2015-06-26 10:43:58

Items of petroliana are objects relating to collectibles from the automobile petroleum industry. It forms a part of the wider automobilia.

Petroliana is often associated with the concept of the golden age of motoring in the 1950s but can in fact relate to any period of time. Many items from the early 20th century are highly collectible due to their rarity.

Forms of petroliana

The main types are petroliana collectibles are:

Petrol pumps

See main article: Antique Gas Pumps

Pumps built between 1910 and 1930 were hand operated and many included glass fronts showing the mechanical workings. Electric pumps began to be introduced in the 1930s.

Pump globes

Brightly lit pump globes sat atop early petrol pumps, advertising that particular company’s petrol. Many replicas exist. Originals can change hands for considerable sums.

Oil bottles

Prior to the introduction of tin oil cans, for a short period of time motor oil came in highly breakable glass bottles. Due to their fragile nature and limited production these bottle are rare and highly collectible.

Oil cans

Oil cans, many complete with colourful décor, are extremely popular with collectors today.

See main article: Antique Oil Cans

Road maps

Many leading oil and petrol companies produced and continue to produce their own road maps.


Enamel signs advertising oil and petrol were commonplace in the early 20th century. They were replaced by neon and plastic signs. Neon signs and their larger cousins, lightboxes, which were introduced in the 1920s and 1930s, are extremely collectible.


Collectors looking to buy petroliana can attend specially organised swap meets or auctions and can become members of organisations promoting the hobby.

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