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The Service Station Experience

If you think a service station is where you pump gas and get a soda as big as your head, you likely never had a true service station experience. From the time of the Model T through much of the 1970s, service stations peppered just about every major street corner. There were several pumps for dispensing gasoline, and depending on the service station, one to four stalls for car repairs and even for tires. Many service stations even had their own tow trucks or at least a relationship with a towing company.

Here’s what you could expect from a service station visit in “the day”.

Pulling Up

Your arrival to get gas at a service station would be announced when you drove over well-placed rubber hoses that activated a loud bell to the attendant inside. Shortly, a gas station attendant would be jogging out to your driver’s side-car window, often greeting you with the question “Filler up?”

The Attendant

Often the attendant would be wearing a uniform shirt of the oil company he worked for, with a named engraved above the left pocket. For some reason, it seemed like it was always a three-letter name like Bob, Gus or Ray. Early attendants in the industry would often sport a bow tie. The attendant would then proceed to fill up your tank or dispense the dollar or two worth of fuel you ordered.

The Service in Service Station

The attendant was also responsible for cleaning your windshield and “checking under the hood.” If you needed a quart of oil, he would provide it and add it to your bill, using a unique can opener/spout pourer device that made adding oil from quart cans easy. If you asked, they would check your tire pressure and add “free” air when needed.


Service stations were known for their promotions. “Fill ups” would often be accompanied by a free piece of glassware, collectable coin or trading stamps that could be saved in paper books and later redeemed for prizes.

Car Repair

At the time, next to your car dealer, your service station was likely your go-to location for car repairs and tires. Your corner service station mechanic could change oil, replace shocks and brakes, replace brakes and even repair exhaust systems. Walls were stacked with tires for sale and getting a new car battery was a breeze.

Cars today are safer, more technologically advanced, and get far better gas mileage then back then, but there is something to be missed about the corner service station.

You can still get one-on-one service when it comes to your auto insurance. Our independent agents will not only help make sure you get every discount available to you, but will shop for the best price from an array of available companies. Contact us today!

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