Types of Gas Pump Globes

I’ve had people contact me to discuss gas pump globes they’ve found but they’re not familiar with the terminology.

Trying to explain the differences between a one piece baked, 3 piece glass, or Gill body Texaco globe to an 85 year old widow so you can make a fair offer can be an exercise in futility.

Hopefully this tutorial will give folks the knowledge to describe what type of globe they actually have.

We’ll start with One Piece Globes.
These are exactly what the name implies…..globes that are one piece of glass.

One Piece Etched globes have rough areas that were painted. The etching can be very deep to very shallow. The etched areas will have a sand paper like texture. Often times the elements have taken their toll on the paint. That’s not a problem with etched globes as repainting these is an accepted practice in the hobby.
This “Basement” globe is an example of a “One Piece Etched” globe. This is a small globe with a 4″ flanged glass base.
one piece etched
Hopefully the close up will better show the etched areas.
one piece etched close up

One Piece Baked globes were baked after the artwork was applied.
This circa 1928 Sinclair Aircraft globe is a “One Piece Baked” globe. Note the 6″ flanged glass base.
one piece baked

One Piece Cast globes will have a logo that is molded in the glass. These globes often have baked on finish as well.
This Texaco Ethyl is a good example of a “One Piece Cast” globe with a baked on logo. This globe has a 6″ screw on metal base.
one piece cast

One piece globes were generally used in the 1910’s through around 1930. The earliest have a metal “chimney cap” on top. Sorry, I don’t have any chimney cap globes in my collection to share with you….yet.

There are also One Piece Figural globes. Standard crowns, and Shell clams being the most common. These aren’t held in the same regard by most collectors unless they’re the early raised letter crowns or Super Shell or Super Shell Ethyl clams.

Standard of Indiana used a few styles of crowns. The earliest versions had “Gasoline” cast around the lower area. From the mid 1920’s through the early 1930’s they used the familiar style crowns with raised letters around the lower areas that read “Red Crown”, “Red Crown Ethyl”, and “Solite”. These globes will have a 7″ flanged glass base. The Red Crown will have etched details that are painted red. Red Crown Ethyl will be white with red letters or red painted details with white letters. The vast majority of Solite crowns have blue painted details with white letters but we’ve seen red Solite crowns with white letters as well.
Here’s a raised letter Solite crown. You can see the etched areas since the paint has worn off.
figural crown
Note the 7″ flanged base.
figural crown flanged base
In 1932 Standard started using the non-lettered crowns. The most common are red, white, and gold. There were also blue, grey, red & white, red & gold,and green crowns.
Nearly all of these use a 7″ screw on base.
figural crown screw on base
figural crown screw on base detail
A few early non-lettered crowns used a 7″ flanged base.
There were a couple of variations just below the wide lower band. Some have arrows while others have diagonal lines.
If you have a crown that has a 6″ flanged base you have a reproduction.

The following types of globes used glass or sometimes plastic lenses fastened to a metal, glass or plastic body.

Globes are commonly referred to by the diameter of the lenses, NOT the height or diameter of the globe body.

Metal body globes were used from the 1920’s through the 1960’s, but most commonly from the 30’s and 40’s. Metal body globes use snap rings to hold the lenses in the body.
Here’s a 15″ high profile metal body.
metal hi profile
Profile picture of a high profile body.
hi profile metal
And a low profile metal body.
low profile metal
Lenses for metal bodies generally measure 15″ or 16 1/4-16 1/2″ in diameter. That’s measuring flat, not across the contour of the lens. There are other size metal body globes as well. They are quite rare.
Also, most lenses for metal bodies will have a V notch on the inside that aligns with a small bump in the body.
detail of lens for metal body

The next category is 3 piece glass globes. The majority of 3 piece glass globes use 13 1/2″ lenses on a glass body. Some companies used 12 1/2″ wide glass globes, while others used 14″.

Here’s a common glass body. Note the screw holes at 3:00 and 9:00. Brass screws with knurled nuts are used to fasten the glass advertising lenses to the body.
narrow glass
Here’s a profile image of a narrow glass body.
narrow glass profile
And a profile of a wide glass body.
wide glass profile

Sinclair and Richfield used this body. Note the stepped recess.
narrow glass stepped

The next most common type of glass body are Gill bodies. Gill bodies are hollow behind the lenses. The lenses are attached with a metal band that use a screw and special nut to tighten the band. Most Gill globes use 13 1/4″ lenses. Amoco and a few other companies used 13 1/2″ Gill globes. There were 14″ Gills as well.
A sub-category of Gill body globes are “Ripple Gill” or simply “Ripple” bodies. Ripples were available in clear, or with baked on paint on the inside of the globe body. These were available in white, yellow, red, orange, blue, green, teal, and brown. There are color variations of those colors as well. Ripples are highly sought after by collectors. They were made with 6″ flanged glass bases or 6″ screw on metal bases.
gill ripple
gill ripple detail
Gill globes use 13 1/4 or 13 1/2″ lenses that are not notched.
lens for gill

Another type of glass body was made by Hull. Hull bodies are hollow behind the lenses like a Gill, but the lenses are notched and attach with screws like a common glass globe.
Here’s a Hull body.

There’s an unusual type of glass body that uses metal bands that are attached to the body with 4 screws and nuts. These are referred to as Banded Glass bodies by those in the hobby.
banded glass
banded glass detail

There are glass bodies with three mounting holes per side. These are called Ballcrank bodies. The holes are located at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00. They used lenses with three notches at 12,4, and 8:00, or lenses with 5 notches 12,3,4,8,9:00. Lenses with 5 notches will fit on a Ballcrank or standard glass body. Skelly and Johnson were among the companies that used Ballcrank bodies. I don’t have one to take a picture of.

Glass bodies that hold 13 1/2″ lenses usually have 6″ flanged glass bases. Screw on metal bases were available as well. Some Hull bodies used a crimped on metal base. There were also 7″ flanged and 7″ metal base glass globe bodies.
The wide, narrow, stepped narrow are all being reproduced. I believe some with screw on metal bases are being repopped as well.
12 1/2″ wide glass bodies are being reproduced as well.

Next up are 2 piece plastic bodies that hold notched lenses.
The earliest plastic bodies are embossed Capcolite near the base on one side. Each half of these early “Capco” bodies are different. The early bodies were made of a very rigid plastic and often discolor badly.
old style capcolite markings
old style capcolite  female male
The early style Capco bodies date from 1932 or ’33. Nearly all are (were) white. There are colored versions as well.
The “new” style “Capcolite 216” body are very similar to the old style “Capcolite” body. The two different body halves were eliminated with the Capcolite 216 design. Each half is the same and looks like this on the top.
odd capcolite
Here’s a Capcolite 216 body that’s assembled. The 2 halves are held together with 3 screws and nuts. One on top, and one on each side at the base.
capcolite 216

Lenses for plastic bodies have shallow notches while lenses for glass bodies have deep notches.

Plastic bodies are being reproduced by two manufacturers. Some are marked Capcolite 216 while others are not marked. The way to tell a repro plastic body from an original is an original will have 2 alignment tabs in each body half, while the repros only have one.
capco detail original
capco detail repro

Next up are the ovals.
There are one piece glass ovals. These are quite rare.
There are glass oval bodies that hold lenses with brass screws much like a common round glass globe.
The most common ovals are Capcolite 218 plastic bodies that hold unnotched lenses.
capcolite 218

That covers the majority of globe body types. There are others like clover shaped glass bodies that hold clover shaped lenses, clover shaped bodies that hold round lenses, molded plastic figural globes, 15″ glass globes with metal bands, and the list goes on.

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