The Art of the Gas Pump

I don't know what it is about old gas pumps, but I have always been drawn to these unique bits of both industrial and advertising history. While most are lost to time, or sit in private collections, in the late 70s and 80s, many abandoned gas stations still had their petroliana intact. Thankfully photographer John Margolies, who is most known for his work documenting America's mimetic architecture, also loved to take pictures of old gas pumps. From 1977-1982 he crisscrossed the country on long road trips taking with him his 35mm camera. His work documenting roadside attractions is credited with recognizing buildings that would be added to the National Register of Historic Places through his documentary work.

Gas pump, Ridge Manor, Florida 

Esso pump, Danville, Arkansas

Amoco pump (hollow wreck 1), Hardy, Arkansas

Amoco gas pump (wreck two), Rt. 62, Hardy, Arkansas 

Two Texaco pumps, Red Star Filling Station, Marietta, Ohio

Old gas pump, Rt 40, Victoria, Kansas

Silver gas pump, Dunkirk, Montana

Conoco gas pump, Rt 34, Utica, Nebraska

Old clockface gas pump, Wauneta, Nebraska

Gas pump, Rt.441, Seymour, Tennessee

Malco gas pump, Rt. 285, Carlsbad, New Mexico

Sinclair gas pump, Main St., Pocatello, Idaho

Two red gas pumps, Rt. 89, Wilhoit, Arizona

Gas pump mailbox, Tiny's Garage, Rt. 809, Demopolis, Alabama

Coastal gas pump (Dino), Rt. 80, Selma, Alabama

Coastal gas pump (100 Octane), Rt. 80, Selma, Alabama

Amoco gas pumps, Rt. 59, Seneca, South Carolina

Sinclair gas pump, Rt. 49, Haw River, North Carolina 

Golden Eagle gas pump (#2), San Diego, California

 Three Texaco gas pumps, Altadena, California

Chevron gas pump, Jim Ruth Chevrolet, Home Gardens, California

Five Golden Eagle gas pumps (#2), San Diego, California

Standard gas pumps, Rt. 12, Watauga, South Dakota

Visible gas pump, Birch Tree, Missouri

Visible gas pump, Syracuse, Missouri

Gas pump, Mount Vernon, Missouri

Sunoco gas pump, Mount Carmel, Indiana

Gas pumps, Indianapolis, Indiana

Two Texaco pumps, Rt. 1, Dumfries, Virginia

Amoco gas pumps, Lexington, Virginia

Fina gas pump, Kingsland, Georgia

Amoco gas pump, Thomasville, Georgia

Gas pump, Harbor Beach, Michigan 

Gulf gas pump, South Newberry, New Hampshire

Photos by John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive (1972-2008), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.