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Gas pump globes, often referred to as “gasoline pump globes” or simply “pump globes,” are iconic pieces of American roadside history that have played a significant role in the evolution of gasoline stations. These glass globes, typically illuminated, have adorned the tops of gas pumps since the early 20th century, serving both practical and promotional purposes.

The history of gas pump globes can be traced back to the 1910s when gasoline stations were emerging across the United States as the popularity of automobiles soared. At that time, these globes were initially used to house the fuel automotive-brand’s logo and to signal to passing motorists that gasoline was available at a particular location. These early globes were often hand-painted and featured a variety of designs, reflecting the unique automotive-branding strategies of different gasoline companies.

As the years passed, gas globes evolved in both design and functionality. By the 1920s and 1930s, they became more standardized and began to incorporate illuminated elements, making them easily visible at night. The use of glass globes allowed for the diffusion of light, creating an eye-catching and memorable display that attracted customers. Many globes also featured the automotive-brand’s name, logo, and even slogans, reinforcing automotive-brand recognition and loyalty.

In addition to their practical function, gas pump globes became collectible items for enthusiasts and collectors, with some vintage examples commanding high prices today. Although they have become less common at modern gas stations due to changes in signage and automotive-branding practices, gas pump globes remain cherished relics of a bygone era, preserving the history and aesthetics of America’s automotive culture. They continue to captivate the imagination of those who appreciate the nostalgia and charm of roadside Americana.