m-mman

Working visible gas pump anywhere?

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Everybody has seen ancient visible gas pumps. Many have been 'restored' through repainting and aesthetic improvements. Some have been converted into aquariums,  drink refrigerators or other non-automotive appliances. 

 

Recently I was attempting to explain to somebody HOW a visible gas pump worked and why it was designed to be visible. It was hard for them to understand and brought to my mind a question. Does a WORKING visible gas pump exist anywhere?  

 

I am talking about one (museum maybe?) where you can actually move the handle, fill the jar, and then open the hose to dispense the fuel.

The liquid doesnt have to be real gas, it can flow into a simulated 'car' and be recycled. I am interested in experiencing  filling and draining the visible part and understanding how much force it takes to pump the liquid into the jar and how quickly it empties. 

 

I think that there are very few people around anymore who can say that they actually experienced a working visible pump.  Although they never existed in my world, I would like to share that antique car experience before I die. 

 

Experiencing other types of WORKING antique gas pumps would be great too.

But where are they? 

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There is one up on my cousin's property in northern Michigan. They have used it from when new and still use it....

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Hell, there's two at a bait shop/gas station/cabin rental in Shoup, ID, pop. 3 about 30 miles from me. Only ones licensed to use in the state. Was in use 3 years ago, but ownership of the business is like a revolving door & have no clue re: status today. Here's a piccie I took about 6 years ago:

 

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Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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In August 2014 we were driving the '24 Model T Speedster from Edmonton AB to Dayton, WA for an NWVS Speedster Run.

 

We made a point of gassing up at the General Store in Trout Lake, BC where they still use visible gas pumps. I asked the proprietor how long she planned to keep them going. Her reply was "as long as they keep inspecting them (ie certifying for use), I'll keep using them". And at roughly $8.00 per Imperial Gallon, who could blame her?

 

Side note:  We hankered after a snack around this time and the only thing in the store that appealed was a package of frozen bagels.  Well, frozen for the first few miles anyway...

 

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Edited by Chris Bamford (see edit history)
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Owning your own original underground tanks(!)  Wow, that would never happen in California.  

 

Interesting that the BC station seems to have nozzles with automatic shut offs. . . ?

As I understood a visible pump operation you 'agreed to buy' what was moved into the jar and ran it out into your car. 

To 'fill it up' you needed to know approximately how much you needed to pump in before you started.

 

How did this station calculate their charges?  Pump 8 gallons up into the jar and if you only put 5 gallons into your car, they would subtract what you didnt use? Would they have run the 'excess' back into the underground tank, or left it for the next customer?

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Here is the Shell that must be the most photographed station in the world I would think. I had to sit in line to get a shot in front of it. The Ford pumps are at the other end of the grounds and no lineup there. Just museum displays not operating. But the dinner is operating and serves cold beer to ice cream. 

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3 hours ago, m-mman said:

Recently I was attempting to explain to somebody HOW a visible gas pump worked and why it was designed to be visible. It was hard for them to understand

 

California? Yeah, that's not difficult for me to understand.

 

I had to remove a fuel pressure regulator that had been installed between a vacuum tank and carb on a '32 Hudson once.  I would REALLY like to have that one explained to me.

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3 hours ago, m-mman said:

How did this station calculate their charges?  Pump 8 gallons up into the jar and if you only put 5 gallons into your car, they would subtract what you didnt use? Would they have run the 'excess' back into the underground tank, or left it for the next customer?

 

I'm a little fuzzy now on how it worked.  Perhaps rather than a fill-up we ordered up a set number of gallons (litres, actually) and that quantity was pumped up into the glass and drained to the tank.

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Yup. You actually saw what you bought. I remember my dad buying gasoline out of one of those in Mexico in 1954.   -   Carl 

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Yeah the station at the Gilmore. I have yet to visit but I have seen it pictured many times. 

Real nice for a background but I kinda see non-functional visible pumps (especially at a museum) like displaying a Curved dash Olds or a '03 Model A without its engine or drive system. It sits there. But I want to understand how did it work? 

 

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If you're in California there's two, small, private "museums." They sell pumps. Not sure if they have working displays. probably not. Pumps are expensive.

 

The Gas Pump
9637 Magnolia
Riverside, CA 92503
951 689-7113
Hours: Fri & Sat 11.00 to 4.00

 

And, Reiff's Gas Station Museum, 52 Jefferson St, Woodland, California 95695.

 

http://reiffsgasstation.com/

 

http://www.thegaspumpstore.com/pumps.htm

 

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I am tempted to say, in the case of my dim distant memory, that the gasoline was hand pumped up into the "measuring cup" whereupon  the quantity being verified, gravity flow would complete the transfer. Certainly more precise and elegant ; safer and more sanitary than X-number of pails or buckets (you can bet your ears gasoline has been sold out of a few of those by way of a funnel).                     Still sporting all the ears I was given at birth ,         -     Cadillac Carl 

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The Australian pumps had a different appearance, but worked in the same manner. Some had a woven metal grille protecting the glass tank. A few were still in use in my youth. It was a thrill as a child to be allowed to pump the gas up, carefully watching the lines on the sight glass as the pink fuel bubbled up. What you pumped was what you paid for, but most vehicles carried a spare petrol can anyway, if they miscalculated. No electricity needed. Simple and effective.

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Chris, post 8, it was a little questionable about how much gas you actually got. All the gas that was left in the hose really belonged to you, the car owner. Rarely did the "pump jockey" lift the hose to give you all that was trapped in the hose. The early pumps had what is called a "banana" nozzle and not the modern click type nozzle. Some unscrupulous garage owners installed extra long hoses to trap more gas. When you left the station, they drained the trapped gas in the hose into a drum for their own use.

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27 minutes ago, 46 woodie said:

Chris, post 8, it was a little questionable about how much gas you actually got.

 

Popular Mechanics used to run an ad for increasing your fuel economy. You sent $0.50 or a dollar the the address and got back a little booklet that told you to drain the hose before and after using the pump. Certainly a carryover from Vaudeville, but truthful.

 

The gravity system always drained.

 

 

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In the old days motorists typically asked for the number of gallons they wanted not a fill up. I knew an old timer who back in the twenties, saved his pennies in a penny jar. When he was going on a trip on his motorcycle he filled his pockets with pennies. When he needed gas he would buy 1 or 2  gallons and pay with pennies. The gas stations loved him because gas was 24 cents a gallon and they went through a lot of pennies making change. Usually they did not like motorcycles because it was too much trouble for such a small sale.

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I snapped these in Cambodia in 05.

Mostly scooters there.

Note the Pepsi bottles they used.

And the one guy has a gas pump that is almost right in his store.

I never did find out how the wholesale distribution worked as I never saw any fuel delivery trucks as we know them.

 

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In 1980 I went to work in PNG, up in West New Britain province. We were out "in the bush" so fuel came in 200 litre drums. Lever pumps were used to dispense fuel. The suction hose was put in the drum and the long lever was used to pumped fuel from the drum into the glass and so on. If you get fuel in drums there is really no other way. The Cambodians above used a similar system but they appear to screw the pump into the drum.

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I have a 1909 Wayne pump that pre-dates the visible ones. It has a rack and pinion pump mechanism where you turn the handle counter clockwise till it stops and then clockwise till it stops again. This dispenses one gallon and is pretty darn accurate.

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I know back in 1972 I bought gas from a Wayne Visible at a Mom and Pop grocery store some where in the mountains near Somerset PA.

I have a 5 gallon FRY that I redid. Just need the pump base. My friend who I got it from bought it at an auction at what once was a Franklin dealer on the North side of Pittsburgh in 1955. He scrapped out anything of value (brass) including the pump base and turned it into a yard light. I redid it in Pennzoil colors since that is what he said it was at the time.

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The first gas pumps were inside of the hardware store. It had a one gallon dome which was filled then released into a can which was then powered into the automobile.  This one dates to 1905 or earlier.  The glass dome is labeled ' The Tokheim Company Cedar Rapids Iowa'  It is known, that Tokheim moved from Cedar Rapids to Fort Wayne IN.  in 1905.  Most of the gas pumps prior to 1922 were not visible.   Other gas pumps that were either in side the store or curb side are in pix3 .  One of the last non visible pumps was the rusty Gilbert & Barker  in pix4. One interesting thing about really old gas pumps is they advertised the maker of the pump not the brand of gasolene.  One of the very first, if not the first visible pumps was the  Gilbert & Barker T-67 Cities Service pump in pix1

 

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Edited by Curti
spell (see edit history)

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went through a little town in Utah  I think--------FREEMONT----- a few year ago and came across this old gas station

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mcdarrunt, my 1925 National-Simplex has the same set up. When you remove the "tins", it is a brass cylinder about 12" across by about 36" tall with a piston inside. When you crank the handle, a rack and pinion raises the piston to push the gas out the hose. The system was basically kept "charged" by the means of a foot-valve. This keeps gas between the foot-valve and the cylinder. The pump has four levers that were gallon indicators and you selected one to five gallons. By pushing the lever over, it becomes a hard stop for the rack. My pump also has what is called a Visigauge. It's a glass cylinder, piped above the pump and has a tiny brass propeller inside, As you crank the pump to start gas flow, the propeller starts to spin, showing that you were flowing gas.

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