In 1908, when Henry Ford began selling his Model T, the first car that the middle class could afford, it resulted in an increased demand for filling stations. At first the term “filling station” referred to the gas pump itself and could be found in front of various businesses such as general stores, mom & pop groceries, and hardware stores.
From the 1920’s through the 1960’s, these evolved into stations which offered not only to pump the gas, but also to wash the windshields and check the oil and water, all as a part of their service. They also had restrooms and facilities for car maintenance and repair and thus the term “service station” came into being. Delphos had 13 service stations listed in the 1941 city directory and 10 in 1969. Most of the gasoline companies including Marathon, Sohio, and Shell tried to win customer loyalty with nicely designed prototype buildings, free road maps and various give-aways such as toys or drinking glasses.
In the 1970’s, gas shortages forced many independents out of business and there was a rise in self-service stations. If you drive around Delphos today, you can still see a few of the old stations that have taken on a new life; but they are no longer pumping gas.
The trustees are busy revamping all the displays located in the basement including the automotive display where new pictures and items have been added. Check them out!
Reprinted from the Delphos Herald, May 9, 2015