#Lookback: Visible Gas Pumps

    Do you need to see your gasoline to know what you’re getting?  Today, we usually trust that what we get at the pump is the fuel quality that we’ve selected.

    However, trust in gas quality was not always the case.  At the turn of the 20th century, automobiles were spreading around the country like wildfire, and so was the demand for gasoline to fuel them.  Service or filling stations as we know them were not very established, and instead enterprising businesses would install small pumps on curbs for passing vehicles to refuel at.  These curbside pumps caused traffic jams, so, with changing laws, service or filling stations became the place for fuel as well, prominently advertising their available fuel off the side of the road.

    At the same time, automobile drivers were increasingly aware of possible pollutants in their gasoline and did not trust that the gas they were getting at a pump would be clear.

    As a result of skepticism about fuel content and the growing number of service and filling stations, the visible fuel pump was introduced around 1918.  These pumps had a large glass section at the top, filling up to ten gallons of fuel, visible to the consumer before it was pumped into their vehicle.  These pumps also had a small light on top and frequently advertised the type of fuel that they carried, just as gas stations do today.

    The Dubois Museum has two visible fuel pumps, one from Trail Lake Ranch and the other from Swan’s Service Station (pictured above).  The design of the pumps was notably Art Deco, and each pump would be painted in accordance with the brand of gas that it distributed.

    Next up for the Fremont County Museum

    August 2, 7pm at the Dubois Museum, “Music at the Museum with Packin’ the Mail 

    August 2, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Indian Dancing and Native American Culture”

    August 8, 9-3pm at the Dubois Museum, “Annual Tie Hack Trek” Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

    August 9, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Indian Dancing and Native American Culture”

    August 12, 10-12:30pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Historic Houses Trek: North 3rd Street”

    August 12, 9-2pm at the Riverton Museum, “Boysen State Park Historical Adventure Trek”

    December 2022-October 2023 at the Pioneer Museum, “Wind River Memories: Artists of the Lander Valley and Beyond” art exhibition

    Call the Dubois Museum 1-307-455-2284, the Pioneer Museum 1-307-332-3339 or the Riverton Museum 1-307-856-2665 for detail regarding their programs.

    The Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation has been created to specifically benefit The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum.  The WRCCF will help deliver the long term financial support our museums need to flourish.  In the current economic environment, the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years.  Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation at PO Box 1863 Lander, WY 82520 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.  

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