New York. Girl at gasoline pump." Medium format acetate negative by Royden J. Dixon for the Office of War Information. View full size.

December 1942. "New York, New York. Girl at gasoline pump." Medium format acetate negative by Royden J. Dixon for the Office of War Information. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Silver Lining

Coins were made from real silver back then! Take that into consideration when adjusting for inflation.

In Case of Fire

... There is a handy soda-acid fire extinguisher hanging on the wall to the left. It appears that there was some wear and tear on the filler hoses dragging on the ground. The fix was to wind some heavy rubber tubing around the area on each hose. The Imperial Oil Company in Canada still uses the name Esso for its gas stations.

Gas Is Less Expensive Today

If 20 cents equals $3.83 today, one must remember that cars today get almost twice the mileage they got back then. So back then to go to and from the same distance as one would go today it would cost them 40 cents, adjusted for inflation should mean that gas today should be $7.66.

IMO, the reason we think gas prices are so high is because of all the "stuff" we simply must have that did not exist back then, like computers, cable TV, the Internet and more, that comes out of your paycheck each month. Take all that away and $3.50 a gallon would be less a drain today than 20 cents was back then.

Mystery equipment

What is the equipment on the right in front of the two pumps and the person in black on the back side of the island?

When People Didn't Throw Away Pennies

8 and 10 cents a gallon are $1.56 and $1.95 in today's dollars.

[The prices on these pumps are 18 and 20 cents a gallon. - Dave]


I wonder who is that hiding behind the bulk oil dispenser? Doesn't appear to be wearing a pump jockey uniform.

Want to feel old?

Few people who are less than solidly middle aged have seen gasoline pumps that show a sale's cost with only three digits. Yet before the 1973 oil embargo they were ubiquitous.

Outfit material continued

I guessed it might be cotton velveteen?

Price per gallon today

Adjusted for inflation, 20 cents in 1942 would be $3.83 today.

"Extra" pumps

Wonder why there are two "extra" pumps sitting inside the station in the background apparently not (yet) in use. Maybe the station was in the process of converting over to the "new" style pumps and that's what motivated this photo.

[There are pumps on both sides of the island. What motivated the photo is wartime girl station attendants! - Dave]

That is no girl!

An adult woman, to my eye. But those were different days.

The smoking section

A fine example of modern looking "computer" pumps, at least if we ignore the archaic sight-glass (and those weird dome tops, that give them the appearance of small mosques).
What particularly caught my eye, however is the curious(ly skimpy) "No Smoking" signage: the placement gives the illusion that the proscription only applies to the regular grade

Neatness counts

Women employees had certainly improved the look of stations since John Vachon photographed one two years earlier.

Fill 'er Up!

Tell me that's not Ethyl manning the pumps!

8 cents per gallon?

Am I reading the price correctly on the gas pump?

[Um, no. - Dave]

Outfit material

Velour? Corduroy? It has a soft, plush look.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Accessibility Statement | Site © 2024 Shorpy Inc.