Little did I know when I moved to Calgary a few years ago that this city has one of the finest car museums in North America. Situated in a 75,000 sq ft building known as "Gasoline Alley", within Heritage Park, is a collection donated by local oil and gas businessman, Ron Carey. Mr. Carey collected and restored the 67 vehicles he gave to the city, many of which are trucks. But perhaps the real highlight of his gift is what’s said to be the largest collection of petroliana in the world -- restored pumps and automotive-related signage.
This is the first post in a short series sharing some of the automotive treasures of Gasoline Alley and focuses on the beautiful polished gasoline pumps in the collection.
Most of these pumps predate me, but they're as beautiful as the driving machines that surround them. The polished metal and glass and glowing signs are from a nostalgic simpler time. Many Americans might not recognize some of these companies from Canada's western history, but there are certainly examples of pumps from large international companies. The pumps span a century of gasoline dispensing in Canada dating to the early 20th century. The collection includes:
- the earliest models (previsible pumps), where fuel is dispensed from an opaque container)
- visible pumps (glass cylinders wherein you could see what your were buying)
- clockface pumps (displaying volume of gas dispensed)
- computer pumps (the latter showing both dollar cost and volume dispensed)
I found it quite fascinating and hope you enjoy this amazing collection of gas pumps from Gasoline Alley. I'm grateful to Mr. Carey for making these items available to the public, but found out an interesting tidbit while researching this post. He continues collecting and in his personal storage facility has some 150 private gas pumps that he likely will donate someday -- won't that be something!!