Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
Every day, we use cars to get to all the places that we need to go. Be it work, the store, home, or somewhere else, we all generally rely on cars to get us from point A to point B. With these vehicles comes the need to have somewhere to refuel them: gas stations! Nowadays, gas stations are everywhere, and most towns generally have more than one (unless you are Bouton, then you don’t even have one at all). This does raise a question, however. What were gas stations like when they were first appearing around the country?
One of the earliest pictures of a gas station that I can find in our collection is on a postcard that dates back to about 1915. It shows the Rude Auto Station in Perry, with the old Fire Hall in the background. Although you cannot see any gas pumps in this picture, the description does talk about them. Rude Auto featured a new style of pump: the measuring machine and hose style. According to our system, this style replaced the old bucket and funnel style which I can only imagine worked in a similar way to how we fill up lawn mowers and other small machines today. Imagine how long it would take to fill a whole car tank (of today’s size) with that system! That’s probably why gas stations of the early 1900s had attendants who did that for you.
Speaking of attendants, we have another photo in our collection that shows on such person! Dated to 1918, it is a picture of a man standing next to a pump at the Manhattan Oil Co. (at least, I think he is an attendant). Of course, his job here would be to fill up your car with gas from what I believe is an example of the measuring machine and hose style pump mentioned earlier in addition to possibly washing your windscreen and other minor things. Considering how inexpensive gasoline used to be (at least compared to today), I can’t imagine that he was paid very well for all the work he did!
It makes me wonder when attendants stop being employed at gas stations and why the switch to self-serving was made. Perhaps it was due to gas stations wanting to earn more, or perhaps, newer pump systems were easier to use? Readers, do any of you know? Let us know in the comments, and join us next week for another Hometown Heritage Blog!
Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage blog!
This morning I was watching the television while eating my breakfast, as I always do, and a segment came on about a new prototype car that was recently finished. This car, called the Hum-X for those interested, was special in that it could employ hydraulics to raise itself into the air and pass over other cars in traffic. This got me thinking about that today cars are everywhere and, aside from new ones like this, are no longer that amazing to us. However, this was not always the case.
Look at the slide show below. As you can see, they are all pictures of people standing next to various cars. “What is so special about that” you might ask. That, my dear readers, is exactly my point. Today, we all take cars for granted and understand (generally) how they work. However, imagine just for a moment that you were living back in the late 1800s and early 1900s with these people. You are used to getting around via horseback or walking, and suddenly this metal mechanical marvel (or devil, depending on whom you ask) appears. It goes just as fast as any horse you have ever known and it never gets tired! Also buying one costs probably the same amount as a small house, yet somehow your father managed to bring one home. What else would you do but take a picture to mark this momentous occasion! Everyone will want to be able to remember the day your family first got its very own Model T. Yet, compared to today, no one seems to be as excited about his or her first car. Sure, teenagers get excited when their parents present them with the keys, but it is not the same kind of excitement as it was in the 1900s. Back then, it was something to parade about the whole town, showing all your friends and neighbors how lucky and wealthy your family is. Today it is something everyone simply expects to happen. Who knows, maybe in the future we will react to new invention as people in the 1900s did (fingers crossed for flying cars!).
Do you remember your first car? Did you and your family all take pictures around it to mark the occasion? Let us know in the comments, and come back next week for another Hometown Heritage blog!