The Car Coach: History of the gas pump
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In 1900 there were 20 million horses and only 4,000 cars in the United States. Stables and blacksmith shops stood where we have gas stations today.
Before the automobile, gasoline was sold in hardware stores, often out of a barrel. The way that gasoline was sold changed to accommodate the growing number of car owners. The new market for gas and consumer desire to buy gas more easily soon led to a landscape dotted with gas stations-more than 200,000 by 1935.
On September 5, 1885, the first gasoline pump was manufactured by Sylvanus Bowser of Fort Wayne, Indiana and delivered to Jake Gumper, also of Fort Wayne. The gasoline pump tank had marble valves and wooden plungers and had a capacity of one barrel of gasoline.
These filling stations allowed consumers to pull off of the street and out of traffic in order to refuel their automobiles. This new architectural form - with the buildings away from the street - became standard for gas stations. This model was later adopted by other businesses that catered to car-driving consumers by advertising plentiful parking spaces.