In 1885 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, kerosene pump inventor, S.F. Bowser sold his first newly invented kerosene pump to the owner of a grocery shop. This solved the problem and mess of a storekeeper ladling flammable liquid into whatever random container the customer brought in. Kerosene was used at the time to fuel stoves and lamps and gasoline was just a volatile byproduct of refining kerosene, plus the gasoline-powered automobile wasn’t commercially available until around 1910. In 1918, the first visible pump was introduced. The customer was able to see how much fuel was being purchased as an attendant hand-cranked gas into a large, glass cylinder that was hooked up to the pump. In 1923, companies started to develop new pumps with the cylinders attached directly to them.



  • Manufactured by: Guarantee Liquid Measure Company, Rochester, PA
  • Customer: Shell
  • Replaced: Around 1925, the visible cylinder was replaced by the clock-style meter, which was a dominant feature of early 1930’s gas pumps