Petrol-Heads: Glass Petrol Globes and Motoring Memorabilia
4 April 2009 – 1 November 2009
From the 1930s to the 1960s the glass petrol globe, mounted on top of a petrol pump, was a familiar sight in garages up and down the country.
Used by the petrol companies to advertise their products, the globes were made in distinctive shapes with a company name or logo printed on the outside, and looked their best when illuminated at night. As pumps were modernised, most globes were destroyed so those that survived are now eagerly sought after by collectors.
This exhibition featured eighteen petrol globes from a private collection; most represented companies that have long since vanished such as Cleveland and Dominion, but some names like Esso and BP, are still around today.
A 1961 Isetta bubble car and two petrol pumps were on display along with other motoring memorabilia on loan from Coventry Transport Museum and the Marston Heritage Trust, Black Country Living Museum. Specialist glassware for cat’s eyes, made by Plowden & Thompson, one of the country’s last remaining glass factories, and a book signed by Percy Shaw, the inventor of cat's eyes, was also on show.